So… Where Were We?

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Oh yes… when last we met, this was the imminent to-do list. It has been slaughtered. Demolished. It is an ex-to-do list. It is pining for the to-do list fjords.

  • close up all remaining gaps and fissures (mostly between main house and porch)
  • patch some tyvek and flashing that has deteriorated, letting rain in
  • rerun some electrical wires inside some walls
  • insulate everywhere we can with all insulation on-hand
  • wallboard where possible over insulation (mostly)
  • estimate and order remaining insulation and wallboard
  • get ready for final work by electrician (kitchen ovens, bathrom vent fan)
  • get ready for final work by gas installer (stovetop)
  • get ready for final work by plumber (kitchen and bathroom sinks)
  • order and install fridge
  • start demo and build-out of the wall between porch and living room

We also successfully re-homed Sagan (above) in anticipation of our new setting and having no satisfactory way to integrate our predator dogs with a house cat, or our predator cat with chickens, etc., etc. She is now being very well-loved in a new happy home and still of course we feel the pangs of missing her. But her past few months have been sub-optimal for her and it is for the best.

Aside from all that, it’s a challenge to catch up on almost three weeks’ worth of doings here at the Rehabbin’ Cabin — memo to self: update regularly! But an added difficulty is that if there’s been a “theme” at all to this period, it’s this: Winter is coming (we had a our first frost), we vitally need to get out of the uninsulated camper and into the house, we need to stop paying for our household goods in storage, we need to make those necessary steps happen on limited funds, and we both vitally need to be getting back into earning income.

It’s a recap of the conundrum that has faced us every day from the start — put 100% into the rehab, and get done sooner, or start mixing money-making with the project, at the cost of slowing it down — but thrown very much into stark relief. Our triaging of the “infinite list of infinite things” became ever more procrustean — now we are even considering the pros and cons of leaving the upstairs almost completely unfinished as a condition of moving in, though I think it’s clear that its completion — or at least its insulation — would still have to proceed apace. I don’t think winter works very long with our heat escaping through the first-floor ceiling.

But enough palaver! Here are a few of the highlights:

Jaison & co. are still missing in action, though we still have a lot of their staging. We still expect them back for 1-2 days, perhaps next week, to do some final flashing/weatherproofing and get us started with the vinyl siding.

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Health issues have intervened for the first time: First I stepped on a nail (went through my galoshe and 1/4″ into a foot) and had to walk gingerly for a couple of days. Then my shoulder started acting up — diagnosis: rotator cuff something-or-other, do not do work over your head, yeah, do you realize I’M RENOVATING A HOUSE? But I have slowed down, and we’ve had several days of very welcome help from my brother-in-law and his family, help from my father-in-law (who was especially instrumental in getting the VERY heavy ovens into their cabinet — a fine case of brain over brawn), and a promise of more help next week from our builder-friend Mark, so the strenuous tasks at ceiling height are gradually getting done safely.

Overall our we’ve been healthy and accident-free for many, many months, for which I’ve been continually grateful; we have decent health insurance (thanks Obama); and our network, while far-flung, is incredibly helpful and supportive.

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The livestock here at Three Bunny Farm are an ever-interesting diversion; we expanded the chickens’ range with an outdoor pen, complete with access ramp and sliding hatchway. Still no egg-laying, but the chicks are growing and one that was a hen is surely a roo. They are full of character and surprisingly fun.

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This is not the real, newly installed toilet, but gives the flavor of the bathroom with more of the greenboard up. But the actual toilet is not only spiffy and stylish, but is even attached to the water supply, so it, y’know, flushes.

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And the latest advance into civilization — as of yesterday, basically — is a real, working, latching, locking bathroom door. No more alerting the neighborhood to clear the premises when someone needs to go to the loo!

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THE wall! Yes, the wall between the porch and living room. (By the way, we need another name for the porch. It’s not a porch, and it’s more than an entryway.) We finished gutting the old wall, tore out selected studs, erected load-bearing spans, and built out the openings that will be a pair of pass-throughs and a central doorway. We’re loving how the space is shaping up.

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We argued tensely over the layout of the kitchen — bound as we are to certain constraints: the cabinets we bought at the consignment shop, the positioning of the window, sink plumbing, and outlets, etc. But once we got some wallboard up, we were able to shuffle the cabinets around in real-time and figure out some answers.

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We ended up cutting one cabinet way down to the minimum supportable size for the stovetop.

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And the stovetop in place (sans burner grilles).

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In general, we’ve proceeded with drywall around the room as insulation or other details were finalized, There’s some electrical wiring to resolve around “the wall,” and then we’ll be able to finish the living room and kitchen entirely. Oh, and the ceiling. Help is on the way.

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We had the storage U-Boxes delivered, though they are still sitting in the driveway full of our stuff. But oh my! What a psychic difference to have direct access and control over “our stuff.” We’re not acquisitive (except books), but it’s an effort of will in some ways to force ourselves out of this surreal half-existence back into something like a “normal” life of routine. We’re not able to live it yet, but walking into a sunny kitchen with open floor where boxed applicances used to sit, and knowing that our bed and chairs and clothes and rugs are right out there, are small, barely tangible, but seismic shifts in that direction.

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