Construction Journal Entry Week of 6/25/23

6/26-30/23 I went up to Camp Serendipity for five days: Monday through Friday.

I got a very late start. Most of the day was spent installing a new toilet in Seattle. I finally arrived at Camp Serendipity at 6:45 PM. I hauled about half of my gear up in one trip, hoisted the flag, and had my dinner. That was it for a long day.

On Tuesday I practiced the piano, and then went outside and whacked weeds in the lower parking lot using up two batteries. Then I hauled the rest of my gear up in the wheelbarrow and put the gear away in the cabin.

After lunch and a nap, I tried going for a walk but after 20 minutes I gave up because the mosquitoes were too thick, and it started to thunder, so I returned to the cabin. I spent a considerable amount of time working on installing the first of three grab bars for the shower stall.

The shower stall is fiberglass, so it takes special anchors that fasten to studs in order to provide the required strength and yet not bend or destroy the fiberglass. The first problem is locating the studs behind the fiberglass. I bought a fancy stud finder and spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to use it. That didn't go well. I really wouldn't trust the results it gave me.

I had made a very accurate drawing of the as-built framing of the cabin, but the pixel resolution was so fine I really couldn't read fractions of inches directly. But using magnifiers and a lot of drawing and calculation. I figured out where I thought the first stud was.

The afternoon ended with a lot of thunder and a pretty heavy rainstorm.

On Wednesday I practiced the piano and then went back out and whacked weeds in the parking area using up two batteries. Then I went back to work on my grab bar calculations getting up the nerve to drill the first hole in the fiberglass.

I called Nancy and informed her that Ellen had gotten COVID, and I wasn't sure whether I was contagious. So in the interest of caution, we agreed I would skip the neighborhood meeting at her place in the afternoon. Then I had my lunch and a nap.

When I got up, I went to work on the grab bar for record. When I drilled the first hole through the fiberglass and stuck a stiff wire into the hole, I discovered that I had struck the edge of the stud. That was good news because it was close enough. The real target, which was the center of the stud, was only 3/4 of an inch away. So, I drilled another hole 3/4 of an inch to the side of my first hole and used that second hole as the center for a two-inch hole saw. After sawing a 2-inch hole, and then continuing in with the hole saw until I had made a shallow hole in the stud, I pulled the hole saw out and removed the two-inch disc of fiberglass with the two holes in it.

It was perfect. The next step was to drill a deep pilot hole for the lag screw that would hold the spacers that were part of the anchor mechanism. Then I placed the spacers and a washer over the lag screw and with a socket wrench screwed it in tight to the stud. The next step is to squirt a bead of caulk around the two-inch hole and then screw the faceplate onto the spacer which is threaded for the purpose. That drew the faceplate up snug against the fiberglass on the outside which was now ready to provide an anchor for the grab bar itself.

Then with the grab bar as a gauge, I located the center of the bottom anchor, and I went through the same process to attach the lower anchor. The anchor kit had supplied six smaller screws to fasten the grab bar to the anchor face plates but I discovered that the 1/8-inch bit for the pilot holes, that the instructions specified, was too small. So after trying two more bigger bits, I settled on a 9/64-inch bit which I think is just right. After installing the six screws and the two cover plates with caulk on the inside, the job was done. I was super pleased with how rigid and strong the grab bar feels.

On Thursday I practiced the piano and then went out and loaded a bunch of water jugs into the truck. Then I whacked weeds until I used up 1 battery. At that time Mike Newman came by for a visit with his two dogs. We went up and toured the cabin and I answered a lot of Mike's questions. When he left, I went down and finished whacking weeds until I had drained the second battery. There was a lot of helicopter activity up and down the valley with water buckets so there must have been a fire further up.

After lunch and a nap, I went to work installing a grab bar at the other end of the tub. This one was a little quicker because of the experience I had gained with the first one. I was very happy to now have two sturdy grab bars in the shower.

When I quit for the day and took my shower, I discovered a lump on my leg just under my right butt cheek. I immediately realized that I was being bitten by a tick. I turned all my attention to first trying to see the thing and second to trying to remove it. Both were only partially successful. My spine does not bend or twist enough to allow me to see that spot even with a mirror. And the tick removing instruments I had were not effective at all. I may have scratched the main tick body off or maybe it was buried deep or maybe this was not even a tick bite. But I did get a few little parts of something pulled off with my tweezers. I folded them up into a small piece of paper. Most of it just look like small blobs of goop but one clump looked like small insect legs. I wasn't sure what to do next.

When I talked to Ellen, she thought I should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. After discussing the limited options, we decided I would spend the night in the cabin, leave early in the morning, and go to an urgent care facility.

On Friday morning it seemed to me that the lump on my butt was smaller. It occurred to me that it just might be a boil. I decided I would go home and have Ellen look at it before I went to see a doctor.

I practiced the piano and then talked to Robert for quite a while, catching up with each other. We went over our respective successes and problems from the week. Then I packed my gear and left for home at 10:20. It was a good week. The positives of the grab bars far outweighed the inconvenience of a tick bite.

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