A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Christmas Shopping

I was at Lowe's yesterday getting some more paint for my project and there was a couple about my age checking out next to me. Maybe a little older but in my age bracket. They had a cart with two artificial Christmas wreaths in it. Ones made of greenery with red bows. Nothing over the top, just simple wreaths.

As I was loading my paint and caulk in my truck I saw them on the next row loading their purchases in their SUV.

Something about it touched me. It was an ordinary kind of thing. They acted the way couples long together act, not much talking, a calmness about them. As if they had decided before they left home what they needed. Maybe the kids were coming over for the holidays and they wanted to freshen up the decor, buying early to beat the crazy rush later.

The kind of thing you do when you're retired and have plenty of time to think about these things and make plans. The kind of thing Rickie and I would have done. Just a little ordinary thing that goes on in the lives of people living an ordinary life.

The kind of thing I miss the most.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Addition Progress Report

The addition project is coming along really well. I think I may move the bed into the bedroom this week even though it's not finished. I have the half where the bed will go finished except for trim and the floor. I considered going ahead with the floor but decided against it. I'll wait and do that after everything else is done. I did get the plywood for the subfloor down.

I reached a goal this weekend that I wasn't positive I could reach. I got to the peak of the ceiling! Most everyone I know was concerned about it and I know it scared the kids some to think of me on the ladder way up there. Except maybe Sarah, my daughter. She's seen me do a lot of things and she was like, yeah, mom can do that. I promised them if I got to a point I wasn't comfortable with I would get another plan. I understand how they felt because when we did the cabin 11 years ago I looked at the ceiling and said, oh, hell, no, I can't do that, even with Rickie doing most of the work and me just as the helper. We ended up hiring someone to do that ceiling.

But I've learned how to do a lot of things since then and I thought if I took it one board, one row at a time, and moved slowly, I could do it. I had been working on the walls and had learned a few tricks to make it easier. I just needed to work out how to handle the cordless nail gun, which is a little heavy, and the other tools I would need. Two of the ladders have a place to hook the nail gun but the tallest one didn't. I bought a clip called a Gorilla Hook, that goes on a belt and you can hang the nail gun on that. But it was too heavy. I already had a tool belt and this would just be too much. Women learn ways to make things work that we don't have the strength to do, so I hung the belt with the hook from the top rung of the ladder!

I had offers of help. Some friends who did this type of ceiling at their home offered to come out and get it done. And my neighbor offered help, as did the kids and siblings. My brother-in-law, who has been undergoing radiation treatment, fretted that he and my sister weren't able to come help me. Nieces and nephews from Texas and Louisiana offered help. The framing carpenters told me they would come help me. And I have others that would come if I called.

But I feel the need to do things myself if I can. I have some friends who will walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain next year. Martin Sheen, starring in The Way, completed this walk for his son who passed away in the movie. This project is sort of my walk. I have a list of things Rickie didn't get to finish and I want to finish them for him. It's important in a way that's hard to explain.

But I'm not crazy and if I can't do something I will get help. The shell, the plumbing, and the electrical and AC are beyond me so I had someone else do that. And my son John and grandson Zac came out and helped me with the frames for the corrugated metal skirting that I'll add once the contractors all finish. I don't like creepy crawlies so I was glad to have help with that and I find it hard to deal with 2 X 4s since I don't have an impact drill or a framing nail gun. Also it was fun working with the kids. Zac came out to help, along with his dad, when we built the cabin. He was 6 years old! He's 18 now and he's a pretty good carpenter himself. At the rate things are going, they may be back when it's time to put the frames and metal up!

I was worried about how I would get to the ceiling above the bathtub once it was set. Then one night I had an idea! I got up the next morning and framed a little drop ceiling above the tub and put the tongue and groove boards up. Sarah was here and helped me frame it before she left but then I realized my method was wrong so I had to take that down and start over. I decided I don't want to be a framing carpenter! I'm going to splurge and get someone to do the tile around the tub. I've done a little tile work before but mainly I don't want to fool with the cement board that goes under the tile or work around the tub.

When we built the cabin I dislocated my knee. When we built the bunkhouse I injured my rotator cuff. I've had sore muscles this whole project, comes with my age, and the up and down on the ladders got my knee to hurting so I've been wrapping it each day. After two days of painting the walls and gables, my shoulder was threatening me last night. I've been clear coating the ceiling before I put it up and that saves a lot of pain!

But you can't get anything done if you aren't willing to have some pain. If there wasn't a cost to accomplishments they wouldn't have as much value. Some mornings I think there's just no way I can go back out there and get on that ladder or cut any more boards to fit. But somehow I do. And now I can see the end in sight.

I'm hoping to be finished in a few more weeks then I'll just have to wait on the plumbers and electricians to set the fixtures. In addition to boards leftover from the cabin that covered most of a wall, I ordered 270 12' pieces of tongue and groove. I've got about 70 left. Half of those will go to the remainder of the ceiling. I've already cut boards for some of the bathroom walls so I think I'll have enough.

Slowly but surely it's coming together!