Construction Journal Entry Week of 7/13/14

7/14-17/14 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 4 days: Monday through Thursday.

I had an appointment with my cardiologist downtown in the morning so I didn't leave for the mountains until after lunch. On the way I stopped at Priscilla's to make a delivery and then I visited with Uncle Charles. It was a hot drive over the mountains and it was still 94 outside when I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 5:08 PM.

There were no mice in the traps so I am hopeful that the roof repair has finally shut them out for good.

I brought a new ceiling fan with me, which is pretty heavy, so I used the wheelbarrow to haul it and most of my other gear up to the cabin. The temperature was 80 inside the cabin which made it pretty uncomfortable. I did no work for the rest of the day, but instead headed right for the shower and then I had my dinner. Fortunately the evenings cool off pretty quickly in the mountains so it was comfortable during the night. Before I went to bed I opened all the windows and had a fan blowing in all night. That way the cabin started out cool in the morning.

The phone problems we have been experiencing were still somewhat mysterious. I had been able to get the phone at the cabin to ring by calling from my cellphone and from the kitchen phone in Seattle, but not from the office phone or the bedroom phone. Priscilla had also been able to call the cabin from her area code, which is different from ours in Seattle. I was at a loss to explain why some phone calls worked and others did not.

On Tuesday I called Robert first thing and left a message saying that I was just touching bases. I also turned on the valve to water the giant sequoia named Brian.

After breakfast and doing my exercises, I went into the loft to get a supply of toilet paper. In a cardboard box containing some odds and ends, I discovered a bunch of carpenter ants all busy eating something that was on one of the flaps of the box. Obviously there was a nest of them somewhere and the only way to eradicate them is with ant bait. So without disturbing the ants any more than necessary, I placed a Raid ant bait cartridge, and poured some NutriSweet, over the top of whatever it was they were eating on that flap. Then I left it alone.

Next I went to work and nailed up a few ceiling boards. It was not uncomfortably warm yet up under the ceiling during the morning.

Robert called back and explained what he had been doing since I had seen him last. He told me about getting a fire engine he owned in working order and he planned on using it on my project. He said he would try to get up to Camp Serendipity the next day, Wednesday.

A technician from Frontier also called. He told me that he had checked our telephone line and he had been out to inspect the pedestal next to our driveway and had found no trouble. When I explained how some phones could call and others could not, he was as baffled as I was. In the course of our discussion, I explained that we did not have a twisted-pair land line in Seattle, but instead were using Comcast which connects via coax cable. That triggered a recollection of other troubles he had worked on involving Comcast. When he explained some of those incidents, it became clear to both of us that the problem had to be in Comcast's software in Seattle. That was the only explanation that made sense.

Before stopping for lunch, I measured and recorded the location of the false rafter and framed-in opening in the rafters I had built to accommodate a future masonry chimney going through the roof. Once the ceiling boards are nailed over that structure, It would be hard to know exactly where to cut the opening in case someone wanted to build a masonry fireplace and chimney. This was about the last chance to get the measurements.

Just as I finished my lunch and was starting on the dishes, Earl stopped by to pick up a book I had borrowed from him. He gave me a nice bag of cherries as a gift which I appreciated. We had a nice visit talking about various topics. After he left, I had my usual nap.

When I got up, it was way too hot up in the loft to work on the ceiling. Instead, I unpacked the ceiling fan and read all the installation instructions carefully. By the time I finished learning how to install it I had a few questions so I planned to call their support line in the morning.

On Wednesday morning I called the Monte Carlo Fans support line. I learned the part number of the cable we had failed to order, learned some more about the electrical box, and discussed their recommendation that we tighten the screws in the fan twice a year. That was unacceptable to me, since the fan will be 19 feet in the air, so I suggested using Loctite threadlocker. The technician said that would definitely work and the screws wouldn't have to be tightened later at all.

I spent the rest of the morning up on the scaffolding nailing up ceiling boards. The temperature outside reached 94 by noon and it got too hot to work on the ceiling for very long. After lunch and a nap, I continued to work on the ceiling, but I took many cooling down breaks in the process. I worked without a shirt and after going outside to cut a board, I would be slimy with sweat. I would then sit inside in front of a big fan, drinking a bottle of cold vitamin water, until I cooled off and dried off.

Then I would take the board up on the scaffold and nail it in place. By the time I finished that one board, and came down off the scaffolding, I was slimy with sweat again. I then repeated the process of drinking cold vitamin water in front of the fan until I was cool and dry again. Inside the cabin it stayed reasonably cool, although by 5:00 the temperature inside was up to 80. It was too bad I couldn't have done this project during the winter, but I had no real alternative to fixing the damaged roof instead. Oh well, the best laid plans of mice and men don't always work out.

I took some time in the afternoon to go into the woods to check to make sure Brian's irrigation was working. I also carried a bucket of water up and watered Andrew. The heat really dries the dirt out around the trees.

Robert did not show up and I presumed that he was busy with his fire truck helping fight the forest fires.

In the evening Ellen was able to call from all our phones. I explained that Comcast detects their own problems and fixes them in software automatically, so that was undoubtedly what happened to fix the most recent problems we had. Ellen also told me of the serious fire that was burning near Leavenworth and that part of US 2 was closed.

On Thursday morning, Ellen called to let me know that US 2 was closed between Stevens Pass and Leavenworth because of the fires. Later, I called Parkside Grocery and the guy there told me that US 2 was open westbound from Coles Corner so I should be able to get out. The highway was closed westbound from Leavenworth to Coles Corner and eastbound from Stevens Pass to Leavenworth.

After breakfast, exercises, and turning on Brian's valve, I removed the grill from the ceiling vent opening and cut and fit a ceiling board to go around the bottom of the opening. There are only a couple courses of boards yet to go to reach the ridgepole and they will have to fit around that vent as well as around the chimney.

Since I am now working on the high side of the scaffold deck, I decided I needed a safety rope strung over that side. Using the rope I had used to lift the last two scaffold frames up from the floor, I rigged a good safety rope. I fastened the hook end to the top of the scaffold frame at Grid C3. Then I strung it over to the top of the other frame and fastened it with a clove hitch around the top. From there it went to the Grid C2 RPSL where I used a Martin's Differential Hitch. From there it ran to the Grid C1 gable wall.

I wasn't sure how to fasten it at the gable wall at first. There was a ladder against the wall at the right location, but it wouldn't be able to bear any outward force without being pulled away from the wall. While I was looking at it wondering how to provide a secure anchor, I spotted a big screw eye in the log wall in just the right position to anchor the safety rope. More serendipity, or maybe it was careful planning. I had installed that screw eye as an anchor for winching heavy loads up the loft staircase and now it had another good use.

I ran the rope over a ladder rung and then through the screw eye. Then I finished it off with a tautline hitch so that I could tighten the whole rope up nice and snug. The Martin's Differential Hitch allowed for tightening the entire rope from the clove hitch on the scaffold frame to the gable wall with that one tautline hitch.

I also reconfigured the scaffold deck somewhat to provide more footing over to the high side where I will be working from now on.

Next, I removed the porcelain light bulb socket I had installed under the ridgepole at Grid C2.5 where I now plan to install the ceiling fan. I then brought up the mounting bracket from the ceiling fan and checked to see how it was going to fit on the log. I was happy to discover that it will fit perfectly. I had used a 6" hole saw to cut the outer recess in the log, and the bracket fit nicely in that recess. I don't think I will have to do any wood chiseling at all in order to mount the bracket. It will be much easier to install than I had imagined.

I had an early lunch and left for home at 12:30 happy with my progress in spite of the extreme heat. The drive home was delightful because I had virtually the whole road to myself. The few oncoming vehicles were all fire trucks, emergency vehicles, and TV camera trucks until I got past Skykomish on the other side. And there was no traffic behind me pushing me to drive faster.

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