I'm gonna start back.....I've been struggling a bit....with LIFE. I've started SO many posts, but I always seem to head down a bunny trail and loose my train of thought. Lots of things have happened since I last posted...maybe I'll go back and catch up on some of them in my spare time....HA HA HA!! But anyway, I'm gonna try to get back on the blog thing semi-regular...it's kind of my insanity diffuser!
Well, the REAL work (at least for me) began this past week. Other than clearing/cutting with the tractor and just generally tidying up (which is a HUGE job) and the previously mentioned cleaning of the logs, I've managed to contribute little to the actual building of this house. I just don't do houses or carpentry.
Which is actually kind of funny as many years of my childhood were spent nailing scrap lumber together in some form or fashion to quite a few of the trees in our neighborhood. We had "tree-houses" or "huts" EVERYWHERE. Most of them consisted of a few 2x4's nailed between two limbs, but to me they were like mini-mansions.
So this week, we got a break in the weather with temperatures dropping a bit and a forecast of mostly sunny skies. So we commenced to staining this ENTIRELY-TOO-FREAKIN-LARGE-ALL-WOODEN-STRUCTURE. After about two hours, I was chanting "BRICK-BRICK-BRICK" in a kind of weird cadence to my painting strokes. By the end of the second day, my right arm was visibly larger than my left.
Painting with stain onto raw lumber is a bit of a challenge. First it's thin, runny, and greasy. Second, You have to start from the bottom and work your way up, at least for the first coat in order to keep the stain more even. Third, if you are in the vertically-challenged category, you have to start painting "up" pretty darn quick, which means the stain is pretty much running down your brush, then down your hand, then down your arm, then into your armpit. So now my armpits have been stained brown, treated for borer bees and other pestilence, and sealed.
Thankfully, we have had lots of help. My Dad, who is almost seventy-five, painted all day just for a piece of fried catfish from Top Hat. He loves him some fried fish. "WILL WORK FOR FRIED CATFISH"
This is pretty much how it looked after two days of work.
Then we pulled rank on the kids and managed to get one third of them for a full day of help. We promised them a slightly larger portion of their "inheritance" as compared to their other siblings who managed to find other "things" to do, like attending college out of state, helping out in a local beauty pageant, etc. Actually, if we were very smart we would have used their "inheritance" to have this FREAKIN HUGE WOODEN HOUSE stained by professionals instead of doing it ourselves! Thank you SO much Blake and Mason. You WILL definitely get that extra five dollars added to your "inheritance".
To get the higher parts done, we had to rent this handy-dandy piece of equipment. I maintained my argument that I was much more efficient working at "sea-level" and totally avoided the bucket truck. It did add a small element of fun for the boys with a "real-live-grown-up-size Tonka truck", but I think it would be a stretch to say that playing with the lift made the work "fun". Clara did however position herself in the bucket with whomever was in it, but without the benefit of paint and a paint brush....that was just too risky-putting a ten year old twenty to thirty feet above your head holding a bucket of stain that she could have dropped.
However, as the day was winding down, I finally relented and got in to give it a shot-after checking out the weight limit. I was too scared to try to operate it, so stupidly I allowed Blake to control it from below. So he proceeded to "park" me at one of the higher peaks with the base of the machine on one of the steeper slopes. Then I was told I could not come down until all the staining was done. All the while, the machine alarm is sounding as the base was not well-balanced. However, I did outsmart him in the end as I went up with a very small amount of paint in my bucket.
At any rate, as of late Saturday evening, most of the house has two coats of stain on it. The bad thing is, next week doesn't look too great for the weather to finish it up. And we have a huge machine-lifter-thingey rented for the week in which it probably will not be used. Too-bad, So-sad.....more "cha-ching" for AK Rentals who will gladly rent it to us for one more week.
Well, it seems as though NOTHING has gotten done this past month. It has take FOREVER to get some small things taken care of, so it really doesn't look much different than the last update. I think most of this month has involved Tom making three-four trips per day to the lumber yard/Lowes for something the workers run out of or broke. A couple of noticeable changes-
The ceiling and trim around the beams are FINALLY done.
The stairs are "basically" in. They still have to be trimmed out.
Then this week, I was finally "captured" and forced into "slavery". Actually, I only had to transport one parent for only one medical appointment after a little flurry of activity this past month with Grampa and Grandma both "acting-up" a bit!!
The "SLAVE DRIVER" -note the serious look on his face as he tinkers with the caulk gun. FEAR HIM...His real name is THOMAS EdWORK HOLMES.
So, the weather turned a bit cooler and the bugs died down a bit (or so I thought) and I decided to tackle some of the "unskilled" labor tasks that needed to be done. I don't do anything that requires skilled labor.
First, I had to WASH the entire exterior of the house as due to the Alabama monsoons and the length of time it has been since the structure was erected, the logs had weathered quite a bit. So I proceed to spray off the entire house with a 2 GAL garden sprayer with a special mixture to remove the discoloration and kill any mold or mildew in order to prepare the wood for staining and sealing.
Do you know how many times you have to stop and pump up that silly little sprayer to keep enough pressure to reach up high on the sides? I think that I counted one time and in one full canister, I pumped 6 times at 25 times per episode. That would be approximately 150 pumps per each fill of the sprayer. I lost count, but I think I filled/refilled the container about 12 times. You can do the rest of the math, but my right arm tells me it's somewhere up around 832,654 pumps.
And then the ladder part...my chubby butt lugging that full container up about 25 feet on the ladder which was sitting on the decking which is anywhere from 3-4 feet to 10-12 feet off the ground. And oh yes...the fogged up eye wear which protected my eyes but pretty much rendered me working blind.
After applying the cleaning solution, the house had to be rinsed with the pressure washer. Tom pretty much did this as that thing just about blasted me off the ladder the first time I tried it.
All this was done TWICE....well, except for the back porch...I was TOO tired and since it was covered, the wood looked pretty OK anyway.
So after the house-washing, we cleaned up a TON of trash/wood scraps and burned them. By this time, I had picked Clara up from school and she brought home a couple of friends, Trenton and Jakob. They pretty much ran wild on the property somewhat supervised. They found a puddle with tadpoles which occupied them well until I started the fire, which aroused their pyromania-tendencies.
AND what is the deal about kids and fires???? I read somewhere that pyromania was one of the three signs you were raising a potential serial killer or Timothy McVeigh-type...(probably during my "Columbine-mother-hysteria-years", during which I snooped and spied on my children WAY more than a mom should have, looking diligently for any signs that I was raising a latent school-shooter)
Thank goodness none of them wet the bed past age 12 or were cruel to animals. Well except for maybe a few incidents involving fire ants, army men figurines and firecrackers. And maybe a Barbie or two to just try to get the girls all riled up.
...Sorry Blake...but you should have NEVER planted all that stuff about Che Guevara and the bomb making recipes just for me to find. Oh yes, and don't forget the school newsletter you wanted to publish...was it called "The REVOLUTION"? We could have bought you a MUCH nicer car had we/me not spent three years visiting the counselor weekly to help keep my "bad-mother fears" at bay. And MAYBE one day you will have six children who suck all your brain cells and confidence away. And I will love them.....and laugh...just a little!!! Or maybe a lot.
One of the 6 reasons I am half-crazy....SEE....he's trying to run over me in this very picture!
So, here I am, posting about the house and now I'm rambling on about how you guys DROVE me NUTS...and now you LAUGH because your Mother is CRAZY.
Well, I forgot what I was saying about the house. The above rambling is known in psychiatric circles as "flight of ideas" which is one sign of psychosis. I THINK it's the only symptom I have. I'll post this and shut-up now. Maybe another day I'll finish telling about all the BACK-BREAKING SLAVE LABOR WORK I DID THIS WEEK ON THIS HOUSE!