Construction Journal Entry Week of 11/6/11

11/8-10/11 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I arrived at 2:00 and was promptly met by Bert and Ernie. I gave them a few hugs and then we went up to the cabin where they not only got biscuits, but I also gave them each a tray of left-over gravy. They were happy dogs.

When I moved my gear in, I saw that the mousetrap under the stove had gone off and was upside down. There was no sign of a mouse body but there were bloodstains on the hearth and on the mousetrap itself. I couldn't remember whether or not those stains were there before so it is possible that the trap went off by itself. At least I could hope so. The trap in the loft and the one in the crawlspace were still set and evidently untouched. I decided not to spend any time looking for mouse holes unless I see some more evidence.

There was good rodent news, however. Out on the front porch I didn't see a single pack rat turd. None on the workbench, none on the bench, and none on the deck. It looks like the two electronic rodent repellers had done their jobs and kept the little rascals away.

I built a fire in the wood stove and had my lunch. Then I re-installed the bathroom light fixtures and also the covers on the outlets, switches, the fan, and the washer hookup in the utility room. Then I re-installed the electrical covers and the smoke detector in the bedroom. That was about all I got done for the day.

On Wednesday I spent the entire day unpacking and inventorying the cabinets. I called Terry on a couple occasions when I was puzzled. One was when I discovered that the corner cabinet on the floor was four inches shorter in both directions than I thought it should be. Terry reminded me that this was deliberate so that the unit would fit through doorways and for some other reason I can't remember. He had told me about that before but I had forgotten.

I staged all of the kitchen cabinets in the bedroom to get them out of the way and also so that I could inventory them and see if they looked right. I took a couple pictures of them. I put the bathroom units in the bathroom both to get them out of the way but also to use them temporarily sitting where they will eventually go.

When I set those units in place I saw immediately that I hadn't done a good job of design. I hadn't made a drawing of the bathroom or thought it through well enough. I had simply made some measurements and relayed them to Terry over the phone. What I missed was that the drawer on the left hand cabinet would run into the heater and the heater would also interfere with the door swing of the door below. The only way it would work would be to set the cabinet over to the right 8 inches or so. But that would make the sink out of line with the plumbing, the mirror and the lights. I remember talking about this with Terry and he thought the problem could be solved by installing the P-trap out of line. But the real problem was the mirror which, being installed between two studs with wiring attached, would be very difficult to move.

I called Terry and discussed the problem. I decided to order a new narrower unit to replace the left hand one and to find some other use for the bigger unit, maybe in the loft. Terry was good enough to give me the new cabinet at his cost. He will call me later with a price. He also said he would email me his latest drawing showing the bathroom cabinets and the utility room cabinets. I hadn't seen those yet.

The plan for the utility room called for a 36-inch wide and an 18-inch wide cabinet mounted side by side on the Grid A wall. That would use up the entire space between the door and the Grid 1 wall. I decided that instead of that, I would rather mount the big one centered on that wall, and the smaller one on the opposite wall above the washer and dryer.

Since the utility room cabinets don't depend on anything else, I decided to begin my installation with them. I started flattening the logs on the Grid A wall so as to make a flat surface for mounting the cabinet. I used a hand saw to make vertical kerfs and then a chisel and a couple different hammers as well as a block plane to remove the wood in between the kerfs. I got two logs pretty much done before the end of the day. I took a picture of my progress.

The temperature was 30 degrees outside most of the day so I built a couple fires in the wood stove during the day.

When Ellen called in the evening, she wasn't thrilled that we would have to eat the cost of that extra cabinet in the bathroom, but she agreed that in the big scheme of things, this was a fairly minor problem.

On Thursday morning, it was 26 degrees outside. I built a fire in the stove and then did my exercises and had breakfast. Afterward, I decided to mount the utility room cabinet a little lower than I had planned before, so I needed to chisel a flat spot on one more log. I was just about finished cutting the kerf for this cut when I decided to make a video of the process. I don't have many videos of working on logs, so I wanted to take this opportunity. I guess I'll have a lot more opportunities when I build the front porch stoop and when I finish installing log treads on the outside staircases, but I made the video anyway.

At some point during the morning, I found the paper I had searched in vain for on 11/2/11. It had the specs for the locations of the mounting screws for the bedroom heater. I measured and discovered that I had mounted the heater about 3 inches too far to the right. It will be better where it belongs so one of these days I will have to move it. The paper was cleverly hidden in my file of active projects.

I was relieved that there had been no further mouse evidence for the past two days. We'll see what next week brings.

Just as I had locked up and was getting in the truck to go home, Bert and Ernie showed up. We went back up to the cabin and I got them their biscuits. I got on the road at about 1:30.

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