Bad Juju

I know it’s 7 years bad luck when you break a mirror, but what’s the penalty for breaking a window?  Dammit.

So!  Change in plans.  After the shock and horror wore off (could have been minutes, could have been hours ~ time stopped. JK)  I went in search of the new-fangled plastic, double-paned windows I’d purchased for the original TH.  Confronted with using either huge 3′ by 5′ suckers or more reasonable but smaller than I’d wanted windows, I went with a 31″ by 21″.  Now, here’s the thing:  I’d already cut the rough opening in the wall and flashed it, not to mention having to redo the framing.  Nooooo…..

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Rough Opening ready for the large wood window. Yes, that’s copper sheeting.  I was going to put that on all the window openings for a bit of style 🙂

Patching went ok, but now the back of the building doesn’t look nearly as good.  The patch is really obvious right now, and I don’t know if all the caulking and painting necessary will change that.  Plus, water entry is now more of a risk.  Such a bummer!  At least restructuring the framing went quickly.

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Restructured and patched Rough Opening w/o the copper sheeting, as it won’t show in this type of window install.

The upside of this huge change in plans?  Installation was a breeze, and I immediately had an opening window complete with screen.  That was cool. 🙂

Then the snowball effect kicked in.

As I stood there looking out my new window (yay) I contemplated the other two windows that were going in next to it.  No way.  Two old-fashioned (but cool) wood windows inches from a modern plastic window?  Nope.  I looked at the stack of double-paned choices and compared them to the framing already in place.  Nope again.  I just didn’t want to do it.  The single, smaller window surprised me with the amount of light it let in, so right there I decided one was enough.  This decision opened up changing the interior layout I’d planned on, so I spent the night obsessively redrawing plans.  Because of course.  And that wasn’t all, as now that I wasn’t using wood windows in the rear, I got really hesitant to use them in the front…and after checking to make sure double-paned plastic framed windows can safely be installed at an angle I’m going to do that.  So much less light, so much reduction in views.  A hell of a lot easier installation, so little risk of more breakage.

So a lot of changes, a bit of heartbreak, and much work later, here’s what things look like now:

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Framed, flashed and installed.

Before I go, here’s the latest pictures of Leo hanging out in the new place:

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Leo barely fits through the door opening, but likes to look out.

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Leo on the ladder outside. Doesn’t he know not to stand on the top???

 

I’m still working hard on the walls, and painting.  Stay tuned!

I’m Doing Stuff. Really.

Professional painters of the world, I salute you.  Painting for hours at a time is meditative and relaxing, but your shoulders hate you for days.
I’ve decided to hold off showing the inside progress until after most of the basic interior is finished being painted.  I don’t feel the need to show half-painted boards.  I will post an entry showing the progression, just not individual stages.
Since I’m starting to see an end to this house-building thing (although does an owner-built home ever REALLY get finished?), I’ve decided to list a few of the necessary items I need to purchase.  Most other things I will either build or purchase second-hand at a ReStore.
Thetford SmartTote Portable Waste Holding Tank – 12 Gallon, 2-Wheel.  Some BLM campsites require a 10-gallon minimum septic tank to stay, and this meets that requirement, as well as fitting into my planned bathroom area.  At around $75, it’s also affordable.  It’s not the only brand out there, but it has good reviews and Thetford is a well-known brand.  This tank has a handle and wheels for portability, but the rear fuel port is right next to where it will go, so I’ll be able to run the hose through it’s door to allow easy dumping at stations.  If necessary though, I’ll have the option to remove it and dump it into a toilet, such as at places with no dumping station but with a vault toilet.
Thetford 31651 Aqua-Magic V Toilet, Low / Pedal Flush / Parchment.  At $135, it’s not the cheapest option, but it’s not too expensive, and meets requirements.  There is a tall version too.  I’m going with the low style as the toilet will be placed on a stand that goes over the septic tank.
16 Gallon RV Water Tank.  A good size to fit under my kitchen counter, and a good price at $40.  If this size doesn’t end up fitting, there are several alternatives that will.  I’ve decided at this point to use my current water tank for gray water, and it has it’s own designated spot planned out.  In theory, I can run the inlet/outlet hoses through the same hole in the wall as the septic tank hose.
I want a complete solar setup eventually, but for now will have to do without due to financial constraints.  Instead, I’ll use battery-operated puck lights under the cabinet in the kitchen, closets and bed area, candles, and natural light.  I’ll have to recharge my Kindle and phone at places like coffee shops and libraries, and will only be able to use my very energy-hogging gaming laptop there as well.  That’s going to hurt!  There is also the possible option for running power from one of my truck’s batteries, but I don’t know what all that involves, or how to keep the RV battery I already have from overcharging.  More investigation is needed there.  If it’s doable, it’s a great solution for my computer gaming addiction.  An example of a solar kit that would work is:  Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit for about $200.  This particular kit doesn’t include an inverter, so that would need to be purchased separately.

Since my hurt shoulder is hitting back from the painting, I’m taking a couple days off from doing anything that exacerbates the injury.  May your own days be free from pain. 🙂

Wall Experiment

I mentioned the other day ripping plywood into boards for the walls, and I thought I’d show some examples of what other people have accomplished using this idea.  The links will take you to their actual website to give proper credit.  Check em out, as there are some great-looking floors!

At Centsational Girl

A darker version at AllQuietOntheMidwesternFront

From DataCouch

And TruthsofaBlessedLife

Finally, DIYDork with a complete how-to

I’m once again using the cheapest plywood I can find.  The shop calls it “Utility” grade and it has a lot of flaws, which I think adds to the visual interest and a rustic feeling which echoes the exterior. The cost is less than $13 a sheet.  I’m starting with the kitchen wall section in order to hang the upper cabinet there right away. I’ll need to paint it before hanging the cabinet, but even with unfinished roughness going on, I like how it’s progressing.  Here’s what’s up so far:

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Slits in the insulation netting let me push the sagging wool up while attaching the planks.

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This section on the left is from old plywood I’ve had laying around all winter, which resulted in a darker color. Too dark for my taste, so it’ll get a pickled treatment or a full-on paint job. You can also see the scratch coat of white paint on the ceiling.

Even though the skylight window is really dirty and still needs the sealant trimmed back, I thought I’d post a couple pictures of how it’s ending up.  Here goes:

 

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The skylight well is looking much more finished, and seems to be waterproof. I admit to holding my breath and wanting to knock on wood while typing this

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Looking closely you can see the dripping nature of using EPDM on a vertical surface (not recommended by manufacturer)

The weather stripping applied to the skylight base and the door itself do seem to be keeping the weather out as it should, especially with the addition of the hasps when pulled tight and locked down.  There still hasn’t been a true rainstorm yet to test it, but it will come.  Hold good thoughts for me, ok folks?

Due to an unexpected and much-appreciated donation from a follower here, I was able to go out yesterday and buy close to enough plywood to finish the interior.  I’m about to go out and tackle that project today.

This house is taking shape.  The boost to my morale and feelings of preparedness is amazing!  The fear of being kicked out of my “safe place” is waning the more that gets done.  Leo is continuing to keep me company while I work, even through noisy sawing, drilling, and the occasional curse.  His latest hangout is on the bags of wool.  You can’t tell from the picture, but he starting purring when he noticed me snapping pics. 🙂

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Soft wool bed is the coziest place for a snooze.

One more thing.  Knowing that people are cheering me on from all over the world is an amazing thing.  It’s uplifting.  I appreciate you all, and encourage you to also tackle something new and intimidating.  It’s super empowering.

Be well o/

 

A Door Makes It A House

First of all, I want to make it clear that my door isn’t the best.  It’s a bit wonky, and I have to tug on it to close it.  There are some gaps that I’d prefer not be there.  It’s kinda beat up and scarred.  But, it’s on, it closes and locks, and it’s mine.  I made it happen.  In a year full of not-great things, this is something good.

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Applying weatherstripping to the door

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Exterior door trim

With some helpful ideas from a friend, I hid the siding mistakes today.  I had just enough cedar trim left to do it so I guess it was meant to be.  My friend suggested it be painted, but I don’t want to take the time right now.  Hey, it’s cedar, so it can wait, right?  So now the only thing left on the exterior that really needs to be addressed is the portion under the door.  I’m letting ideas marinate and will finish that part when a good idea shows up.  For now, it looks funky but eh, ok.

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Using cut-down cedar trim to hide siding mistakes

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Closeup of unpainted cedar trim

The skylight is nearly complete enough for now, as well.  I went with white EPDM sealant for the corners and edges instead of trim, and I think that was the right choice.  That stuff is MESSY!  By far the goopiest, stickiest, glueiest glop I’ve used yet….and my hands were (and still are) covered by the time I was finished.  I really hope I can sand it smooth/er as I wasn’t able to make a nice bead with it.  It blends so well with the white paint that it isn’t too obvious, so I’m not letting that bother me.  One clasp is on, and I’m going to get another for the other end to ensure a tight seal against wind and rain.  No pictures because the window panes are still filthy.  So much light comes in from just that window!  I love it.

Tomorrow I’m going to start working on the interior again, starting with the ceiling.  The seams in the plywood should be easy to fill with putty, and then it’s getting a white paint job for now.  I definitely think a super-glossy color is in it’s future.  Once the ceiling has a decent paint job, the upper kitchen cabinet is going up.  I’m not sure what will come after that ~ perhaps the walls.  Sitting there looking at them this evening, I decided to fake-plank the walls with painted plywood strips.  I’ve seen that done on floors to a really attractive effect, and I see no reason why it won’t look just as interesting on walls.  It’s a quick and cheap solution, and I already have spare plywood I can use.  The wool is finally settling so I can’t let it stay up with just netting to hold it in place, dang it.

Leo is again in the habit of coming in and hanging out with me while I work.  I love that he is so comfortable in the space, and that he climbs the ladder to come inside.  It’s very cute and gives me another reason to smile. 🙂

It Feels Like Forever

Since I last posted.  But, well, the Beast has been in the shop all this time, so except for a little painting on the windows and door trim, I haven’t been able to do anything.  It was frustrating!  But I got it back a couple days ago with a clean bill of health and at the low low cost of $88.  The shop didn’t charge me any labor!  They checked out the whole truck, and said it was in amazingly great shape. 🙂  The fuel tank got emptied and a pump related to it was replaced, they replaced the broken hood hinge, made the “check engine temp” light go off, replaced the vacuum belt that makes the brakes work properly, and looked at EVERYTHING.  I’m so happy!  I’m so relieved!

The first thing I did (besides go do some much-needed grocery shopping) was to give the door a few more coats of paint.  I want to completely finish that before putting on the doorknob.  As I know now the door is working properly even after several weather changes, I felt confident enough to seal it with Reflectix tape before stuffing the gaps with more wool, in preparation for putting up the exterior door trim.  By the end of day tomorrow, hopefully the door will be completely finished.  It feels like a huge step forward.  I sat in the doorway this evening, looking up at the old, beat-up but freshly painted door and frame and just…felt good about things.

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Taping the gap with Reflectix tape.

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Leo came in and hung out with me today. 🙂

Short and Sweet

The brakes on the Beast are fine!  No costly repair!  Merely the belt for the vacuum thingie (it’s a diesel and they have interesting bits) needed replacement.  So relieved!  The mechanic did ask how I managed to stop it…made me laugh.  A one-ton with a heavy load like the build definitely has momentum.  I have enough saved up to pay to have the problem fuel pumped out of the rear tank (water in the diesel turned out to be the cause of the horrible running and stalling) which covers all the mechanical problems.  Thinking I should be knocking on wood or something for saying that.  I celebrated by bleaching my hair again, in preparation for going lavender.

He also asked if I am building a camper or Tiny House.  The other workers wanted to know.   I also had a girl I’d met previously follow me the other day to chat about something ~ I cannot be invisible in this rig!

The picture here is the Original Oliver.  He’s gone now but will never be forgotten.  Best damn cat I’ve ever known.

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My best buddy Oliver, may he rest in peace. Here, he’s hanging out with me while I vacuum out a truck I used to own. He was afraid of nothing.

Anyway, good news should be shared. 🙂

The Beast is Sick and Pretty(er)

There’s no feeling like your brakes going out while driving!  So the Beast is in the shop again, hopefully with a not-too-expensive repair in his future.  My loan was just paid off, too!  At least that means I can take a new one if needed.

Now that Spring is officially here, along with wonderfully warm and dry weather, I’ve been able to get some major work done.  The skylight is in!  To line the well, I pulled out a few sheets of bead board I purchased at the Restore.  After a coat of paint, they look good and reflect light into the house interior nicely.  I still have to put up corner trim, which will hide the small gaps at the corners and to disguise the weird angle of one of the corners.  The skylight itself still needs some paint, and a latch to hold it shut, but even loose most of the rain is staying out.  I found a leak under one corner, and when the truck is back home I’ll check to see if my weatherizing did the trick to fix it.  If not…well, that means the leak is coming from the roof most likely, and that won’t be fixed until I get the liquid rubber applied.  That should be the last thing needed to complete the roof.  It will be great to have that whole project complete!

Interior of skylight well (please ignore the filthy windows)

Interior of skylight well (please ignore the filthy windows)

I spent the entire day yesterday putting in the door.  I’d recommend if you don’t want a hassle, and have more money to spend, to buy a new, pre-hung door.  Making lots of reclaimed pieces play nice together takes a tremendous amount of effort and time.  The Quick Hangers did make it easier.  Not easy, just easier.  Once again, I find that seemingly simple tasks are made harder because of my lack of height/upper body strength.  I do think that if I had experience, that would make up in large part for my weaknesses, but the three combined caused a lot of staggering around with an unwieldy door and casing.  Also once again, after a lot of do-overs, I was able to get the thing together and functioning.   This is the most important lesson:  be willing to tear things apart and start over if necessary.  Trying to work around a problem makes more problems, and usually takes more time than simply starting over with a troublesome issue.

Danced with the door and casing for hours before getting it all hung properly

Danced with the door and casing for hours before getting it all hung properly

Finally got the door to hang properly in the casing. Mortising the hinges was the easiest part

Finally got the door to hang properly in the casing. Mortising the hinges was the easiest part

Using the Quick Hangers helped me a lot in hanging the casing straight.

Using the Quick Hangers helped me a lot in hanging the casing straight.

Another example of that important lesson cropped up in my skylight.  The trim wasn’t laying flat, and initially instead of fixing it, I tried to quickly slap some weather-stripping on just to keep forecasted rain out.  Unsuccessfully.  Once I pulled off the offending trim and shimmed (then sealed) it properly, I had a nice flat surface to work with, and a much better looking skylight.  It took less than a half-hour to do the entire fix, a very good trade-off.

The house is now light gray instead of green, a welcome update. 🙂  The neutral color contrasts well with the red of the truck.  After dropping off the Beast at the shop earlier today, I started painting the door trim in a dark gray, which I think looks great with the lighter gray structure.  I’m still playing around with color combinations in my head, but for now the windows and door will remain white.  I’m hoping the classic and understated colors will offset the somewhat janky nature of the build, lol.  I’m putting a lot of faith into the power of a good paint job!

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New light gray outside. Pretty!

Mother Nature Obliges!

I made up my mind yesterday that today would be “flashing day”, no matter what.  I hoped for only a little rain, but wasn’t holding my breath, given the weather report of rain for the next ten days.  Imagine my happy surprise when I woke up to sun!

It did rain (of course) last night, so even waiting until 10:30 left me with some wet areas to work with.  Still, most were dry.  I used this adhesive which seemed to be perfect for working in such damp conditions, and only needs a minimal amount of time to start setting up…plus has great reviews.  I gooped it on to the back of the well-cleaned old flashing, and also in the corners where the siding comes together, then nailed it up…easy-peasy.  After it was all up, the dry weather continued for 3 1/2 more hours.  According to reviews I’d read, other users had luck with as little as 2 hours of drying time.

The nails don’t look great, but I plan on painting the flashing so they shouldn’t show up after that.  I think that it looks pretty good, better in reality than it looks in these pictures, oddly enough!  Yay!

Focusing On The Door

I’ve gotten so used to being busy that now that the rain has forced me inside I’m feeling a little cabin fever.  Luckily, there are tasks still available.  I pulled the door today out of the designated “warm” room where it’s been curing, to see if it needs more putty.  I took sandpaper and steel wool to it and found a few small places that need more putty (around one of the wood plugs and in a couple small dents).  The layers of putty are thin enough so that even outside of the warm room it was dry within a couple hours.  It’s looking good!

While waiting for the putty to dry, I pried off the old pet door surround at the bottom of the door.  It was de-laminated and starting to rot so had to go.  Now, I actually want an opening in the door, for running a water hose through to fill the tank just inside.  Once again, poking through my store of materials for the original Oliver’s Nest turned up a solution in the form of a brand-new (found at a local thrift store) pet door I forgot I’d purchased.  All that I have to do is enlarge the hold a little, and screw the new pet door on!

It’s just bleh plastic, but still nicer than what was there originally.

I called my mechanic and bad news.  The tank will need to be dropped, drained, cleaned and (oh no!) possibly even replaced!  Depending on if it’s rusted out.  Apparently the fact that the “water in fuel line” indicator light comes on means there is a LOT of water in the tank, way too much for an additive to take care of.  He also recommended I take the Beast to a dedicated diesel shop for this.  Luckily there is one only a mile up the road from me so that’s handled.  I can easily walk home and then back when the truck’s ready to pick up.  Yay!  Now if only I find $400 laying on the side of the road to pay for this. But, that’s what credit cards are for, right?

I think I’m going to take the evening off from fretting about this and play a video game instead.

More Progress!

The rain is back. Not that it was completely gone, but I could do lots of things between the semi-hourly showers.  Now I’m at a point where I need several days (and nights) in a row that are completely dry, and Weatherbug is telling me that’s just not going to happen for at least ten days.  Sigh.
Good news though!  The Beast (my truck) is running well, as long as I only use fuel from the front tank.  I believe the diesel in the back tank has water in it.  I’m going to call my mechanic and see what his estimate for dealing with that is.  I HOPE it’s not much!  I’m going to call tomorrow if I feel brave enough.
Here’s a list of what has gotten done since my last post:
-walled in the area behind the truck cab/under the loft
-installed the rest of the metal roofing
-installed cedar drip edging all around the roof, except for the front slanting portion where the front windows will go
-rebuilt the door casing (it was easy!)
-puttied the old doorknob holes in the door
-cut the hinge grooves with a chisel and hammer (not nearly as difficult as you’d think but a bit time-consuming)
-continued puttying the windows ~ it will be at least another week to get it all done
I’ve thought a lot about what to use for trim on the vertical edges.  Cedar?  Cut strips of the metal siding down and fold into an “L” shape?  Use metal flashing of some sort?   When it started raining this afternoon, I went rooting through my piles of building materials and found a bunch of old metal flashing that was given to me a few years ago.  It came from an old barn, and other than the screw holes and some more of that black gook that was on the metal roofing panels (they were from the same barn), is in great shape.  It’s straight and long and wide ~ perfect for glueing and screwing to the edges.  There’s enough to put on every vertical and semi-vertical edge on the whole structure!
I’ll spend the next week or so while it’s wet out to get the black substance off the flashing.  I also plan on sanding down the door and casing and getting them both painted.  Once they are ready, I can install the door!  I found a product that will make hanging the door easier:  The Quick Door Hanger kit.  It only costs $5, and makes it much easier to ensure the casing is straight so the door works properly.  I could use shims, but honestly, after so much effort with the door, I want a little ease.  Plus, I really want a usable door that opens easily and doesn’t stick or swing shut on it’s own.  🙂
My mood has been good.  I have lots of energy.  All I need is enough time.  Crossing fingers and toes and everything!