Halfmoon's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Riggerjack
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby Riggerjack » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:32 pm

Good. I was getting tired of entertaining myself. Bring on grownup storytime!

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby halfmoon » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:27 am

Adult storytime follows (no, not that kind of adult). Blame it on Riggerjack.

THE HOMESTEAD/ACCUMULATION YEARS

BUILDING THE HOUSE:

**Standard disclaimer regarding scans of crappy old film photos, which seem even blurrier than usual. Sigh.

Having laid the foundation (such as it was), we were ready to build. We took 3 summer weeks of vacation from work and headed off to our mountain property. We’d arranged to have helpers:

1.An acquaintance who lived off and on in a cabin on one of the private inholdings (owned by someone else). He had the most construction experience.
2.A neighbor at our western Washington property.
3.A 70-year-old relative of DH (Maria) who was visiting us from Munich. She had grown up in a Munich orphanage and spent her life in the city. She told us later that this was the best time of her life. :)

We love wildlife as long as it stays outside. Mice, packrats, squirrels and bugs are not welcome in our home as visitors or long-term residents. Therefore, the first step was to seal the open underside of our log foundation with sheet metal:

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Next, we laid the floor joists and insulated them. Insulating was my self-appointed job. I was “encouraged” to wear a hard hat because I have an uncanny ability to hit my head on anything in the near universe.*

*I think this is genetic, because my sister sustained a concussion by hitting her head on a kitchen drawer at waist height. Sadly enough, I completely understand how it could happen.

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Then came the two layers of OSB flooring, fastened with approximately a bazillion screws. From there, it was the basic geometry of building walls (complete with door and window framing) and raising them. There’s something so satisfying about this: you lay it out on the floor, nail (or screw) it together, then *SHAZAM!* you push it up, tie it in, and you have the outline of a structure. Maybe it’s the combination of female nesting with male conquest (@7wb5 analysis needed here), but I absolutely love the moment when it looks like an actual building.

I know that DH experiences the same thrill. This is why we always default to building new things instead of finishing old ones. :roll:

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When we designed the house and bought the materials, we only planned to have one story with 896 square feet of floor space. When we started building, DH suggested adding a 4-foot knee wall on top to gain an upstairs. I argued that we were trying to simplify our life, live in a smaller space, have a roof lower to the ground for easier maintenance in our old age, blah, blah. DH won that one, and it was actually a good idea. The upstairs became my office, a workbench for DH’s indoor projects and a guest bedroom.

The roof was sheathed with another two layers of OSB topped with metal (nothing but metal roofing for us, ever). The walls had an exterior layer of OSB covered by T1-11 siding. Insulation and interior sheathing came later, except for the interior bearing wall.

The great part (sarcasm alert) was a series of RAINSTORMS that required us to get up in the middle of the night and pull huge tarps over the as-yet-unroofed structure. Every evening when we finished work and lounged exhausted among the trees, we’d look at the sky and say hopefully: “It doesn’t look like rain.” We really didn’t want to deal with the tarps.

HA. So much more fun to do it in the dark with flashlights. We finally learned.

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Aside from random construction tasks, my prime directive was to provide food for the crew. This was sad for all because I stink at cooking. I’ve actually improved over time and have graduated to semi-adequate. At that time…not. Just to make it more challenging, I was cooking in an open-walled shed with a wood stove and water in barrels, and one of the crew was an avowed vegetarian while the others wanted MEAT.

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It seemed that my day consisted mostly of cooking a meal, cleaning up from a meal, planning another meal, cooking that meal…you get the point. I would whine more about this, but I think the real victims were those who had to eat the food. It’s not my calling.

Maria made no complaint whatsoever. She spent her days picking up sticks for the wood stove, catering to the dogs’ whims and helping me. In between, she donned a garbage-bag apron and painted every single sheet of T1-11 siding before it was applied. Through it all, she laughed constantly and tried to communicate with me in a combination of Bavarian dialect, maybe 10 words of English and a lot of gestures. She had a remarkable capacity for joy that I wish I could replicate.

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Nice views from the roof.

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We managed to weather in the house shell in those three weeks. Mission accomplished. Lots more to go.

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cmonkey
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby cmonkey » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:46 am

Wow!

Yea that last photo looks pretty accurate. ;) That's what I did when we got our carpet installed.

George the original one
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby George the original one » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:53 pm

Always love it when the dogs are so exhausted... from the effort of guarding the kitchen, LOL!

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Fish
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby Fish » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:43 pm

What I absolutely love about this journal: 1) The incredible amount of progress between updates. 2) Having the stories presented with the wisdom of experience.

One's 20s and 30s are exciting times, but perspective makes the adventures even more interesting to read. There's a lot of perspective on this forum, it's why I'm here. Thanks for sharing your story halfmoon!

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Riggerjack
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby Riggerjack » Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:23 pm

3.A 70-year-old relative of DH (Maria) who was visiting us from Munich. She had grown up in a Munich orphanage and spent her life in the city. She told us later that this was the best time of her life. :)

Maria made no complaint whatsoever. She spent her days picking up sticks for the wood stove, catering to the dogs’ whims and helping me. In between, she donned a garbage-bag apron and painted every single sheet of T1-11 siding before it was applied. Through it all, she laughed constantly and tried to communicate with me in a combination of Bavarian dialect, maybe 10 words of English and a lot of gestures. She had a remarkable capacity for joy that I wish I could replicate.


She was 70 in the 80's. So she experienced WWI from the German side. The Weimar hyperinflation, great depression starting early and capped by Nazis, occupied post WWII Germany. She may not have been exaggerating, that could very well have been the best time of her life.

On the other hand, as we were posting above, blood sweat and pain make for good memories, and excellent reference points to compare a current difficulty to. Those who have been thru truly tough times can laugh at today's petty troubles. And our lives are richer for knowing such people.

At least that's what I tell myself when I smash my thumb...

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby halfmoon » Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:50 pm

@cmonkey, I can believe it! We've never installed carpet, but it sounds like massive work. I'll bet the cats were as exhausted as our dogs. :lol:

@GeorgeTOO, that weimaraner took her job of guarding the kitchen very seriously. ;)

@Fish, thank you! It makes me happy (okay; ecstatic) that you find my stories interesting. It's incredibly satisfying to find that people can gain amusement, inspiration or what-not-to-do knowledge from our experiences.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby halfmoon » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:44 pm

Riggerjack wrote:Those who have been thru truly tough times can laugh at today's petty troubles. And our lives are richer for knowing such people.

At least that's what I tell myself when I smash my thumb...


So true. I believe that it was the best time of Maria's life, because hers was difficult on many levels. She visited us three times (this was the last), and she became blind not long after. Most of us have things so easy in this time and place that it's easy to just float along watching YouTube. It's good to keep a little blood, sweat and pain in the mix.

On a lighter note completely unrelated to blood or sweat (possibly some fleeting pain), here's a little story:

The fist time Maria visited us, she told DH how lucky he was to have me (smart woman). She wrote to a friend in Munich and told her we were so in love, we never argued, I was such an angel...

One winter morning, DH and I went out to check the drainage pipe in the pond that fronted our house. [There was little incentive to stay indoors because Maria made a fire in the wood stove every morning, then threw the front door open 'to let the cold out'. :shock: No argument could deter her from this.]

The drainage pipe had a wire cage over it attached to a long stick. When the wire filled with floating debris (sticks and leaves), we lifted the stick and dumped the cage. Low-tech but effective. Feeling enthusiastic, I grabbed the stick and...the cage fell off and sank to the pond floor. DH was Not Happy. He stalked off to find something to fish out the cage.

I was SO PISSED that DH was annoyed with my well-meaning mishap. Stupid superior male! :twisted: I "decided" (perhaps this word suggests too much actual thought process) to JUMP INTO THE POND AND GET THE DAMNED CAGE MYSELF AND SHOW HIM UP.

Wow. That water was cold. Also: I was fully clothed, and now my clothing was saturated with frigid water and weighed about 100 pounds, and it was sort of hard to breathe. I breached the surface, spluttering and howling. DH appeared from nowhere, grabbed my hand and pulled me onto the dam. He was laughing so hard that he couldn't talk. Jerk.

So here I was, dripping wet and furious, yelling at DH at the top of my lungs about what a JERK he was. DH was trying to help me stand up, but he was laughing too hard. I shook him off and happened to look over toward the house. Maria was standing on the porch with her mouth open. So much for the never-arguing angel thing. :lol:

McTrex
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby McTrex » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:20 am

halfmoon wrote:I was SO PISSED that DH was annoyed with my well-meaning mishap. Stupid superior male! :twisted: I "decided" (perhaps this word suggests too much actual thought process) to JUMP INTO THE POND AND GET THE DAMNED CAGE MYSELF AND SHOW HIM UP.

Wow. That water was cold. Also: I was fully clothed, and now my clothing was saturated with frigid water and weighed about 100 pounds, and it was sort of hard to breathe. I breached the surface, spluttering and howling. DH appeared from nowhere, grabbed my hand and pulled me onto the dam. He was laughing so hard that he couldn't talk. Jerk.


Still following along, you're still on the nomination list for best ERE journal :)

This reminded me of one of the first times I went sailing with my wife in a small open keel boat. Because of the wind direction, we had to row a small distance first to get out of the harbor. While rowing, one of the wooden oars slipped away and fell into the water. My wife immediately jumped overboard to fetch it, fearing it might sink :lol:

Luckily, this was 25 degrees C. :)

Farm_or
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby Farm_or » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:55 am

Through it all, she laughed constantly and tried to communicate with me in a combination of Bavarian dialect, maybe 10 words of English and a lot of gestures."

After my parents married, my mother studied and practiced her Spanish in anticipation of meeting my father's family. She wanted so much to make a great impression and went over and over what she would say.

She wanted to assure them that he would be happy and that she would do right by him because she was a person with a good "heart".

When the trip to the Basque country finally came and she finally realized her moment with everyone gathered around the dinner table, she was so nervous! She got out what she wanted to say, only to fumble the Spanish word "heart" and told them that she'd take good care of him because she had a good "ass"!

Everyone was stunned! There was an awkward silence broken by my uncle erupting in laughter. Every body was laughing when my dad leaned over to tell my mother what she'd said.

She was so embarrassed!

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby halfmoon » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:11 am

McTrex wrote:While rowing, one of the wooden oars slipped away and fell into the water. My wife immediately jumped overboard to fetch it, fearing it might sink :lol:


Do whatever it takes to keep that woman. You may fall out of a boat someday.

Also, thank you for the kind words about my journal! Flattery will get you more stories. :D

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby halfmoon » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:25 am

@Farm_or, great story about your mother. The first time that Maria visited, I showed off with some Bavarian words DH liked to use. However: most of them translated into things like "naked frog" or "little guy who runs around with his pants falling off his butt". Maria thought it was hilarious.

I've been wondering about your absence on the forum (not that I'm one to talk). Have you been busy with lambs and calves?

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Riggerjack
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby Riggerjack » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:26 pm

I "decided" (perhaps this word suggests too much actual thought process) to JUMP INTO THE POND AND GET THE DAMNED CAGE MYSELF AND SHOW HIM UP.


There was a ring road planned around Seattle in the 60's, that was scratched in the 70's. One of the side effects of "victory in the DOTs war on roads" was on ramps to nowhere. One of them went over Union Bay. My friends went to go jump off this on a sunny day in '96. They jumped, I drank beer. I hadn't ever jumped off a bridge, and this 35' drop didn't seem like the place to learn.

Along come a couple pretty girls, some sharing of beers, and smiles. Then a younger guy comes up, asks if we plan to jump. No.

This caused some swelling of his chest, "Yeah, that's a good idea, you can really get hurt. There's shopping carts, and old pipes down there. You gotta know where to jump, or you can really get [email protected] up. Of course, I've been jumping here since I was a kid..."

I'm sure he said more, but I was falling too fast to hear him. Or maybe it was that I was screaming like a little girl.

A few pointers when jumping off bridges into water:
Extend your arms and twirl, to keep your feet directly under you. Before you hit, bring your arms back in close to your chest. Lock your knees. Practice on lower jumps first. Do this sober.

I did none of these.

When I hit, I was mildly reclined. My feet hit, slowing down, and the rest of me continued at the same pace, so my knees flexed, and the backs of my thighs were parallel to the surface when they hit. Think belly flop, with thighs. I was still slightly reclined, when my lower body slowed, and upper body didn't. This caused some whiplash effect and massive spinal pain. To this day, my firmest memory of that day was looking up through the bubbles and green water, a wondering if I'd just broken my back, and if so, could I swim to the surface. I spent the rest of the afternoon floating, afraid of what would happen when I had to face full gravity on land.

I got out, and had a few weeks of back pain, but no lasting damage.

I hope this makes you feel better about your "decision" to jump in the pond. My "decision" was about as well thought out, and at least as unpleasant.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby halfmoon » Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:38 pm

Riggerjack wrote:I hope this makes you feel better about your "decision" to jump in the pond. My "decision" was about as well thought out, and at least as unpleasant.


Riggerjack, you can't imagine how much better I feel! In fact, my decision starts to look positively brilliant in comparison. I'm rolling on the floor kicking my feel and howling at this story. :lol: :lol:

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Riggerjack
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby Riggerjack » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:33 pm

When I was young, picking up every lesson in school was easy. This made people think I was smart. It made me think I was smart.
As I get older, and look back, it seems hard to find evidence to support that hypothesis...

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Postby halfmoon » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:17 pm

@Riggerjack, never confuse intellectual prowess with hormonal influence. It's like bringing a knife to a gun fight. ;)


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