Solidity arrives, and the garden continues

Work has more or less continued apace. Wednesday was less productive than I might have hoped because of a pointless waste of my life dealing with the American healthcare ‘system’. It seems that between my pharmacy and my insurance company the wires have become crossed, and the pharmacy thinks my meds are no longer covered, or possibly I’m no longer covered. Lord know which. It’s tedious in the extreme. Thankfully the meds are cheap anyhow. But it means I’ll get to waste time on the phone on Monday working out what is going on. Yay.

But no, remind me again how the NHS is a wasteful government bureaucracy.

*sigh*

Mind you, it wasn’t all Costco’s fault. I was slow getting going, then went to the house to measure the protrusion of the windows from the siding with the intention of getting a bit of Z flashing that’d allow us to match the window protrusion on the French door trim (when we make the trim for them). Then I went to B&Q home depot where I realized that since my next stop was Costco, I couldn’t buy the 10′ long bit of flashing (which is the length it comes in), because it’d mean leaving the window open in the car and the flashing sticking out. Then Costco took a while… And when I got to the house I was a bit… well, vague.

I kinda pootled around for a bit staring at the wiring. Trying to work out the best way to run it. Considering options and considering that we need some boards to run the cables along, if I want to make it nice. And then that I need to know where we’re framing the ceiling.

And after pondering it for a while I realized I need to check with my wife before I do that, and that I’d rather that the windows were in and not in the area where I’ll be wielding hammers.

So I decided to wait.

Then I meandered around the house a bit before realizing I could probably put up the crossbracing on the 13′ walls. Which I did… yay :)

And it is astonishing the change. Even at this point the interior walls had a flimsiness running down the length of the house. I kinda assumed it would be that way until we put the drywall on, but adding the (Fine Homebuilding recommended) crossbracing has transformed things. The interior walls – and the bathroom – now feel solid in every direction. Which is good, because the drilling fairy needs to come along and throw in the lighting cables. To do that we need to frame up the last bits of the walls above the hall ceilings and above the laundry room – because that’s where some of the cables will run.

Anyhow, so Kathryn arrived in the afternoon and we got the third (and final) window into the back wall.

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The back is now almost ready to have the rainscreen cladding put on (just need that flashing across the top of the back door) – we have an open question with the local planners about the grading of lumber for the cladding. I’m hoping “shop grade” / “ungraded” is sufficient. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be, given that it’s just ornamental. But then I often fail to see why some things are checked and other things aren’t.

I still don’t really see why they have such interest in my plumbing. I get wiring more (although I’m not fond of having it assessed). But plumbing? Seriously, if it drains into the drain it’s doing a damn sight better than it was before.

Anyhow, this weekend we’re hoping to do at least one of the side windows, then it’s just the front windows… and then cladding the entire building, finishing the wiring rough in*, putting up all the drywall, plastering, doing all the trim…installing a kitchen…painting, tiling the entire floor, oh – installing the heating system…

In other news, we’ve been sucked into gardening. The raised bed was just the start; we’ve cut in a second bed at the back (with aronia – which it turns out produces berries you can substitute for sloes in sloe gin), some Eastern European raspberries (groundcover, apparently), elderberries, a type of ornamental wheat that looked very pretty…

We’ve also planted the plants in our herb garden and then had the audacity to start creating a herby/culinary border which is where things got interesting (in the bad way). Part way through planting the rosemary as we tried to dig over the soil we found what we think is a barrel. It’s so rusty and holed that I don’t think there’s going to be anything noxious in it. But we want to know if it is a source of noxious things, because currently our bay tree is planted there, so is our rosemary (although further back now) and that means digging more.

And it may mean renting a digger.

Feh.

* I realised I’d forgotten to install any network cable. And I want network cable. I’m not sure where the cable will come in, but I do like to hide the media server out of the way and for optimum performance that means having a decent wired network. So I forked out the money today for some Cat6 cable (I know, I could have got Cat5e, but the last Cat5e I got was terrible).

More electrics, more wood

So, having posted about trying to hodge it with the wrong tools yesterday; today I decided to suck it up and buy a new 90° drill. Not a good quality one, obviously*. I grabbed a Ryobi One tool. Largely because I picked up the Ryobi One impact driver for putting in the bolts that attach the Simpson anchors** to the walls.

I’m glad I got it, although it’s clearly cheap and not going to last a terribly long time. But it does mean, I think for the first time ever, we have a power tool with a battery pack where you can buy the tools and the pack off the shelf. Our Makita drill has an ancient version of the 18v pack (not compatible with the newer ones – it’s several generations behind). The Ridgid stuff is similarly archaic – no packs off the shelf, no new compatible tools.

It’s weird to be able to go into a store and just buy stuff that works with it. Kind of nice, too. I actually picked up a strimmer today (because the grass was getting beyond out of hand – and needed to be cut back from the house (it’s done now)). It came with another battery and charger – so we now have 3 batteries, two chargers and 3 tools that take the same battery. Yay!

Anyhow, the 90° drill is only a baby one and also makes the hot smell and stalls a fair bit trying to cut through the studs. But it is way easier. And less prone to trying to break my wrist, or smack me in the face. Hopefully it’ll survive through the entire wiring experience.

So, with that in hand I ran the rough in for the kitchen. I’m still using up the last of the salvaged wiring, but it’s getting to the point where I’ll need to switch to the new and painfully expensive stuff. I’m still stunned by how expensive materials here. Anyhow. Basically, the far end of the house (longer runs) will be all new cable. Apart from the odd short segment running between outlets. Oh, and I realised that I was a fool, and about to make a dumb mistake. I’d thought about putting each of the two kitchen lights on the two (required) circuits for the kitchen. Of course, that doesn’t work if you want them to be switched on the same switch, which we do. Thankfully I twigged that before I’d run any wire. It was one of those “oh, I could do this” moments, when I should stick with the plan. Stick with the plan Kate, there’s a reason you made it.

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I also spent a chunk of time today digging through our wood pile to find short bits to make into the diagonal reinforcing bits to go in our 13ft (4m) walls, and then cutting them to length.

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They will actually sit about half way up the wall – adding some much needed strength to the flexy 13′ lengths of 2×4 – but to avoid them getting confused for anything else I’ve tucked them in the wall and will hopefully get them nailed in on Saturday.

I’ve also cut some of the bits for attaching the ceiling drywall (plasterboard). I’m also optimistically trying to look at plasterboard lifts.

And this weekend we’re thinking about putting windows in. Again, the plan was to do that earlier in the week, but instead it rained and I threw myself off a step. But this weekend looks to be dry and so do the Monday and Tuesday following. So that’ll keep us busy…

* The number of times I’ve broken my rules about buying good quality tools is growing. I’ve still more-or-less stuck to buying good quality drill bits / blades, because they can make a shitty tool into an adequate one.
** These are U shaped bits of metal that hold the house to the foundation – designed for earthquake resistance.

‘the fuck?

I am beginning to consider the possibility that Washington is not, in fact, made of the normal stuff that land is made of. Instead it appears to be a well disguised pile of ants and pine needles.

#ants in our new house #ants in our apartment #pine needles everywhere #what the fuck

Other spaces

I’ve always been other. When I was a kid I was pretty much the only Asian kid in my class (I can’t find a school photo to check, but I’m pretty sure). And at any rate, I was much in the minority. Being in the minority pretty much always means being othered in some way, whether or not it’s intentional. I didn’t really understand at the time. I always thought of myself (as a small kid) as English. Then as I grew up I claimed other things.

My Welsh and Sri-Lankan heritage. My European upbringing. My queer identity.

All of it makes you part of a group (although the Sri-Lankan/Welsh combo is definitely not a huge group, at least, as far as I know). Finding our place in those groups is amazing. Having been other for so long, when I first started meeting LGBTQIA+ people, it was breathtaking.

Here were my people.

Well, some of them. But I do – and have always remained apart. There’s always an other. I don’t know that it bothers me as such – but as I’ve grown older and more aware, I’ve become more aware of it. It is something that at some points makes me proud and vocal, and at some points is frustrating and isolating.

Anyhow, when I first considered living abroad, emmigrating to another place, I took myself away from friends and family. Possibly the best decision I’ve ever made in my life – I most likely met Kathryn because of that decision.

But it wasn’t until Kathryn and I started to really talk about moving to the US that she raised the spectre of not being of a place. Although I’d lived all over the UK (well, all over the South and the Midlands) I’d always been from the UK. When people asked that ever irritating question “Where are you really from”? By which I don’t mean the honest, genuine, where are you from. I mean the racist undertones, you’re brown and clearly not from here, and you can’t possibly be from the West, foreigner version; the one that follows the first “Where are you from?”…

It was always (and irritatingly, I’m sure) answered with Watford, then Wales.

And it was a definitive – I’m from this place. I’m from this land. And I feel at home here. Why don’t you fuck-right-off.

But now, now I don’t know where I’m from.

I mean, I know. I know logically and technically.

I know what the facts of that are.

I was born in a Britain that, for me, always felt part of Europe.

I listen to music sung in French, or German, or Welsh (or in Cornish) or Scottish, (or even in English ;) ) and I feel at home. I even listen to music in Norwegian and it reminds me of home.

I listen to Sri Lankan music my mum played as a kid, and I have a deep connection there, and so Indian Classical and Bollywood music, while it’s not quite ‘mine’ it’s close. It is a kindred spirit.

I know that when I’m in Europe I feel something – some connection to place. But I’m also not of that place anymore.

And I’m not of this place either.

I made that decision to cut my roots. To sever them. To rip my feet out from the soil in which I’d grown, and transplant myself thousands of miles.

When we plant a pot-bound plant, my mum taught me to gently release some of the roots so that the plants send the new little root tendrils out into the surrounding soil. Without it, the roots will continue to grow inside that root ball, they’ll eventually push out all the soil from that space, and it’ll become one lump of root that can’t get nutrients from anywhere.

Do too much, though, and you’ll damage the roots and maybe make the plant unhappy. Maybe even kill the poor thing. There’s a sweet spot. A point where the roots can make their way into new soil, but the soil that came in the pot will hold it over until then.

I’m not sure if I hit that sweet spot with me. And I’m not sure I’m compatible with the soil here. But I’m fairly convinced whatever happens I’m not really compatible with the soil back ‘home’. I’ve changed – and been changed – by my time here. And while I find the debate here about guns, the environment, race, social support incredibly toxic. I find much of the same at ‘home’. Which means…

… well, I’m not sure what it means.

It means when we were in Paris, and for a fleeting few days it felt like somewhere I could grow, it made me want to be there. And while I adore(d) the Lake District, it only feels like somewhere I could hide. And while I’m pretty crap and doing stuff about the state of the world, I find myself inexorably drawn to follow it.

And realistically, France has a strong nationalist bent. I know that the right wing parties are rising in prominence and power throughout Europe just like the right wing are here. So perhaps it would prove as toxic as it is everywhere in the West at the present. And it doesn’t really matter, it’s not like we’re in any position to emigrate anywhere else at this point, or in the near future.

But it leaves me in a constant state of considering places we could be, to see if that would be a place that I might call home.

Well, bother

Productiveness (A+ adulting) today:

Washed the enormous quantities of pollen from both our (running) cars.

Finally fixed the driver’s side floor mat down in the Rav (replacing the missing floor mat retaining clip hole reinforcer and the actual missing clip).

Paid bills.

Sorted post that arrived while we were on holiday.

Started to make an exciting list of activities for me to do tomorrow (transfer money, pay *more bills*, book Rav in for brake pad change).

In less productive news – I tried to set up my keyboard (the nice shiny tenkeyless one) – and realized the keycap set I got is missing the 1.75 or 1.5ish size keys I need for the layout I was intending. Not sure how I missed this (I think I largely missed it because it’s $50 for the missing fricking keys). Of course, I got the T0mbr3y SA Carbon keycap set which means I now need to either wait for it to hit production again or get a non-matching key for the missing shift key (and non-matching keys for the ALT/CTRL keys, too).

Oh, and there’s one other one – I think page-up where the key angle is wrong, so that also needs a different key.

Which is irritating.

I mean, it’s lovely – it feels super nice, but now I need to work out what I should do in the mean time. Not that I have a computer to use it with.

Though I’ve just looked at another keycap set and I’m wondering if I can tweak mine to work. Hrm. Ponderence.

Anyhow, now I need to go do some filing. Then reading and washing up. Yes.

Home again, home again, tra la la.

We had a nice holiday in Europe.

End.

More? That’s a bit challenging. First up there’s the mechanical aspects of the holiday. We flew over to London (on Norwegian Air, would recommend), f’cked up and got a tube, then had to change tubes at least once to get to St Pancras (turns out there’s a Thameslink service direct from Gatwick, doh!), then got to the Eurostar terminal. We troddled across to Paris.

And we then, a few days later got back on the Eurostar (bonus upgrade because we were cancelled and rebooked – business class!), got back to London, Tube’d it to our hire car place and drove to the Lake District. Then we drove down to Bristol. Then to Cornwall. Then back to London and flew home.

Then there’s the pretty.

I’m not going to make you sit through 200 photos. But here’s a link to them.

It was wonderful to get back to Europe, see some of our friends, spend some time with my mum and her partner. Sadly, thanks to the SNCF strike we missed seeing my sister, which is a real shame. We’ll have not seen her / fam for about 2 years by the time we get back over there. Maybe.

There are some things though that stick with me – and which made me very thoughtful while we were over there. The first of which is how profoundly I miss Europe. I can’t really explain why. Some of it is the built environment, certainly. I understand that there is history here going back as far as there is in Europe. And there are, I am aware, marks on the environment left by the civilisations that historically lived in these places, before Europeans popped over for a bit of fun genocide.

I understand that, but the transformative nature of the culture in the various places I’ve been in Europe and the casual nature of ‘oh, this is 400 years old and in the street’. I miss that.

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And I miss the built environment. Which is part and parcel of the same thing, I suppose. I miss the way that you’re enveloped by buildings, they wrap you and cocoon you in a way that nothing I’ve seen (on the west coast at least, nor from my memory of Toronto, which is my only East Coast North American city) does. The narrow streets were built for people, not for cars. And while the traffic was tedious in the moments we were driving, the cities are walkable in a way that I’d forgotten about. In Paris we travelled on the Metro and à pied, and I never missed our car.

I did miss a lift (it was a sixth floor walk-up). But Paris is a city I’d actually like to live in. Curiously, London did not impart that feeling (it never has, I’ve thought it would be technically interesting to live there, but never had a huge desire to do so). I’d never really thought of Paris as a place to live before, but during this visit it felt like a place I/we could be. Which is novel. Perhaps it’s a childhood thing – but then I spent a lot more time in London as a kid. Paris is different in a way I can’t quite put my finger on.

And the Lake District. Were it not for the many factors that practically prevent it, and for the casual ongoing destruction of the NHS and the appalling treatment of migrants, and Brexit (and, and, and), the Lake District would be home. Just being there is a balm for my psyche in a way I really can’t explain. I guess it’s related to spending so many holidays in the Lakes, and the fact that while much of school was miserable and painful, holidays on the mountains were places of total escape. When I was finally contemplating coming out to friends – I went with a friend to the Lake District for a (astonishingly wet*) weekend. We spent the weekend walking, and while I didn’t come out to her there and then, it was the thing that got the ball rolling.

I also miss universal healthcare. We watched some of Hospital, a BBC series that’s following staff in an NHS hospital (Queen’s Medical Centre). While it was painful to watch – in that I remember that kind of stress, that kind of near despair, the highs of saving a life tempered by the incredible challenges of working in a system that’s being strangled by a government that wants it to fail – it also reminded me that you don’t get a bill at the end. That this ridiculous f’kin ‘system’ in the US is cruel and heartless. That the people of the US have chosen to implement non-universal healthcare in a way that’s damaging to the individual, and which has a lack of empathy for those in pain and who are sick continues to astonish me. Because most of the people here seem warm and generous.

But I can’t imagine… just simply cannot imagine having a sick family member here. The thought of having to worry not only about the life of a loved one, but also about whether you’ll be bankrupt and/or homeless at the end of it? It’s profoundly ethically wrong.

That I’m a part of that makes me deeply uncomfortable.

But that’s where we are right now.

And then there’s food.

I am not sure whether it’s the extra exercise, or the lack of preservatives, or the amount of processing, (or less stress, or a combination of all three (probably)) but I can eat food way more comfortably in Europe. More so in France than in England. Which would tie in with my previous experience that food lasted less long on the continent than it did in the UK – probably due to the use of different / fewer preservatives**.

But I could merrily drink milk-based coffee drinks (oh, lord, I miss the flat white. I tried getting one made here and it was hideous, and I’ve never had the nerve to try again. Apparently you can actually get them at Starbucks here, but I’m not a huge fan of Starbucks anyhow). Over here, I quite often get a bit uncomfortable after a couple of coffees. Not enough to stop me drinking them, but enough that I’m a bit wary.

But particularly wheat – which here sometimes bothers me and makes me bloated – not so in Europe. We ate super rich food in Paris and both of us seemed not to have the digestive issues we’ve both had in the US.

Some of that is undoubtably the reduced stress (having arrived back I woke up at 5 (jet-lag) which was then followed by a tedious hour of my brain hashing things out about our house). But some of it is, I suspect, down to the food.

Which leads me to an uncertainty about the future. It’s not like we can do anything about it right now. We have a house that’s in bits, land that we need to sell, and we want to adopt. But it puts many things to think about in my little brain.

All in all, though, it was a nice holiday.

* We slept in the car having cooked dinner in the tent – mainly because the tent was at risk of blowing away.

** I still am utterly freaked out by how long food lasts here. Stuff that I think should be rotting and thrown away is fine. It’s very, very disturbing.

We wait

Today I spent some time atop a ladder (steadied by my beloved) waving an enormous long pole with a hosepipe hooked on the end of it. Eventually I managed to land the hosepipe in one of our plumbing vents.

So then I called today to try and schedule a plumbing appointment. Unfortunately our inspector was away from his desk.

….

Hopefully things won’t go disastrously wrong tomorrow and hopefully he’ll be able to fit us in.

We also tweaked our design – we now have a built-in seat for shoe on-and-off-ment*. And we have a cupboard in which to hang coats. It’s hideously unsquare largely because it’s attached to our porch framing, which the original builders put up while blindfolded and drunk**. But we *think* we can cover it with shims in the framing of the final trim pieces.

We’ve also decided how we’ll frame up the other cupboard.

And tomorrow I’m back to drilling holes.

* We are both overly excited about this.
** I presume.

Break out the hot melt glue gun.

Well, okay, it’s (poxy) epoxy resin. But I’ve started putting the bolts in.

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It’s a slow process – cutting them down to size and drilling the hole, then cleaning the hole, then pumping in the epoxy before leaving it to set for three days. I’ve not yet had the nerve to tighten up any of these bolts, but I really should. There’s a bit of depth variation because I’m not very cautious about cutting the rods down to size. As long as they’re at least 10″ long I’m happy*.

We’ve also cleaned the North side of the house and started on wrapping the south end.

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The weather was against us yesterday, though… so we couldn’t do the tyvek that goes above the black, which is a shame. We were hoping to get the house wrapped before our holiday, but that’s not looking that likely. The black lower strip we put on on Sunday; yesterday’s work was all inside instead.

So yesterday I finally turned on the water and astonishingly, there were no leaks. To be fair, the first time I turned on the water (just to our front garden tap) there was a leak, but that was because I had to reuse the nipple* from our old plumbing as the one I’d bought was too long (and we needed water). Having replaced that with a new one, there was no leak.

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Of course, we’ll see how it looks when we get there today.

I also filled the under-floor section of the waste water side with water (per the city testing requirements)… it also didn’t leak. But I’m waiting to see if the joint fails. If the weather looks acceptable I’ll run up on the roof today and put a hose in the vent and we can then fill it for inspection.

Which has to happen before we go on holiday, because otherwise our permit will expire, which would suck.

…and we’ve started putting up ceiling joists in the small sections that have ceiling joists…

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And lurking in the background are electrical boxes.

We’ve also booked in treatment for the beetles that are eating the posts, and for the mould that’s ruining the trusses…

It’s not quick, but it’s starting to creep towards being housey.

* For limited meanings of ‘happy’.
** Double ended threaded tube, used here to connect between the tap and the pipework.

Well that turned to crap really quickly.

So, yesterday we managed to get some good news. Despite a wasted morning as I toured stores asking for things that didn’t exist – spending more of the morning hunting for things to attach the house to the foundation – discussing things with our engineer – realising that we’d missed something important on the diagram – rediscussing things with our engineer… before giving up at lunch time and meeting with Kathryn for the afternoon’s two person works…

…which went pretty well.

We’d finished framing up the back wall on Monday

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And I’d then finished off the last bit of flooring yesterday morning before heading out on my (failed) quest. The other thing that had happened yesterday morning is that the inspector popped around (at our request) and okay’d us to wrap the back and the sides of the house. He asked for us to do some rectification work on the work that was done when the house was constructed where they’d not bothered with some of the nails (surprise surprise), but once that was done we were clear to go.

And so on went our combination of UV-protected open-joint cladding specific black wrap and tyvek. Thus making the house look wayyyy more respectable. From the back at least.

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And so today I was feeling pretty good.

And then I set to on the bolt issue again. Having got a final answer from our engineer we I headed to the store – who didn’t have some of the stuff but who pointed me to a store that would. 15 minutes later I discovered, again, that our engineer had spec’d something which apparently doesn’t exist – but if I overengineered it (switching from the 1/2 to 5/8ths inch) then I could get a 10 inch long expansion bolt.

Okay.

So I get the bolts. I have the threaded bar. I have the Simpson HDU2s. I have the tools to drill the holes. I have the epoxy to fix the threaded bar into the holes for the Simpson HDU2 holddowns. I have the impact socket set to allow me to quickly tighten them up.

All is ready.

So off I went and installed three of the epoxy anchor bolts. To do that, I also have to install an extra stud because – and this will astonish you – they didn’t bother with double studs at joints. I know! You didn’t expect our house’s builders to have cut corners like that, but they did. *sigh*.

So, each bolt requires me to cut, glue, screw then nail in an extra stud. Then to drill the hole, clean the hole, fill the hole with epoxy, then place the bolt in the hole, then wait 3 days for the stuff to set before I can actually attach the damn anchor.

Anyhow, after 3 of them my hand was pretty tired from the pump action on the tube, so I figured I’d try doing some wedge anchors. And lo, things went to shit very rapidly. The first one didn’t seem to want to tighten, no matter how far I hammered it in. I thought that perhaps I’d made the hole too deep (despite measuring it).

So I did another one. And that also wouldn’t tighten and disappeared further and further into the hole.

It was at this point I went outside and looked at our foundation and discovered

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It turns out our foundation is made of crap mixed with shite, producing a substance with roughly the same integrity as the 45th President of the US.

Now, I can’t say what concrete should be like here. Perhaps it’s meant to be like powdered sand stacked artfully in a heap that if you nudge it too hard falls over. But I suspect not.

My first thought, because I’m hypercritical of myself, was that I’d drilled too near the edge. So I tried once more, attempting to direct the drill more inboard and having ensured that (contrary to the planning statements) it was as near to the front edge of the mud sill as the 3″ plate washer would allow. This, it turned out, had absolutely no fucking effect whatsoever.

Suspecting that the answer to this is “you’ll have to use epoxy everywhere” I called back our engineer for the billionth time. That was the answer, at least – that was his better answer than “well, you could replace the foundation”. Uh hu. Or we could hope that a particularly large ant walks into the foundation and the house collapses when there’s no one in it, and we escape from this fucking albatross of a money pit.

At this point I was so pissed off with the whole house, and the futility of it all, and the process in general, that I was largely hoping that the wood delivery truck might accidentally back into it and cause the whole fucking thing to collapse, so I decided to call it a night.

It’s not that it’s unfixable. We can – and will – do it. It will be expensive, and way more time consuming than it should be, like everything we’ve touched on this house.

It’s not that that bugs me the most. It’s that it feels completely pointless. Why am I strapping it to the foundation? I suspect the only reason it survived the Nisqually earthquake in 2001 was that it flopped around on it’s shitty foundation like a dying fish on the shores of a river. Tying it down will, I suspect, just mean that in the next quake the shitty foundations it’s on will crack and crumble like the substandard-low-grade crap they are. We’ve managed to make the rest of the structure more solid, but there’s very little we can do for the foundations – which to be honest were half the fucking reason we bought the place.

I also, it must be said, am starting to resent having to pour 1000s of dollars into bringing the place up to code, knowing how many shitearse ‘renovations’ we looked at when buying our house, that I’m damn certain were not up to code in any vague respect.

So I’ll try and dig up some positivity tomorrow. I’ll try and find some enthusiasm to care. But I don’t hold out a lot of hope. Instead, like much of this process, I’ll just plough on in the vain hope that at some point, it’ll feel like a house not a disaster.

So, today was a day

Today was one of those days that was a battle – and I feel a bit like I lost. We have been working on several jobs – there’s the framing at the back where we’ve replaced the sheathing and framed in the new windows. Kathryn finished the nailing on that today, so that at least is good.

There’s the everlasting pain that is the plumbing. I’m now down to one join – which is probably going to be made from two 22.5s stuck together – because it’s not 45 and it’s not 22.5 degrees, and there’s a subtle misalignment between the parts I precut a while ago, and where the vent exits the roof. I have at least managed to get the rest of it all connected together so when the plumbing test stuff finally arrives I’ll actually be able to test it.

I’m suspecting there’ll be at least one leak from one of the crappy joints. Still, we’ll see how it goes.

Anyhow, that was a complete arse today because I thought it was a 45 degree turn. It *should* be, but something I’ve done somewhere means it’s not. And I dry fitted stuff and it went together in that way that things sometimes do when you dry-fit where it clearly wasn’t going to work. But having tried my spare 22.5 turn in there that dry-fitted well enough that I thought it might work. With a bit of brute force and holding.

But I’m using different glue (because they only had multipurpose glue, not the plain ABS glue, and I figured that might be handy as I come to actually installing finish plumbing which may be PVC). It turns out this stuff takes *way* longer to dry, so as I tried to brute-force the joints, the other joints came apart. It ended up being a bit of a tedious disaster, more frustrating because it’s so close to finished and also it’s ladder work, so I can’t do it when Kathryn’s not there.

So I’ll attack it tomorrow, and hopefully get it to work.

Now, to be fair, if my morning hadn’t been so shoddily unproductive, then I would probably have had the patience and common sense to know that it wasn’t fitting well enough to work. But the morning went like this…

Our reading of the plan is that we need 40 5/8″ x 12″ anchor bolts made from galvanised steel.

Call places.

No one has them.

Call company A (poor sodding company A) who say they can get them tomorrow.

[Nip out to get plywood]

Place order with company A.

Visit Home Depot to look at what they have (and because I know I’ll need a 5/8″ SDS drill bit, because I don’t have one and an impact driver). They don’t have them either. Buy tools in readiness for installation anyhow as they are on sale and only have 2 of the impact driver, but hold off buying bit for impact driver as I’m not yet sure what size I need.

Call back company A because have moment of realisation that the price didn’t feel right. Discover that there has been miscommunication, they are ordering bolts to go in before concrete is poured. As we don’t have a time machine, cancel order.

Long discussion with company A where we discover that they can neither get, nor believe exist, 5/8″ anchor bolts made from galvanised steel.

Call engineer. Discuss plans. Identify that what we can get – which is adequate – is 36″ lengths of zinc coated threaded bar, which we can then cut to length, then epoxy in place, then screw down.

Drive back out to Company A (poor, poor sodding company A). Company A order pick for us, 20 threaded bars, 40 washers, 40 plate washers and 40 nuts in 5/8″… and 5 tubes of painfully expensive epoxy.

Drive to Home Depot, return the drillbit which is the wrong size for the 5/8″ bolts when epoxied in (you need a 1/8″ larger hole, apparently).

Literally as I’m leaving home depot get a phonecall from the engineer who points out a paragraph on the plan which indicates an alternative bolt pattern – at the end of the section after the main shearwall hold down section…after the nailing pattern… after all of that.

He explains that this is actually adequate for attaching our house as our house has got existing foundations. This requires approx 40 1/2″ x 10″ long expansion bolts.

I resist the urge to scream.

So tomorrow I get to return the stuff I bought from (poor, poor) Company A, and return the new drillbit, and replace it with the previous-fkin drillbit, and hopefully, gods hopefully, actually fix the house to it’s damn foundations once and for f’kin all.

I’m very grateful that he called, because it’s going to save probably at least $100 – and lots and lots of time, and also save me having to deal with the hideous epoxy. But…augh!