Monthly Archives: November 2014


Yes, here they are, the pictures of the interior of the escape hatch. Understand that this is a work in progress. Overall, it’s pretty fuckin’ cool, but I still have plans for it! If I had to live in it full time, I would put in a wet bath (a concrete floor pan with a drain in the floor) with a toilet, a shower and a sink. For now, I’m living every girl’s dream: sleeping in a 50° room and peeing into a Home Depot five-gallon bucket in the middle of the night. Admit it. You are totes jelly. ENJOY THE PICS!! Hover over each tile to see the caption, and click on thumbnails to embiggen, enlarge, or otherwise magnify.



NaNoWriMo. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s short for National Novel Writing Month, and it happens every November. For some, it’s just a kick in the pants to discipline themselves to write a certain amount each day. For others, there are prizes and the possibility of having their stories featured and distributed by the NaNoWriMo organization.

I had planned to write about my dad and all the stories about and by him. It was a noble goal; there is so much source material it’s almost ridiculous. However, once I started I wasn’t able to confront the feelings that arose. So I bailed on Day Three. Sorry, Netta. Next year? Maybe in a different month?

Instead I created InNoCanCo: Independent November Can Construction. I am done with all major components (wall and ceiling sheathing, bed loft, floating shelves, actual living in the hatch). Now I can focus on the little things, the trim and the minor details.

Tonight: face trim for the closet I finished yesterday. Possibly staining it red; I’ll have to test a small area and see how I like it. It is Franken-Closet, as it is made with birch plywood backing, sides and top of pine plywood, and hemlock face trim. Why be normal?

I’ll also need to replace some of the screws I used for the closet assembly, because I ran out of nice black drywall screws (which I prefer for their color and ease of sinking) and had to use gold interior 3″ lag screws that look like shit AND strip out if you look at them funny. I even pilot drilled! Shit!

So, by tonight (reasonable hour, please, Missy) I should have something I’m proud of. Cross your fingers that my mitre cuts are true and pretty.

cooling it

Since moving into the cabin, I have been sleeping in a room that seldom gets above 55 degrees F at night. I use an electric blanket (beneath the sheet – no lectures!). Unless it is persistently freezing outside, I have to turn down the blanket around midnight. Naturally I keep all body parts under the cottom thermal blanket, under the duvet with the flannel cover. And I sleep better than I have in a long while. No hot flashes. I still wake to pee twice a night, as I have to drink water after work and not during. (Long story, but I can’t be up to pee at work very often.)

I’ve always slept better in a cool room. I thought it was just a quirk, or something I mis-remembered from childhood. But no.

The research is in, and not only does it seem you’ll sleep better in a cool room, but you get definite metabolic perks, too. As noted in The UK’s Daily Mail, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia took subjects and manipulated their sleep environment for four months. First, they slept in a thermo-neutral environment (24C), meaning their bodies did not feel too hot or too cold, and were not using energy to compensate for temperature. The second month, the overnight temp in the sleep lab was decreased to 19C (fairly cool), raised to 24C again in the third month (neutral), and lastly raised to 27C (fairly warm) in the fourth month.

The aim was to test the subjects’ body-fat composition at the end of each month, and to compare the ratio of yellow to brown fats. Yellow fat is the fat we think of as unhealthy; brown fat “specialises in burning off calories and generates heat as it does so”.

Month one established each subject’s baseline sleep temperature. The second (cool) month resulted in an increase of brown fat by up to 40%. Month three actually showed a loss of the brown fat, and month four, the hottest month, showed a continued loss of this beneficial metabolic fat.

Now, it’s not rocket science to assume that you burn calories trying to stay warm. What is interesting is the dramatic increase of the healthy fat that promotes a more effective metabolism overall.

This makes me happy, because I’ve noticed improved sleep since moving into the escape hatch. I am going to visualize my happy brown fat metabolizing away throughout the day.

Score another point for the cabin.

building: today

There is no escaping this: I am building the closet today. It is raining and I am thankful for the carport and the extension cord.

I had grand plans to go to Home Cheapo and other large stores, but I’ve decided to hunker down and make what I can with what I have. Sometimes using the things at hand creates something better than the “perfect” vision. I’m also applying this to food this week.

Building meals, building a closet, building character.

“The cost of a thing is the amount of life which is required to be exchanged for it.”
– Henry David Thoreau

UPDATE, 10:48pm: The closet is about 3/4 finished. All uprights and frame members are assembled, and the birch plywood back is on. I need to add a diagonal piece to keep the whole thing square. I also need more plywood for the sides, top, and floor (interior shelf). Soon, hopefully in the morning.

next steps

Now that the major furniture is in, it’s time for the drips and drabs. We’re talking essential books, knick-knacks, art. Oh, and I have to build a closet.

Yep, a closet. My first idea was to build one of those really cool staircases with a closet underneath, but I don’t really have the horizontal space to do that. Well, maybe I do. I have to find decent plans. Building a free-standing clothes cabinet is one thing, but when it also has to support the weight of a grown human mammal, that’s entirely another thing.

I thought I could use part of the shelf unit I already made, but it’s too shallow by half. I’d need a depth of between 18 and 24 inches. I think the way to go is to buy a sheet of plywood (8′ x 4′) and cut it in half, then one of the halves in half again. That would give me two pieces 2′ x 4′ (for the sides) and a full piece 4′ x 4′ for the back. I can then use the refinished louvered doors that I thought wouldn’t have a use. Way to repurpose! But I think I’m going to paint them black. The bright red is too much for such large pieces. I have cool hinges and handles from a long-burnt-up IKEA armoire that will look quite nice, indeed.

Maybe I’ll reupholster the couch cushions in red. Always wanted a red couch. Or I could do more of the china blue, to match the Poang. Too much blue? Black, so it’d hide the cat hair, which is also black? Black would be cool, with red pillows. More thought needed.

I promise pics as soon as I’m satisfied with the completeness and cleanliness of the lair. Been a little busy in general, and since it’s just me doing this, it’s a drips and drabs thing from here on out.

unexpected lessons

Right. There are always unexpected lessons, aren’t there?

ivr43_91390439x_pLesson 1: I must turn on the heater as soon as I come home from work. Even though I’m in the big house until bed time, I need to warm up the cabin ASAP because it takes so long. I’ll soon be getting a closed oil heater, but until then, the little space-heater-hot-air-blowy-thing just isn’t enough. Tonight I didn’t get out here until 9:30, and I could see my breath against the light cast by the open laptop. In fact, I can still see it. Did I mention that I love my electric blanket? I added a doubled-up cotton blanket too. It works. Still, I sometimes dream of the coal bedwarmer they used in the movie Belle Epoque.

pinklerLesson 2: Getting up to pee is a bitch. Yeah, it’s only three steps down the ladder, but with a bladder like mine, and my need to hydrate after work, there are at least two trips to the bucket each night. It’s not a huge problem, but dang.

stop-forgetting-a-file-not-a-pileLesson 3: I will forget at least three necessary items once I’ve gotten up into bed, and will have to retrieve them one at a time as they occur to me. Did I take my meds? No? Down I go. Do I have my phone/alarm clock/all-encompassing oracular Master of Time, Space and Dimension? No? Sigh.

Lesson 4: If I put away the damn computer and just read, I will fall asleep like a baby in the dark silence. The cat (Fafnir, constant companion) will stay with me most of the night. I will dream of many odd and wondrous things.


now with cats and other fixtures.

I worked from 10am to 3:30pm today.  I am tired.  I am sore.  I am slightly dehydrated.  And this day has felt really, really long.  It feels like 9pm at 7pm.  Cold and dark have a way of doing that.

The largest task was to seal up the extra niche between the door frame and the container frame.  At some point it may become a tall, narrow window, but for now it just had to be sealed.  Oh, and no small matter, it had to incorporate both a cat door and the outdoor lighting fixture.

Details are boring where this is concerned; I will say that the techniques employed included jigsawing, mitre sawing, jury-rigging, swearing, and screwing (of the construction type).  I tripped over the tools on the ground.  My sawhorses were tipping and falling apart.  It was, at most, 40°F in the sun, and I was working in the shade.  Fun!

There is a cat door.  I even made a little ramp with cross-members, like the ramp at a marina.  Fafnir has figured it out, but Sampsa hasn’t been shown that it’s there yet.  The box for the light has been fixed in place.  There is Tyvek moisture barrier, even.

Through a network of extensions cords held to the floor with Gorilla Tape™, I now have the 5-bulb lamp over by the reading chair, two lamps on my bed frame, and one clamp lamp at my desk.  The electric blanket is plugged in.  Last night was downright comfortable under the flannel-covered duvet, I must say.  The heater purred all night.  I slept all snug, had a really philosophical and trippy dream, and didn’t wake up until almost 8am.  Life is good!

Pics will be published when I have a chance, in daylight, to take them.  I promise.