Saturday, July 9, 2016

Progress Through Tedium

For those who might have this misconception... Not all of house building inspires brilliant application of one's creativity. Much of it involves slowly grinding through repetitive, boring tasks so that systems are built in a consistent and complete way (and end up functioning well)--even if that work and function is all behind the scenes, not visible in the finished product.

I have been immersed in these kinds of tedious tasks for more than a week now. (The timing is good for this at the moment because the last few days have been gray and cooler.) I have sprayed tons of yellow, low-expanding, insulating foam around windows, the door, and narrow cracks. I have sprayed tons of orange, insulating, fire-blocking, moisture-sealing foam around electrical boxes. I have taped potential leaks in the vapor barrier. Case in point: This next photo shows the breaker box with orange foam sealing the holes where the wires enter or leave the box, and with red circles of tape sealing all the holes in the box.

All of the kinds of spray foam specify in their instructions that you're supposed to fill the spaces and cracks only 50% and allow the foam to expand to fill the crack as it cures. I know this instruction very well, but I just cannot seem to follow it. Partly this is due to the fact that, when I have forced myself to follow this procedure, I invariably end up having to go back and fill in gaps; partly it's due to my penchant for being thorough. It's just so much more satisfying to fill the crack until it's full. Thus, once the foam cures, it is obvious that I have used way too much foam, and I then spend all kinds of time trimming the excess foam.

More baffles installed.

I have also been trying to think through any additional framing support pieces I should install before I finish installing insulation--especially in the walls. For example, now that I know how I want to build the clothes closet--with half of the closet pivoting completely open on a piano hinge--it made sense to install some support for that piano hinge. See the lighter-colored 2 x 3 I just installed in the wall below.

From another angle... The blue tape on the floor outlines where the right half of the closet will sit when it's closed. That new framing support now sits behind where the piano hinge will attach that back corner of the closet to the wall.

One coat of sealer applied to the loft chair...

... and one to the folding, flat chair.

How do I keep myself on task when so much of what I'm doing these days is boring?
  1. I have been binge listening to seasons 1 and 2 of Serial. My son has been recommending these podcasts to me for years, but it has taken me until now to follow through with listening. Very engrossing! Definitely helps with the tedium. I pause the broadcast when I run a power tool or leave the JayBee for something; I turn it back on after.
  2. I find myself pondering during the day some of the things I have been reading at night. Here's a quote that has stuck with me for days: "There are moments in life that are between: between the blow and the pain, between the phone ringing and the answer, between the misstep and the fall. One that comes to everyone is a moment, or three, or five, between sleeping and waking, when the past has not yet been re-created out of memory and the present has made no impression. It is a moment of great mercy; disorienting, like all brushes with grace, but a gift nonetheless." [from All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming] I have thought about some of my moments of disorienting grace--when I've been suspended between sleep and wakefulness. I have also thought about many other kinds of inbetween. Then, when I realize how far down this or other rabbit holes my mind has burrowed, I end up laughing and thinking: "A mind is a beautiful thing to waste."
Bear visiting. "Just what are you doing in here for all this time, anyway?!"

George complaining that we haven't had a good walk in days.

I took the Fourth of July weekend off from house building. Perfect weather!

Here is what remains of a thoroughly devoured fish sitting on the riverbank. Skeleton intact!

Kayaking on the Kennebec with Frida, Paula, and Lily (patiently huddled under a sun-blocking tee shirt).

We saw and heard so many leaping, thwapping fish! No photos of them, though.

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