Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 49: Groovin' With the Drywall Crew

The guys hanging the drywall (aka sheet rock, gypsum board, gyp board, wall board, etc.) are like a breath of fresh air around here. Yesterday there were 4 in their crew, and today there were 5.

They show up early, work hard, and get an amazing amount of work done in a day's time.  They split up into teams of 2 or 3, with one (or two) measuring and fitting the cut pieces into place (often up on a ladder or scaffold), while the other one is down on the floor, cutting the pieces to fit.

They are constantly (very loudly) calling dimensions out to one other, often with the recipient way across the room or across the house.  To ensure accuracy, the cutting guy calls the dimension back to the measurer (also very loudly.)  So there is this constant shouting of numbers going on (but you really have to think of it as calling or hollering, and it almost has a musical quality to it.  It really isn't shouting.)

Add to that the (attempted) gospel stylings of one of them, intermittently breaking out in between the dimension calling.  Today it was predominantly "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" intermixed with "I'll Fly Away".

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 48: Finally! Drywall!

Things are rolling along.  After what seems like a couple of really slow weeks on the project, (although I have managed to say pretty busy,) it's getting really fun now.

Before I get to the good stuff, here's some general catching-up stuff:

The other day I woke up to a very heavy fog...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Night OLists Happy Hour: Paleo Food Discoveries

I just realized that it's Tuesday, which means tonight is OList Happy Hour on Twitter.  I've spent the day running all around the county (actually 2 counties, skillfully avoiding having to drive all the way to Knoxville just to have one piece of steel cut, but I digress) for tasks related to the house I'm building in Tennessee.

Last week I realized that one of the most active of the OLists has yet to be represented on the Happy Hour Menu, and that OList would be none other than OEvolve.  OEvolve has a special place in my heart since it was the first of the OLists to which I subscribed.  I also think it's the one from which I get the most practical advice.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 42: What Time is it? Tile Time!

It's the end of Day 42.  That makes it the end of our 6th week since we left L.A.  I feel like saying, "I can't believe it has been 6 weeks since Paul, Todd and I started out on our big adventure" except that, I actually can believe it.

And, at this point, I think I can begin to see the end point.  I think we have about 2 more weeks, maybe 2 1/2 left here.  Then it will be back to L.A., via a slightly more circuitous route than brought us here.

These past few days have seen a few minor, but fun, adventures.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday OList Happy Hour: Introspection and Pursuit of Values

It's Tuesday, which means tonight is OList Happy Hour on Twitter.

I got the idea for tonight's Happy Hour menu from a couple of very good, recent blog posts over at Kelly's blog, Reepicheep's Coracle.  She had posted them to the OAcademics list, and they really jumped out at me as great subjects for further discussion.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 37: Update with a Zillion Photos

Things are still moving along somewhat more slowly, and probably will be for the coming week.  Later in the week they should be starting to hang drywall, which will be tremendously exciting.

This week's big achievements were the insulation of the exterior walls, and a second thing that I'll fill you in on in a minute, after a few pictures:

Don't Forget Tomorrow's OLists Sunday Brunch

It's the weekend, which means we have OLists Brunch on Twitter tomorrow (Sunday) morning (or early afternoon for those of you living your lives on Eastern Time.)

For more info on the OLists, check out the OList Events page here.

Brunch is an open-topic social group chat.  We've been doing these for a few weeks now, and they have consistently been a lot of fun.  That hour really flies by quickly.

Brunch takes place from 9-10 a.m. Pacific, and 12-1 p.m. Eastern, on Twitter.

New to Twitter and not sure how it works?  A simple tutorial on getting started can be found here.  

Your hosts for the Twitter OList Socials are @DianaHsieh@laforgetm (aka William Green) and @Earl3d (that's me!)

Want to lurk and follow along with the discussion, without joining Twitter?  You can do that here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 34: Photo Updates

Today, Ms. Client uploaded some new pics to her photo album over on PhotoBucket.  Here are a few highlights:

You can see the whole image gallery here.

There is also a little bit more to report, so maybe you'll get 2 posts today!  I know that's rare, and I'm not promising.  I'm just sayin.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Night OLists Happy Hour: Blogging and Productivity

It's Tuesday, which means tonight is OList Happy Hour on Twitter.

For more info on the OLists, check out the OList Events page here.

Tonight's theme is Blogging and Productivity.  I have tried to formulate our discussion topics to relate to both blog writers and readers.  They are:

Appetizer:  For our appetizer, let's discuss blogging frequency.  How often do you post on your blog?  Do you blog on a schedule?  Have you ever tried posting on specific topics at regular intervals?  Or, are you a go-with-the-flow type of writer, simply putting up whatever topic is personally relevant to you?  What can you see as advantages and disadvantages of each approach?  For readers, how often do you visit your various blogs?  Do you use an aggregator like Google Reader to organize your blog reading?  What other blog reading/organizing tools are out there?

Drink Special: What tricks have you adopted to make your blogging and/or blog-reading more productive?  What has worked and hasn't worked for you in this regard? 

Happy Hour will take place from 9-10 p.m. Eastern and 6-7 p.m. Pacific, on Twitter.

New to Twitter and not sure how it works?  A simple tutorial on getting started can be found here.  

Your hosts for the Twitter OList Socials are @DianaHsieh@laforgetm (aka William Green) and @Earl3d (that's me!)

Want to lurk and follow along with the discussion, without joining Twitter?  You can do that here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 30: A Successful Tour!

I'm writing this on Day 31, being Sunday, September 12th.  I am going to make a greater effort, moving forward, to get these updates out earlier in the day.  Today we're going to look at wood flooring up in Knoxville, and I may get some welding in later in the afternoon.

Today's post, however, is about yesterday's fun day of showing the house to some special guests, who drove from Atlanta and Nashville.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 29: A Meeting of the Minds

Well, people, I really have to apologize for not posting all week.

It seemed like little got done this week, although there were some important things that did get done.  But, there were also things that I felt should have gotten done, but didn't, and not for any apparent (and meaningful) reason.

And, I have to be honest and say that I'm feeling a little burnt out.  I've been away from my 'normal' life for about a month, and working nonstop on the house for over 3 weeks, without any real break, and it's beginning to wear on me, just a little bit.

There is some relief in sight, because we are getting to a point where we are close to drywall going on, and some other more mundane things, that will give me a break from the constant attention the project has demanded.   I might even take the dogs and go away for a few days, just for a little change of scene.

What got done this week?  Let's see.

Monday was a holiday, but the framing crew worked anyway.  They worked on exterior siding and miscellaneous things inside.  I believe the electricians were here also.

Tuesday should have been the day the roofer came to start on the 2 roof decks, but he decided to extend his camping trip a day.  *SIGH*  This was also the last day for the full-time framing crew, and since the roof wasn't on those roof deck areas, because the roofer was still camping, the framer peopleguys couldn't install the doors there.

Because the doors weren't on, I had to scramble when it rained to put some plastic sheeting up, for some protection on the openings.  By myself.  In the rain.  But everything was ok in the end.  Mostly.

Wednesday the roofers started.  The tapered foam they use to build up the slope on the plywood surface, so the water drains away correctly, turned out to not slope at the pitch they told me, but is twice as steep.  Thus, all the work I had done over the weekend, to calculate the height of the sloping roof surface at the door threshold, and figure out all the corresponding details, was meaningless. *HEAVY SIGH*

I don't have a huge reservoir of confidence in these guys at this point.  The product they are installing is a great roofing system, when installed correctly.  I just hope they can get get the job done.  I guarantee you that I will be blasting it with a garden hose the day after they finish.  If this thing is going to leak, I want to know about it now, not next spring or summer.

The framers are peopleguys, and the roofers are clearly not.

Wednesday was also the day the electrical inspector showed up.  I left when he got here.  I don't do well with government inspectors.  (That's really an understatement.  For more information, read Atlas Shrugged.)

Yesterday, the roofers came back and worked on the roof over the front door.  They stayed late, and yet, somehow, still didn't finish it.

Also, the steel brackets for the timber beams showed up, having been powder coated.

You could scratch the finish off them with your finger nail.  The worst powder coating job I have ever seen.  But, since they are installed up high, and not where they can be reached and touched, we decided to install them anyway.

I can touch up the paint manually.  If they were going to be installed outside in the weather, or inside where they would be handled (like the mezzanine railings) they would be rejected.

Ms. Client chimed in on those, and affirmed that in all her years at her old job, in automotive parts quality control, where she dealt with a lot of powder coating, she had never encountered powder coating that flaked off like that, and that that would have definitely been rejected.

We plan on putting the powder coating company on notice that if this happens again with the upcoming railings (which will be subject to handling and touching, as well as have some outdoor components) they will be rejected.

This morning, the electricians were back, finishing up a few things they needed to finish up.  They left early, and Dave, the genius framing crew boss peopleguy, came over and installed the steel brackets.  I helped, and it was a great way to end the week.


The real excitement this week is in what went on last night and will be happening here tomorrow.

Last night I went down to Atlanta and gave a talk on the house and my design work for the Atlanta Objectivist Society (aka ATLOS).

It was really fun, the audience was very attentive, and they asked great questions.  It was also really fun that Jenn, aka Rational Jenn, one of the group's organizers, brought her son Ryan.  To get the complete picture of how clever and brilliant this little guy is, you should just read her blog.  Suffice it to say that if Jenn should ever fall short in her stated quest to take over the world, I have absolutely no doubt but that Ryan will carry on and finish the job for her.  So it was a treat to have him at the lecture.

Tomorrow, the group is converging here, right here at the house construction site, for a picnic, tour, and pony rides.  How great is that!?

And, there's even a bit of a special event on top of the special event.  I get to host the first in-real-life meeting of two of my Objectivist blogging friends, Trey and Jenn.  So, it will be a meeting of the minds, and I'm going to open a bottle of wine or two for the occasion!


Farmer Jo has been working on cleaning up her barn, and getting things ready for pony rides.  It's actually a horse (named Lacy) that the kids will be riding, not a pony per se.  I may even go for a ride myself!

Todd was trying to help out in the barn but kept getting distracted by Bonjo the Donkey in the next stall. That dog is utterly obsessed with the donkeys.  Lucky for him, he keeps getting shocked by the electric fence, or he would end up getting kicked into the next county.

In other news, if you click to embiggen this pic, you can see a gang of wild turkeys about to rumble with a bunch of cows:

The herd and flock actually formed into rows all by themselves as the two groups of animals approached each other.  It was pretty interesting to watch.  I don't believe there was any bloodshead.

And now, for my grand finale, I present Paul and Todd, performing feats of cuteness, high upon the grand mezzanine:

I can't wait until I don't have to look at that awful green foam ceiling any more!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

OList Happy Hour Tonight

It's Tuesday, which means tonight is OList Happy Hour on Twitter.

For more info on the OLists, check out the OList Events page here.

Up for discussion tonight is Objectivist Community Groups.  Our discussion topics are:

Appetizer:  Last Sunday, during OLists Brunch, the subject of Local Community Groups enjoyed quite a bit of discussion. There are tons of folks who participate regularly in established community groups, focused on Objectivism in some way. Activism, reading groups, and social events are all great ways of building a community of people interested in Objectivist ideas.

Those of us who are part of a group, how do you participate or contribute? For the leaders of these groups, what ideas do you have for expansion? How do you promote your group? If you have no such group in your area, and are interested in starting one, how do you begin?

Drink Special:  Meeting new people who are new to Ayn Rand and Objectivism can be both exciting and frustrating at the same time. Practically everyone holds some degree of mixed premises, and the rise of religion and spirituality in the culture can make it challenging, if not difficult (or even impossible) to discuss philosophical ideas with people holding fundamental premises at odds with your own.  

What are some of the best and worst conversations you've had, with people you didn't know well, about religion and/or philosophy?  When you find yourself discussing a particular issue, were you able to agree or disagree effectively, while respecting the honesty and/or context of the other person?

Happy Hour will take place from 9-10 p.m. Eastern and 6-7 p.m. Pacific, on Twitter.

New to Twitter and not sure how it works?  A simple tutorial on getting started can be found here.  

Your hosts for the Twitter OList Socials are @DianaHsieh, @laforgetm (aka William Green) and @Earl3d (that's me!)

Want to lurk and follow along with the discussion without joining Twitter?  You can do that here.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 24: Sunday Evening, Weekend Update

Last time I checked in with y'all (actually, that's what they say in Atlanta.  Around here they say y'uns.  Sometimes I have no idea what people are even saying) was last Thursday evening.  A lot got done Friday too, and the crew is coming back to work tomorrow also.  They will be laboring on Labor Day.  That's their choice.  I'm happy about it.  We have rain in the forecast and doors that still need installation.

Almost all of the windows are in, except for 3 that were special order items (just because they were slightly odd-sized) and won't be here for about 2 more weeks. 

Friday night we had a particularly fiery sunset:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 21: Windows! Floor! Stuff Happening!

Today was another big big day on the construction site.

I interacted with the plumber today, for the first time.  He seems competent, and is friendly and chatty like the locals in Middle-of-Nowhere, East Tennessee tend to be.  

Let me explain what I mean.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 20: We've Turned a Corner

Today we turned a corner.  Or, turned a floor.  Or something like that.

We finally got the floor installed over part of the mezzanine.

Earlier this week we hit a rough patch.  I am pleased to report that we have successfully worked through issues with the lighting, material delivery delays (a couple of critical timbers), some budgetary concerns, and probably something else that I'm forgetting about (because it's resolved and therefore crossed off my mental (and physical paper) list.)  

We are, as they say, moving on.

Will you just look at that floor?!  Isn't it exciting?!

Here we are standing at the top of the stairs, looking towards the front bedroom, through the smaller of the two openings to the floor below.

This is Dave, the highly skilled genius carpenter/framer peopleguy, working at the top of the stairs.  He clearly enjoys his work, and is among the best framers I've ever worked with.  His whole crew is quite exceptional.

The underside of that part of the mezzanine forms the entryway.  The front door is (will be) to the right in the next picture:

The rest of the mezzanine floor should be fully installed tomorrow.

Here I am, inspecting:

At the end of the day we were visited by a mucky creature, up from the depths of the pond:

The water level of the pond is very low - things are pretty dry and they could really use the rain around here.  

Farmer Jo seems to think the pond has sprung a leak.  Apparently, the way you fix a leaky pond is to get pigs.  The pigs wallow around in the mud and pack it down, filing in the cracks and stopping up the leaks.  Farmer Jo also made it abundantly clear that she is not about to get pigs.  She seems to have her hands full with the myriad horses, donkeys, and dogs.

I wondered whether Mr. Turtle was off in search of more watery accommodations.  

He would be happy to know that, as far as I'm concerned, after the windows & doors get installed, starting tomorrow (yay!) I don't care how much it rains.