Construction Journal Entry Week of 9/20/20

9/21-25/20 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 5 days: Monday through Friday.

My departure was delayed because I had a conference call with our insurance agent at 1:00. I left right after the call and arrived at 4:15. I had an extra big load of gear with me, including a big bag of yard waste, but fortunately I also had the wheelbarrow in the truck. So, I took advantage of the wheelbarrow and used it first to haul the yard waste to the compost pile. Then I loaded it up with all my gear. That included not only all my usual gear, but also the rigging tackle I had used to handle the big rock I gave to Joe and a rake that I needed to work on the crawl space floor.

By the time I wheeled the gear up the hill, moved in, and put away all the gear, the day was done.

On Tuesday I called Gale, the insulation company, and talked with Jake. I explained my situation and told him that I was now ready for them to install the plastic on the floor. I expected some push-back but instead, Jake said that I didn't need to talk to Shon, the salesman, but that I needed to talk to Val, the scheduler, in order to schedule a crew to come out and do the work. That was a wonderful development. Unfortunately, Val was busy, but Jake assured me that he would have Val call me back.

I spent the rest of the morning raking the floor of the crawl space getting it ready to receive the plastic. After lunch and a nap, Robert called and told me that he might be over later.

I went into the woods to water Andrew and discovered that Brian's bucket had been tipped over so there was no water for me to carry up the hill. I set the bucket up again with the hose in it and proceeded on up the hill to Andrew. There I discovered that the dribble bucket had gotten plugged and the bucket was about a third full of water. I marveled that the plug had been tight enough so that the bucket didn't empty even over the weekend.

I cleared the plug and allowed that third of a bucket to begin watering Andrew. From there, I continued up over the hill to check on the springbox. I was disappointed but not surprised that there was no overflow. The good news was that the water level was right up to the bottom of the overflow pipe.

From there I proceeded on down to the ram pump with the intention of removing it and taking it in for the winter. Unfortunately, I was unable to undo the union with my bare hands so I made an extra trip down to the cabin and back to get a Stillson wrench and a channel-lock pliers. Then I removed the ram pump and brought it down and stored it in the old privy for the winter.

On Wednesday it rained cats and dogs all day. After breakfast, I set up a scaffold system against the Grid C2-D2 loft edge so that I could work on the narrow strip of flooring between the balustrade and the fascia board. This presented a special set of problems because the subfloor in that strip was somehow raised up nearly a quarter of an inch in places. I had known about this for many years and had stewed about it not knowing what I was going to do about it. Now was the time of reckoning and decision making. I decided to simply lower the surface of the subfloor by planing or otherwise removing wood. The scaffolding was necessary to give me access for the work.

To set up the scaffolding, I first leaned the 20-foot extension ladder from the first floor up against the loft balustrade top rail. Then I hung a scaffold bracket from the rungs of the ladder. Unfortunately, the fascia board was in the way so I coudn't hang the bracket in the normal way.

To solve that, I got a tire chain and used it to lash the top of the bracket to a ladder rung. The next problem was support for the other end of the scaffold. The staircase was right there and using one of the treads for support would be the natural thing to do. But the balusters were in the way of a plank. After thinking about it, it dawned on me that a 2x4 should just fit flat-wise in between a pair of balusters. Sure enough, they fit nicely, so I used three 2x4s, resting between a stair tread and the ladder bracket to form my platform. Then, to tie the 2x4s together to make them safe and stable, I screwed a couple pieces of plywood to the 2x4s to make a nice stable deck.

Then I strung a stout rope from the Grid D.5,2-D.5,2.5 balustrade over to the loft stair handrail and that formed a nice safety rope for the scaffold.

With the scaffold in place, I used my impact driver to remove about a dozen screws that were holding the subfloor to the joists. These were really superfluous because the subfloor was glued to the joists, but it's better to have more fasteners than not enough, so I intended to replace the screws once the wood had been shaved down.

Just as I removed the last screw, Bill called, and we settled down to a really nice two-hour conversation. He was in his mountain house by himself and I was in mine, so we had no pressure from any quarter to shorten our conversation, except for my bladder toward the end.

After a late lunch and a nap, I spent the rest of the day planing, scraping, and chiseling the surface of the subfloor in that strip so that the flooring would lie in there slightly lower than the top edge of the fascia board.

On Thursday, Dave called first thing but was quickly interrupted and said he would have to call me later. After breakfast, I finished planing the subfloor and I replaced the screws. Then I cut and fit flooring planks to finish the job in that strip. I was very happy with how it looks.

After lunch and a nap, I removed the scaffold and put away the parts. I moved the ladder over so I could work on the last foot in the corner. It rained cats and dogs again all day, so I didn't worry about irrigating any trees.

On Friday morning Dave called first thing and we had our usual excellent conversation. After breakfast, I called Gale and got Jake again. I reminded him of my situation. He put me on hold for quite a while and when he came back, he told me that Val had scheduled the work for Monday at 8 AM. I told him that I wouldn't be available then and asked to reschedule it. He agreed to connect me with Val to re-schedule the job. Unfortunately, Val was busy again, but Jake promised me he would have Val call me before noon.

I packed up to leave for home and had my lunch and there was still no call from Val. At 12:05 I called Gale and I got a receptionist and I asked her to connect me with Val. She did and he answered right away. Then he agreed to reschedule the job for next Thursday, 10/1/20, at 8 AM. I was very happy with the outcome. That will give me a couple extra days to prepare for the work.

I left for home at 12:45 feeling very good about the week and the progress.

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