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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Catch Up & Little Box in the Woods

Wow. It's been b-u-s-y lately. Even though we don't have much in the way of groceries right now, I do have a full pantry, and so the thing I would love most is if both ends of our road (two ways to drive out from here when there's no snow on the ground) would suddenly develop impassable sink-holes . . . for about three weeks. Maybe then I could get a little caught up.

But, I know, I know: ha ha. Ain't gonna happen. Nor, probably, would I get even a small percentage of the "caught up" done that I want to achieve. So, instead, life goes on. Or, as they say, "Honey, life marches on! And, eventually, you realize . . . it's marchin' across your FACE!" (Two points for anyone who can tell me what movie that quote is from.)

The happy family!

Yesterday marked the first "free day" after 6 straight go-go-go days. A week ago today was the first of three days that I (on Friday) and then both of us (Saturday & Sunday) helped my oldest girlfriend and her hubby & son put the walls up on their little cabin in the woods.

C and their baby during Day One with Wall #1 nearly fully assembled.

At the end of Friday, with me taking care of their 13-month old wee one, C & P had two walls framed and up. C's husband is a physicist, one of something like only five people in the entire WORLD that study and know about what he does. I asked him once to try to explain it to me in layman's terms, and he said the best way he could do that would be to SHOW me. So, he laid a thick book on their dining room table and opened it up to a page full of images of sine waves and started talking in his thick Quebec accent. Think I learned anything? Nope, I'm still as baffled as ever. As his wife jokes, she STILL doesn't know what he does! :)

P designed each wall to be built in two portions in case he and C were the only ones there to put them up. That way, the sections would be "light" enough for just the two of them to handle.

But, I do have a point to this: P, although he helped his father & brother build the family cabin an hour out of Montreal when he was a child, really knew nothing about the actual building of a cabin. But, what he DOES know is how to educate oneself and, as a true scientist would, examine pieces of a structure and learn how they work with each other. The result was the best planned & pieced stick-frame construction I have EVER been a part of . . . and that's saying a lot!

Doors? Check. Windows? Check. Pack 'N' Play? Check. Cute baby? Check.

C & P live ~6 hours away, and that, coupled with the fact that their land is off-grid (i.e. no power for saws, etc.), prompted P to do MUCH measuring & cutting of the lumber in advance. Matter of fact, if memory serves, he needed to only make six with-a-hand-saw cuts in the heavy 2x6s on-site that first day.

I remain just SO impressed by his "how things go together" planning and skill. But, that's a physicist for you, right? ;)

On Saturday, with Tom and another friend in tow (who brought her generator - yayy!), P and Tom and C (the friend, not the wife) got the remaining walls up AND the first floor ceiling / second floor floor joists dropped into the joist hangers. It was starting to look like a real house! (They will add the second floor & roof in the spring.)

Meanwhile, C (the wife) and E (their son) and I went off on a very important quest! (Hang on, I need more coffee. And a peanut butter cookie. [Thanks, Mom!])

The quest: before Tom and I had left that morning, I made a last-minute decision to take the time to sit down with the laptop and check my e-mail. And, it was pure serendipity that I did! Across the wires of the local for-sale electronic "bulletin board" was an ad for a four-year old Jøtul (an incredibly efficient and beautiful woodstove brand for which my dad was a dealer when I was growing up). C & P had been discussing, just the day before while we were all working, the two Jøtul models they had been trying to decide between and buy (brand-new, of course)!

Tom and I know the women who owned the stove, and so we KNEW that it would be in terrific shape & well cared for. The price was incredible for a Jøtul only four years old (and these things last F-O-R-E-V-E-R), and - the real coup? - it was located just 10 miles down the road from C & P's property!

Now, I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, the excursion took us a hey of a lot longer than expected, and we arrived back to the building site about mid-afternoon - just as C (the friend) was leaving, having given all the time she could afford but KINDLY leaving her generator, and dear P was getting a bit worried about us! (No cellphone service in these here sticks, ya know!) But, we returned with THEIR NEW STOVE! It was so exciting! (C & I would also like everyone to know that we lifted, carried, and loaded that little 215 lb. monster out of the seller's house and into the vehicle with just our four little hands and no other help, thank you very much! That's what happens when you're raised in the wilds of northeastern Minnesota!)

On Sunday, the beams in the joist hangers got nailed in, the walls were sheeted, and sub-roofing was laid (and caulked & stained - we put C up there with the supplies and then took away her ladder so she couldn't escape!), and the front door was in - complete with lock! They had a fully enclosed and locked "little box in the woods".

Both Tom and I had to work on Monday, but C & P and their son would return bright and early to wrap things up and then get on their way before the returning Labor Day Weekend traffic got bad.

Yeah, well . . . Tom passed them just leaving WHEN HE WAS COMING HOME at 5:30 PM!!! (Their land is just 9 miles from us via the summertime roads. If they lived here year-round, they would be our nearest neighbors!) Even with their crawling-EVERYWHERE son in tow (and no me to help chase him), C & P got the entire first story Tyveked and every single crack big enough to let a bug in caulked. Then, they moved ALL the remaining lumber and all the windows . . . and all the rest of the building supplies . . . into the cabin. Even though they hope to return in a couple of weeks to put the windows in, they left it snug-as-a-bug and ready to sit the winter out, if needed. Wow!

P.S. Did I mention that they've snugged their cabin into the very center of their 20 acres with no vehicle access (for privacy) . . . which means that every single board, each 4x8 sheet of 1/2" Plywood, every box of nails, every 215# cast-iron Jøtul woodstove, every generator, every container of drinking water . . . needs to be carried or wheelbarrowed in (and, in many cases, out again)? Just thought I'd clarify that lest you think we were working out of the luxury of the back of a pickup loaded with all the supplies & driven right up to the site! ;) I wonder if they've ever timed the walk? I'd say it takes about 2 minutes to walk the trail (not carrying anything).

As I said, Tom and I were both back to work on Monday (no free Labor Day off for either of us). I worked full 9-hour nannying days Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week . . . and when you tack an hour + of driving at either end plus a few errands, that usually amounts to over 12 hours away from home.

So, it's been busy! Yesterday, I was simply trying to get a handle on everything around the house that has been neglected for nearly a week. Today I will try to do more of the same plus get back into my routine . . . but then, of course, tonight signals the start of the weekend and Tom being home for two days . . . and so much for "routine". BUT, there's always this coming Monday! :)

(For those of you who are reading this with no or few pictures, come back in a couple of hours. I'm writing from the laptop, but once I get the computer in my office booted up today, I'll add all the photos to the above stories.)

1 comment:

  1. Great up-date, great pictures.

    And, yes, there is something to be said for being raised without all the amenities that has given you and C an iron core that enables you to do what needs to be done! I mean, how many other little girls were forced to get in cookstove wood every night starting when they were 2 years old? (Hahaha!)


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