Friday, July 23, 2021

The One I Didn't Want

 This is one of those posts that I feel guilty about putting my logo on. I am sure no one in this photo would think anything about this task was "pleasant!"

Yet more photos of a heavy, up-hill load. 

(I think I have documented just about everything they have brought up, minus a fridge and a piano. I missed the former and it was too dark for photos of the latter.)

But by the time my husband had it at the top, there was no way he was going to put his back into it any more. I'm sure the boys were glad to hear that resolution.
Work smarter, not harder.
The tub was lifted to the porch with a wench!

 Well okay, there was still a lot of back-work left!

I didn't want this tub. It is a Kohler and good quality, good price, but it is kind of  shallow for a bath, but overall it was the SHAPE!

The shape just was a bit creepy to me. Who in the design department thought that would make a good bathtub shape? Sure, there's room for the elbows, but it sure doesn't look inviting to take a soak in.  But it's installed in the first floor bathroom now and I have accepted it. Not everything will go they way you want it to in house-building!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Our Door Open to Friends

 I don't know what we would have done without our friends from the Far North popping in just when we needed them, and always bringing the carpenter of the family. He hung our door, and then adjusted things on it for us on subsequent visits.

I'm happy they always stopped by on their summer road trips. 

(I'm sure they started to wonder if we were keeping work in store just for them?)

Just a wee review on the handle: We bought a heavy-duty door handle through Direct Door Hardware; the Emtek "Orion." The look and feel of this handle go perfectly with our heavy door. It works pretty well, but the quick-release of the lock feature (in case of emergency) no longer functions as intended, so we need to take it off and see what is slipping.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Good News

I'm speeding through these spring months, because there was such a story to tell, so one more long post here!

 This was one of the lighter things the boys had to tote up the driveway!

 Keeping on with the spring progress, we bought special low-chemical leaching water supply pipes for the house. The house was now planned to be as anti-cancer as we could make it, choosing materials that were as harmless as we can get them (it was about as easy as finding all-organic food not packaged in plastic).

We kept up with school as best we could. Here you see a display of specimens for nature study.  One son did family presentations, learning to use power point, and organizing the other children to do presentations of their own. He also made a new math curriculum that wasn't boring (something to do with turning it into a story: voyages by explorers in the arctic sea and calculating supplies needed, ballast, etc.) One son learned to program computers. When he was told that Artificial Intelligence will eliminate the need for computer programmers, he  responded that he will be a programming historical reenactor! Overall, though, the big high school education was "shop class" and building a house.

Like my writing, the laundry must go on, and on, and on...

 My husband had surgery for real mid-spring, with the surgeon bringing me the news out of the operating room that now he was confident there was a very small chance of cancer. It was a cyst! A cyst that contains cells that are usually cancerous, but in this case, benign. We were HUGELY relieved, as you can imagine. The last word was with the pathologist though, and he was taking his time.

view from one side of the canyon to the other side

The surgeon specialist was excellent. So excellent, that my husband felt such little pain in recovery, he would not take any medications. The surgeon did such a precise job-must not have touched a nerve!- and my husband felt so good, he refused to sit around and be nursed. Instead he took the kids on a hike way up the high canyon the third hill behind our house. I couldn't stop him! I stayed home, and was glad I did because they saw a rattlesnake along the way. 

We chose to believe the surgeon, who was quite confident about his guess, and the relief of the end of the whole ordeal gave quite a boost to house-building. The last bit of exterior framing was finished, we hired a builder for a bit of inside work, we hired an electrician! The plumbing got started, and the Kitchen was plumbed!

 The first door was installed-- a side exterior door. No, we didn't make this one because the opening was standard on the side, but we did find a very nice one to buy, don't you think?

We had one more surprise-- which really should have been expected-- and that was that we could not rent the RV forever! The owners needed it back... so we were making inquiries for another RV to rent, and packing up our items in totes.

In the end, the pathologist came to the same conclusion the surgeon did. The several months we spent with possible cancer in the horizon permanently changed our way of living.

Aquatherm polypropylene pipes, usually used in industrial applications, were chosen because of its lower chemical leaching.

My husband had picked “hope” as a theme word for that year. I now think that picking a theme word of the year is akin to praying for patience! I think a phrase would have been better– something like “expect the unexpected.” There did come a point in all this, whenever the next shock came like another wave to crash our boat, that I had to laugh. How much more could there be? I am now very appreciative for the uneventful days in life. All I wanted to worry about that upcoming summer was keeping the freezer full of popsicles for the kids...


[*I have had Rod and Staff math for them for years, they all dislike it but they all have their math facts down. However they have taken turns trying to write their own, that's how frustrated they have been with the experience of a text book. I still persist with R&S though because it's works. I'm sure they wouldn't like any math out of any book anyway!]  

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A "Stunning" Spring

 Now where did I leave off..

 (Yesterday one of my children glanced over to see what I was writing about. They shuddered when they saw that last post: "that was such a year!")

The fleeting green hue meant spring was on the way.

an interesting rock found on one of our walks. The pink item is not a butterfly, but a flower

While the Dr was on vacation, we Googled head and neck cancer... now we know why doctors always tell you not to google things.

We spent a lot of time stunned. But we can't stay that way for long and we had a house to build. 


And the laundry must go on.  

By now we were up against our building permit expiring. We were able to get an extension that reached to Autumn. 

Even though the house wasn't near ready, we bought a refrigerator. We were changing our diet to as close to anti-cancer as we could get, and the RV fridge just couldn't hold all the produce. From this point on we changed to an almost all-organic, mostly vegetarian diet. Huge amount of veggies, salads, and berries were on the menu. 

I say "mostly" vegetarian, because although we did not give up meat, buying organic, grass-fed meat is spendy. We just sprinkle it on our salads-- individual steaks are out of the question!

We eventually added back grains, but it has been a wild ride food-wise. Organic food can easily be double the price of conventional, and not always easy to find, so it has been more stressful to shop. Even the thought that this is much better for my family is not as comforting as it should be when I am unable to buy or find what I need for dinner! 

By the end of the month, my husband was almost in surgery. Oddly, just before the surgery, the surgeon couldn't find the lump. It was...gone? He was too nervous to go exploring and told us to get a scan. My husband got some socks out of the experience but not much information. Later the scan revealed enough further in to warrant a specialist.

 Stacks of rigid insulation.

And guess what! The new specialist surgeon didn't hold out much hope for something benign, and scheduled another surgery. Then he went on vacation.

As always, to be continued!

Monday, July 19, 2021

Plumbing and the "C" word.

 Who would ever think that drains are beautiful. 

You would if they spoke "progress" to you.
Oddly enough, the one thing that was so difficult to figure out was the drains. We hired a plumber and it was some of the best money spent on this project. And it was done in a much shorter time when a pro did it!
Some free homebuilding advice: unless you just love plumbing and it comes easy to you, hire a plumber. Don't waste your time and energy DIY-ing the things that don't come naturally.
We needed progress badly that spring. The panic was on.

My husband went in to get a growing lump on his neck taken care of, only to hear the word "Cancer" as a possible cause. Then the Doctor went on vacation! While that scare hung about our heads as the "unknown," around that same time we got a glimpse into the future and knew that we needed to be living in this house in about nine months.

Talk about a huge need to get this house project DONE.

To be continued...

Friday, July 16, 2021

More Windows & Regrets


As the winter waned, we discovered a snow-melt creek behind the house. Picturesque and sounding so beautiful and gurgle-y.

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, window plans changed quite a bit. The first floor lower left window (blocked by plywood here), which was the second kitchen window, was going to shrink. The slim horizontal window in the middle was to disappear. The upper right hand window was also going to be walled in, and the windows under the left eave were going to be non-operable. This was all to save money and simplify some of the house plan.


This smaller window was going into the kitchen. Every room should ideally have two windows for two sources of light.

These east-side upstairs windows changed to non-operable as it was less expensive (ganged windows are more expensive too). Later on we would regret this, as we understood the prevailing winds better. What we did not regret was changing the window style for the upstairs sides. Not only was the effect charming (to have a different, smaller window under the eaves) but we actually liked this simple style quite a bit!

The master bedroom side windows were a simpler style, but being individual and not ganged (as in, bank of two or three) they were cheaper to have operable. 

I peeked out from the second floor, to see how my husband was doing the window installation. He installed the windows, working on the OUTSIDE of the scaffolding, hanging on with ONE hand, which was also holding a pencil.  I was sorry I looked out there to see what was going on.

Progress was made not only on windows but on the west eave.

I want to stop a moment and just appreciate clamps. Everyone should have an assortment in their toolbox!


Thursday, July 15, 2021



The snowy weather continued.

This drywall ruler might be hard to read-- but it we had about 20" of snow.

 I was a bit worried about all that snow on the roof falling off. We were hoping for a slow melt. After all the porch roof was just rough plywood, not slick metal.

 I was more afraid of falling icicles.

View from inside. It was cold, but nice to be up in the house and imagine what it would be like to be seeing the snow from an insulated, sealed, warm abode with plumbing and electricity. I called the electrician about this time but he said we weren't ready for wiring yet. 


 We had windows ready to be delivered, but they would be delayed two months because of the snowy, hilly roads in our neighborhood.

 We watched the snow break off and hit the porch roof in chunks.

Our road is cleared by volunteers driving snow plows. When the drift is on our side, it is quite a thing to climb over!

More chunks.

A visitor.

One day everyone was in the RV for lunch. I was going to go up to the house with my son, but was delayed for a couple of minutes. Providentially as it turns out, because as soon as we opened the RV door to go up to the house, CRASH!

Like a crack of thunder, the rest of the snow came off of the roof, onto the porch roof, and down the hill all at once. A few minutes earlier, we would have been under it and had a broken neck or arm! I was so glad the children were in the RV and not playing outside.

This is after it had been trampled down a bit... the "snowballs" that settled on the driveway were around three feet in diameter. 

This has made me re-think the simple design of our porch roof. At least a gable over the steps is a must for this country. And some kind of snow clips or snow bars over the rest.

And can you believe, we are still trying to figure out which snow clips/snow barriers to buy and have not put any up at all! It is a project that, if done cheaply, might damage the standing seam roofing. If done expertly, will cost almost as much as the roof cost! We would like to have avalanche prevention before another winter. If anyone has any experience with snow clips, please leave a comment!