Construction, Day 17: Starting Work on the Skin

A miserable day, but the crew kept working.

On May 20, 2014, I began blogging about the construction of my new home in Malaga, WA. You can read all of these posts — and see the time-lapse movies that go with them — by clicking the new home construction tag.

The 17th day of construction — the beginning of week 5 — was a cold and nasty day, with rain coming and going throughout the afternoon and into the evening. I stayed inside, working on party invitations and other assorted paperwork. I feel as if I’m continuously trying to dig myself out from under a pile of paper.

This is my busy time of year for flying work — although that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll fly. We had rain (and I flew) on Thursday and Friday, but the weekend was quite pleasant with only a vague threat of rain. I needed to do my laundry and I don’t like going to the laundromat on weekends, so I figured Monday would be the day. Unfortunately, with the weather so iffy, a trip down into town looked like a bad idea. It takes about 20 minutes to get home (where my helicopter now lives), and with actual conditions not matching what I was seeing on radar, I really had no reliable warning system. At least from home I could see the weather moving in and react quickly if I needed to.

So I stayed home for most of the day.

Outside, the guys kept working. They were all bundled up in sweatshirts and some of them even had hoods up under their hardhats. They climbed up onto the RV garage roof and worked on the metal sheeting around the south-facing windows up top.

The exterior walls of my RV garage, shop, and garages would get the same rolled insulation as the roof in that area. That meant the workers needed to follow the same basic procedure as they had for the roof. The big difference was that they’d also have to cut around the windows. And I had a lot of windows to cut around. Because they also had to put some sort of flashing beneath the roof and around the windows, they didn’t seem to make much progress before lunch. But they made up for that after lunch by finishing up those top windows and getting about 2/3 of the south-facing wall done.

Meanwhile, one of the two framing contractors I’d contacted came by for a second look at the building. The pair consists of a builder and her framing partner. She was having trouble understanding how the roof over my living space would comply with code. I didn’t have answers to her questions about that but referred her to the plans inspector who had signed off on the plans. She told me that she’d spoken to him and that the plans weren’t approved. This was news to me that got me busy with email after they left. (She was wrong; they had been approved.) We also discussed the “storage loft” area I’d requested over my hallway, pantry, utility room, and bedroom closet. I saw no reason for these areas to have 18-foot vaulted ceilings; why not use this space for something else?

By 3:30, it looked to me as if it wouldn’t rain enough to get a call to fly. I bundled up my laundry and Penny and headed down into town. I had a bunch of errands to run, including getting my hands on a pair of frost-free yard valves. My friend Bob had recommended installing one on the front and back of my building. We figured that when the plumber came for the stub outs, he could extend the trench enough for me to install the two valves. Angel had told me the plumber would arrive the next day.

I also needed to pick up the printed party invitations. And drop a few off with friends in town.

Did you ever have a day when you’re trying to run errands and get things done and nothing seems to work out? (My wasband used to complain about this happening to him all the time.) That’s the kind of afternoon I had.

First, the clueless copy desk person in Staples told me they hadn’t run my print job because I’d set up the file wrong. She invited me behind the counter to see for myself, but when she brought up the file, she immediately admitted that it was fine. So I had to wait for her to run it then. That took a good 20 minutes.

Next, at Lowes, I wasted time looking for someone to help me, only to discover that they didn’t have what I wanted. I also took a call from a co-worker who needed an extraordinary amount of hand-holding for a grown man. (Jeez, what is it with some men these days?) While we talked, I couldn’t continue shopping for the other few items I needed, thus wasting more time. 13 minutes, to be exact.

In Home Depot, a long search for what I needed wasted more time and came up empty.

Radar Storm Cell
I made this screen grab after getting home; I watched this storm track down from the north and felt as if I was racing it.

I hurried back to the laundromat and threw my clothes in two dryers, pumped them each with 40 minutes worth of quarters and headed back out. I had enough time to buy more potting soil (for my third pallet planter) at Costco. At least that went smoothly. It was drizzling when I got out and, according to radar, a storm cell was moving in from the north. I had run out of time.

Half my clothes were still wet when I got home. I hung them on hangars all over the RV so they’d air dry. I texted back and forth with various pilot friends who, like me, were waiting for calls. I worried that if I flew and something happened to me, people cleaning up the detritus of my life would look at the clothes all over my RV and think I was a slob.

Nick, whose helicopter is based right down the hill from my place, started up and took off around 8 PM. My call came at 9 PM, which was too late to launch. It was a request to dry 3 orchards first thing in the morning.

What does this have to do with construction on my new home? Very little. But it does explain why I don’t have any good in-progress photos. Just this, which I shot on my way home.

Walls Going In
They started work on the metal sides of my building on Monday.

The time-lapse is also a bit disappointing, since they did all their work on the side of the building that doesn’t face the camera. Sorry!

4 thoughts on “Construction, Day 17: Starting Work on the Skin

  1. Maria – no need to apologize for the blog content or time lapse. Those of us following daily still enjoyed it. You put perfectly into words what we all go through – thankfully only occasionally- a definite “bad day”. But those of us who are really in control of our “big picture” can endure these and even laugh a little and turn the experience into something useful. I chuckled as you described my exact experiences in Lowes, HD & Staples…….it’s eerie how those similar things happen to different people in different states almost precisely the same way! Haha.
    At the end of the day, most of the errands are completed and we return from the chaos of “civilization” and the retail system back to our castle and sanity where we regain control.
    And you have an amazing leveling tool (excuse the building pun) because every time you arrive home you get to see progress on this huge new part of your life you have conceived and created from literally nothing. It must be incredibly fulfilling to stop on the driveway to take a pic (mental or photographic) and think – “Wow…..I made this happen!”
    Then to get a call for work late at night is cream on top!
    Even the bad days and dealing with those competency- challenged representatives of the retail industry ain’t so bad. (And kudos to the majority of the retail sector workers who DO get it right – it’s just like the airlines – we only anecdote about the bad experiences!).

    • I usually have such good luck with errands and shopping from a list. Monday was just one of those days. The wet laundry really ticked me off, though. After a very busy day yesterday, I’m still putting it all away.

      As for Staples, they have two copy department people. One is excellent: efficient, friendly, fast, and even remembers me by name. The other seems to be in way over her head, unable to handle the most basic jobs without getting frazzled. They ought to put her in a different role in the store. Monday’s experience has made me consider doing future work at Office Depot, even though its clear across town. Funny you mention the kudos for good retail sector workers; I had a very good experience last year that I wanted to blog about but never got around to it. Maybe it’s time.

      Even the builders pause on the road behind my building in the morning on the way in just to take a look. I see them from my desk in my RV. It’s a great vantage point. The few neighbors who live on the road beyond me — it’s a dead end, so only we come this far — must be finding it interesting, too. Occasionally one will stop in for a chat.

      Work has been keeping me crazy busy — and earning money — but I can’t say I’m sorry to see the weather clear for a few days so I can get some rest and do some more work around here. I have a list of projects as long as my arm and hope to tackle a few of them this week with the sun shining on me again.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment! Glad you’re enjoying the progress reports!

    • Yes it’s nice to get an unanticipated lull once in a while. This week is my lull before the storm. Putting the heli tours and instruction flights in Florida on hold for a couple of months (it’s our first year in business so that’s our bread and butter now) to take the heli for another season spraying corn in Wisconsin. It helps the balance sheet at the end of the year! Aim to pick up more ag flyng in Florida hopefully but it’s just getting that first foot in the door that’s toughest!
      Thx for the response. Great to experience a true writer in a blog who takes time to handle the comments.
      As always, above all, be safe!

    • To me, interaction with readers is a key feature of blogging. It’s a real pleasure when readers comment with their own stories and information to keep a mature and friendly conversation going. Moderating comments is a part of my blogger job that I take seriously, so although there aren’t a lot of comments here, there aren’t any trolls, either.

      Good luck with that ag flying. Would love to learn to spray, but I don’t think it’s in my future. Fly safe!

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