Construction Journal Entry Week of 4/10/11

4/10/11 (Sunday) Ellen, Bill, and I spent the afternoon in a Home Depot showroom looking at doors, molding, and flooring. Bill was extremely helpful in advising us on how to proceed choosing species, styles, finishes, and products not only for the doors he would be supplying us, but also for cabinets, knobs and pulls, flooring, light fixtures, molding, and plumbing fixtures with an eye to coordinating them and making for a pleasing cabin interior. He also gave us helpful advice on the construction of door casings and baseboards as well as on various staircase and handrail questions and options. He will get us prices for various doors and he will locate flat stock sources for our casing and baseboard needs. It's great having such expert advice available within the family.

4/12-14/11 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way, I stopped at the Canyon Creek Cabinet Company's showroom in Monroe. I asked for Paul, on the advice of Terry Hagen, but he was out. Instead I talked with Nancy and asked her some detailed questions about how to build a soffit and hang cabinets from it. She was in the process of explaining it to me when another employee walked over and got in on the conversation. This guy obviously knew his stuff so I proceeded to pump him for all sorts of information about cabinet, soffit, and drywall installation. He was extremely helpful and talked with me for about an hour and a half. It was fairly late in the conversation when I learned that he was Bill Weaver, the President and CEO of the company. I feel very fortunate that he took the time out of his schedule to help me like he did. I learned that he and Terry go way back and have known each other for a long time. He also knew of Bill's door company, Pacific Coast Doors, but he didn't know Bill personally. We talked about the difficulty the building slowdown was causing for companies like Bill's and his. He told me that he expected that the slowdown wouldn't turn around for another 2 or 3 years. Not a happy prospect.

We talked about flooring and the trade-offs of installing flooring before cabinets or vice versa. He recommended installing the flooring first and he recommended that I visit Haight Carpet in Monroe who sell the type of vinyl flooring that Ellen and I had in mind. He also recommended Priceless Granite for counter tops and he gave me a card for one of their representatives. I feel extremely fortunate for having had the opportunity to talk with him for so long.

When I left Monroe on my way to Camp Serendipity, I got to thinking that I could use some help moving the 2500 board feet of 1x8 pine paneling boards that were due to be delivered the next day. They would have to be unloaded on the lower roadway and then carried up to the front porch where I would store them prior to installation in the ceilings. I decided to stop in at Mike Dickinson's on the way and see if one or more of his kids wanted to help me.

I stopped at Mike's and asked for help. His son Josh and one of his men, Brandon Burgess agreed to help me and they said they would be available at 1:00 the next day. That was a stroke of good luck.

I arrived at Camp Serendipity at about 2:00. The driveway was muddy enough that I needed to use 4wd to get parked. Bert and Ernie showed up right away for their usual hugs and biscuits.

I built a fire in the wood stove to warm the place up, and had lunch. Then I went down to the crawl space and removed all the Styrofoam blocks from the vent openings. I don't think there is any more risk of freezing down there this season.

Next I called Terry Hagen to tell him about my visit with Bill Weaver and to discuss some details concerning our cabinet project. Then I went out and shoveled a wide path through the snow bank on the upper roadway to make it possible to carry the boards up to the porch. The snow was from 10 to 12 inches deep and very hard packed. I wore myself out digging through it but I got it done.

Before I quit for the day, I walked through the woods to check on the sequoias. I found that Dan was partially exposed, but the snow had crushed the chicken wire down and the poor tree was smashed flat against the ground. I straightened the chicken wire and the tree and it looks like it will be okay. Most of the other trees were still buried in about 3 feet of snow, but some of them were exposed. I dug Bill out and was delighted that it had made it through the winter. It still looks as scrawny as it did last fall, but at least it is alive. Andrew also looked pretty scraggly but at least it was alive. I'll fertilize all of them as soon as the snow has melted away.

I proceeded on to the spring box and I cleaned the debris away from around it.

On Wednesday morning the weather was dry but overcast. It looked like it could rain at any time. After breakfast, to fill the time until the lumber truck arrived, I bent five inches of the end of a piece of #3 rebar at a 45 degree angle. I was going to do an experiment with a remnant of a log slab to see whether my idea of using rebar bent like that would work to anchor the rebar for use as a baluster in the loft staircase. I had just started drilling a hole in the slab remnant when the Marson and Marson truck arrived.

I went down and greeted the driver and we discussed how he would unload the lumber. He said that if I would shovel a little snow away from a snow bank up by the trailer he could dump it fairly close to the hairpin turn. I got a shovel out of the truck and proceeded to shovel snow. I attacked it a little too aggressively, however, and felt a twinge in my back when I tried to lift a too-heavy block of ice while leaning too far over. From that point on, I couldn't straighten up and I had to walk pretty slowly to keep the pain at a reasonable level.

I immediately thought of a remark made by Ross Williams in a recent email. After learning of my plans to take delivery of the boards, he wrote, " back is sore just thinking about it." Well, now my back was sore before I even got started.

Just as the truck was backing up to get ready to unload, Josh and Brandon showed up. They couldn't stay long, but they came over to tell me they would be delayed a little because they had another job to do first. But they stuck around during the dumping of the lumber and helped place stickers and to get the lumber dumped.

After the lumber was on the ground, the driver and I went up to the cabin so he could have a look at the project. It turned out that we were almost the exact same age. He is just a few weeks older than I am. He grew up in Kansas and we had had some similar experiences scooping grain when we were growing up. He had retired from teaching for 30 years and was now delivering lumber. I delivered lumber when I was in High School and was now retired after 30 years at IBM.

After the truck left, I began carrying boards up the hill. I could handle two of the 16 footers by carrying them like I would carry a bucket of water. And as long as I walked slowly, the back pain was tolerable. I took two aspirin before I started, thinking that might help. I couldn't carry the boards on my shoulder like I normally would, but at least I could get a start on moving the boards.

Since the weather looked threatening, I covered the lumber with a tarp just in case it started to rain. After carrying six boards up in three trips, and getting the boards stacked on the porch, I went in and had my lunch. After lunch, I carried more boards up until the help arrived at 2:45. I probably had a quarter, or maybe a little less, of the boards moved by that time.

Once Josh and Brandon got started, I stayed up on the porch stacking boards while they carried them up the hill. I got some pictures of them in action. And I took a picture of the final stack of boards up on the porch deck. We were done by 3:45. I was really grateful for the help.

Bert and Ernie showed up toward the end of the work, and we took a short break to give them a few hugs and biscuits. My back actually felt a little better as the afternoon wore on.

When the work was done, I invited Josh and Brandon in to see the cabin, to have a drink of water, and to have a look at the bronze Mt. Rainier model. They also helped me cover the stack of lumber with the white coverings that the lumber yard had supplied. Ross had advised me to protect the boards from sunlight, so I plan to keep them covered until they are stained or varnished.

On Thursday morning, it was snowing pretty heavily when I woke up, but it stopped after about an hour and none of it stuck on the ground. Spring has really arrived.

My back didn't bother me much during the night, and in spite of being pretty stiff and sore, my back didn't hurt much in the morning. I don't think I did any very serious damage.

After breakfast, I got two ceiling light fixtures out of the crawl space and brought them upstairs. These had been given to us by Vladimir and I wanted to set them up and photograph them so that Ellen and I could decide whether and where to use them. I assembled each one, hung each in turn from the loft staircase, and photographed them from various angles. Then I packed them back in their boxes and stored them back down in the crawl space.

After that, I did some measurements and made some preliminary drawings for the construction of the soffit, which is item #43 on my list. The advice I had gotten from Bill Weaver helped a great deal in figuring out how to build it.

I left for home at 12:30 feeling very good about getting that lumber securely stored and for learning what I had from Bill Weaver. A short ways down the road, a coyote ran across the road in front of me. I always enjoy seeing the wildlife up there.

On my way back through Monroe, I stopped at Haight Carpets and talked with Judy Haight, the store manager, about flooring. She gave me some good information about Konecto, which I relayed to Ellen when I got home.

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