Monthly Archives: August 2014

yeah, I lost it.

I just lost my shit and had to go apologize to my husband about it. I got so frustrated that I couldn’t stand it, and I screamed. Not a girlie scream, more of an “argh!!” scream. A wordless bellow with vocal fry for days. You see, I can’t do this all by myself.

I’ve tried for days to get the right wall board and get it stained and installed. I feel time ticking away from me and I want to get the walls finished. Today we took back the plywood underlayment ($200 worth) and bought real-deal ¼-inch birch plywood ($400 worth). Okay, we’re on a roll.

Or not. I realized that I had to make the sawhorses. I found enough scrap lumber out behind Glen’s container to make a set of two. I had them set up and even found the two pieces of furring from the door project, which I used as cross-beams. We measured the ceiling area and cut our first panel.

It didn’t fit. With nearly no room to maneuver, we tried flipping it over, in case we had the orientation wrong (orientation matters because the walls are not exactly square and plumb. It’s an experiment, remember?). Working above my head always pisses me off, and being weak makes me angry, and things not fitting is not an acceptable outcome, so . . .

crackheadI lost my shit, big time. I screamed. I whined. I panicked a little.

I decided we were done for the day. Done, done, and done. I packed up the tools and Glen unloaded the plywood into the container. I had to go have a cry because, damn it, it fucking SUCKS to realize that I can’t do this alone, and I can’t do it with another person, and the only other option is to pay someone to do it.

Maybe I can just pay someone to do the ceiling. I want to believe that I could do the walls.

I want to believe that.


get real.

The-Simpsons-2x11-One-Fish-Two-Fish-Blowfish-Blue-FishI tried to cut corners.  I thought it would work.  Upon reflection, and after discussion with my husband, I changed my mind just in time.  

My husband and I have revised our standard operating procedure regarding the purchase of just about anything: buy it once.  We are aware of the false economy of buying the cheap stuff and having to replace it, so we try our best to buy well-made things we can repair and won’t have to throw away too soon.  

In the spirit of “buy it once”, I have decided to return the birch plywood underlayment and buy actual birch plywood.  The underlayment has the flimsiest, thinnest layer of birch on the top, and I know it will flake and peel and otherwise disappoint me. Real birch plywood will be more durable and have a depth to it that I wouldn’t otherwise get.  This decision means the difference between 11.97 a sheet and 24.92 a sheet, between $156 and $325.  I’m just going to need to work a few more hours. 

I know in the end I’ll be happy that I spent the money.  I’ll be satisfied with the results, and I won’t have done all that installation labor for nothing. Bonus: we’re going out to breakfast really early in the morning, and getting out of Home Depot before the hordes descend. Win-win.

cusping II

The State of Flux is a place that’s familiar, if not entirely comfortable. It is Home, it’s where they issued my passport, and it’s where I return without fail.

The good in my life is bountiful, though my brain lies to me about that all the friggin’ time. The kind of change I throttle into existence with my bare hands is of a much higher quality and results in a much better product than the change of the old days. The change I wrest and push and cajole is a change toward my own well being.

I have been away from the container for two days now, and it is on my mind constantly. If I had pen and paper, I’d be laboring (lovingly) over designs for the bed platform and the sink cabinet and the finish details of finials, moldings, and the all-together-now of an area rug. I love making rooms! But I have this laptop with just a 28% charge, and I suck at using any programs that might allow me to CAD this thing up. So I use my words.

I know the next step should be wall covering, but I’ve had the idea that I should redo the door jamb for the french doors. It’s a little weak, a little saggy; it says “DIY” but not “DIWABM” (did it well all by myself). I don’t want to just hire someone, because then I don’t learn anything. I want to do some sort of trade with someone who will show me the how and the why of constructing the door jamb. I can certainly re-use the lumber. I have to repair the door glass anyway. Might be a good time. I’m itching to do the walls, but maybe I need to reevaluate first.

013fc3b9-c03a-45ca-9864-1817d1b6957f_400I’m still sold on plywood underlayment for my walls. Cheap, moisture resistant, pretty, and I may have mentioned, cheap. I can do the whole thing for about $150, and there would be no taping and mudding. Loyal readers and lurking sick mofos will recall that drywall work is not my forté. Oh, no. Wanna hear the sad truth? I’m afraid that my studs aren’t exactly 24″ apart, and that I’ll come to a place where the plywood won’t meet up properly. I’m not averse to using a Skil saw, but I would like to avoid too many rip cuts if I can. So much potential for fucking up. But, when I think of the beautiful blonde color of the underlayment, I am again smitten.

And then, how the hell am I going to frame out the fixtures? I don’t want something prefab and predictable. I don’t want to take the easy way out because I don’t want the shit to look too ordinary. Dig? Might need to hit some mid-century modern pics for inspiration. Might need to hand make the outlet covers upon a theme to be chosen from my own whimsy. I mean, what one couldn’t do with a tiny, sharp jigsaw blade and some magazine collages. Right? Ooh, little parabola and kidney shapes and rocket ships. The mind boggles.

I’ve got a hot date tonight (to see my friend’s funk band, his first venture away from the worship music that brings his royalty check every month), but I am more looking forward to the morning, when the sun rises and guides me to Home Depot.

Until then, bring out the funk.

Foam! The Musical!

It’s so NICE and CLEAN and COOL and QUIET!


It will look something like this.

It will look something like this.

Tomorrow, the insulation guys come and spray the foam into my container. Finally, this Rubicon will be crossed. Once the can is insulated, the rest of the work is entirely up to me. I can move ahead at my pace.

It seems a bit surreal.

Fantasy is giving way to reality as I realize that I don’t have the kind of skills or tools to make this look as polished as it has been in my dream. That’s okay. Still, it irks me just a little. On the flip side, I have learned so much about what not to do. No lesson is wasted. Just don’t smash your thumb with a three-pound Ridgid driver; two months later and I still don’t have a thumbnail. Learn from my inattention.

One nice thing: when the foam is done and the walls are sheathed, I’ll be the only one who knows where all the rinky-dink spots are. Like any construction job, I’d bet.

the cargo doors

the cargo doors

I worked hard tonight to finish framing the cargo doors so they will hold the foam. As I cleaned up all the sawn end-pieces of wood, the bent screws, the scattered drill bits, and the tools, I realized that there have been some casualties in getting to this point.

I left my screwdriver bits out in the rain. Every last one of them is rusted. I had intended to replace them anyway, but it’s not cool to be so careless with tools. Almost every 5/16″ socket I own is stripped because I used them on 8mm hex-head metal screws. Where was the 8mm socket, you ask? If I knew that, I’d still have intact 5/16″ sockets. Silly question.

The saw blade that came with my table saw has seen better days. It will still cut, but I have to pull the blade down slowly to give it time to get purchase. It gets a bit hot during operation simply from the friction caused by the dull teeth as they labor through the wood. New blades are about $25, so I’ll finish this project and then buy a shiny, new all-purpose blade.

My beloved and cherished French doors have suffered, too. One corner on the bottom edge of one door has a chunk out of it, caused by a falling piece of lumber. The stationary door has a hole and cracks in each pane of glass, probably from the lawn mower throwing a rock off the top of a gopher hill. My fault, and I’ll get to replacing the glass in a while. It’s not tough; I just didn’t want the extra work. The bright side is that I can sand into the corners and edges that didn’t quite get clean the first time around. It will look better than before.

plywood underlayment, 7/32", twelve bucks for 4x8 sheet

plywood underlayment, 7/32″, twelve bucks for 4×8 sheet

After the insulation, the next order of business is to get the wall covering up. I’m still looking at thin plywood underlayment unless something else just as cheap but better looking comes to my attention. I’ll install the lights, and then trim out the fixtures, wall switches, and outlet receptacles.

Before I finished tonight, I cleaned up the floor and removed whatever things were leaning against the studs. I swept. I brought in the valuables, and put away the tools (disorganized, but they’re in a big SteriLite tub, so I’ll be able to go through them later).

My last task for the night was going to be opening up each outlet box and screwing the back side of the box to the stud. I don’t want the receptacles to be loose. It’s a major peeve of mine in spec houses – just a sign of other corners that might have been cut. I knew it was time to call it a day when I decided to unscrew the first outlet and was promptly shocked. Oh yeah, you have to turn off the electrical supply before you stick your fingers in a socket.

Yep, time to throw in the towel. Tomorrow I’ll be out there at 7am to finish clearing the can and getting my other crap out of the way of the dudes.

Thanks, little buddy!

Thanks, little buddy!

It’s gonna be amazing. Just like my buddy, Tricerahops.


I saw a light fixture that was absolutely stunning. I found it – where else? – on the Earthwise website. Look at this gem:

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 10.51.32 PM

But, alas, by the time I got to the store, it had been purchased. It was a steal, too.

Then, as so often happens when urban spelunking at Earthwise, I saw something that was different, but at least just as good. Two low-voltage glass pendant lamps. Squee! Only $20 apiece. Then my friend Josepha found the two small track lights with glass shades for $5 each, and a spectacularly harmonious asthetic was born.


Add to that the bullet spots I bought a while back, and the whole thing comes together.

lighting - Version 2

Now the lighting scheme is: the two glass pendants in the main living area, one bullet spot as a porch light and the other above the sink, and the two small track lights in the sleeping loft. It’s gonna be cool.

once around the estate

CONTAINER: I put away all the stuff I brought from my mom’s house. Bless her for giving me four Sterilite drawers. They have become my sewing supply center. The craft cart fits on top of them quite nicely. I found four thick yellow cotton curtains (IKEA!) that will become the curtains for the window and slider. Just add curtain rods.