In theory…

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I should be using these few hours between shopping for food and cleaning the house, and Kathryn getting home from work for working on our house. I should be. I should be because I ran through shopping this morning having scrubbed the bathroom, washed up, dusted.

I flew downtown, having stopped off to drop off the recycling (and failed to get my laptop battery recycled, because Target has device recycling, not battery recycling, which I always get wrong). I ran through the shops we use, and the local farmer’s market.

I barely paused to say hello when my friends were playing (Pinniped) and didn’t stay to hear them play – which makes me feel worse about the fact that when I got home and ate lunch, I crashed. I am so, so tired. We’re pushing (and pushing) and have been pushing to try and get to the first formal inspection. That covers framing, electrical and plumbing rough in.

We’re so close I can almost taste it.

But it has meant that we’ve been working far more than is reasonable, especially given the temperature. With the outside temperature often being at around 30c / 86F or more, the inside has been up to around 40C / 104F. Indeed I recall seeing 42C on our thermometer. And that’s at ground level. Up in the attic, which is where the vast majority of our work has been it’s way hotter. Yesterday, while I was outside, I was outside at a temp of more than 30 degrees C and working on the house from 8am to 6pm.

And while it does mean there is progress – lots of it. It also means that perhaps I should listen to my body when it informs me that it is time to rest. Now.

We have a hole full of gravel for a shed base courtesy of me driving an excavator for the first time ever*. We also have a hole for the IBC tote to capture rain water, and the buried barrel – which it turns out was just really the lid and a few remenant bits of rusting side – has been dug out. Also the metal pole that was the washing line has been removed (it’s not where we want a washing line). We’ve also done some pre-emptive digging for what will be our raingarden.

Hole for a shed base, and no, I've not put the wood around it yet

We’ve built two of the three bits of wall that are the final bits of framing we require for inspection. These are the (bloody) triangular bits of wall that go above the attic. We’re now realizing why cheap houses don’t have cathedral ceilings. It’s because, beyond the additional expense and engineering involved in getting trusses, and the extra insulation required, it’s also a pain in the arse to frame. I’m also getting why the few cheaper houses I’ve seen with cathedral ceilings have had weird unused spaces – because it’s much easier to only put up one difficult triangular wall and leave a useless space than it is to make multiple difficult triangular walls.

Framing of a triangular wall

We’ve not been able to find any real information on framing non-structural triangular fill-in segments. And so they’ve kind of been guesswork. There’s lots of stuff on doing gable ends, but these aren’t gable ends. There’s stuff on structural triangles, but these are non-structural. Their entire purpose is to hold up the drywall at the end of the room. Still, we’ve done the one in the dining area, and we’ve done the one in the second bedroom. We’ve put up the blocking (which goes between the trusses) for the main bedroom – and have the wood. Hopefully we’ll get that up this weekend.

That leaves:

– 3/4 Bathroom vent connection (I’ve now fitted the actual fan)
– Laundry / Whole house fan vent connection
– Install plastic box and run cable for smoke detector in main bedroom (we have done the hall and the second bedroom)
– Add the 14/2 feed for the boiler room lights from the panel
– Install the plastic light box for one of the kitchen lights
– Reconnect the plumbing vent for the laundry

The problem is – we’ve got two competing concerns – there’s inspection which we need to progress, and there’s covering the housewrap and protecting it from UV. Both have time pressure, but are completely unrelated activities. The finish on the house is a hideously complex process – because nothing we do is easy.

We are applying individually cut strips of 1×2″ cedar to the bottom 35″ of the house. We have bought 1×2’s pre-cut, but because we don’t have loads of money kicking around spare, they are rough-cut, so we have to plane them. Each of them, therefore, has to run through the planer. This is a rainscreen of far more complexity than is reasonable for a house of this quality – but we have always liked the open joint look. So have gone the extra mile to make it happen… which is all very well, except that dear god does it take a long time. Not least because I’m trying to get it to look level on a house which is not level, and to be at least ‘close’ to level, and also for those who’ve not realised, cheap wood isn’t straight. Not even slightly.

I spent yesterday morning problem solving exactly how this would work – and starting the process. I made one mistake**, but it is fairly easily fixable, and now I’ve realised that I need a special ‘tool’ of my own design which I’ll make before I start on it again. I’ve also worked out what the staggering lengths need to be (that’s the mistake I made on the first wall, but I can hide it thanks to the gas meter being present, also it’s the North wall which is the least visible side of the house, and once we get a fence up it should be pretty much hidden).

Strips of wood applied to a wall in an excessively complex brickwork pattern

All of which is to say things are progressing. I feel bad that I’ve not made them progress today. But I am knackered. And we’ve got a full weekend of rainscreen and/or framing coming up. So… rest might be useful.

* I also discovered that one of our neighbours is a dick. He came out and swore at me for being too noisy at the terrible time of 9am. No explanation, just called me an asshole and stormed off (we’ve not met this neighbour before, he’s at the back of the house).

** Well, one significant mistake that I’ve not fixed yet.


Kate's allegedly a human (although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise). She's definitely not a vampire, despite what some other people claim. She's also mostly built out of spite and overcoming oppositional-sexism, racism, and other random bullshit. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, she's here to reassure that it's all fine.