There are two main reasons for avoiding your blog like the plague, especially when you’re attempting to chronicle such a behemoth undertaking as, say, the building of a house. The first is that nothing is happening – or rather, so little is happening so incrementally that Tolkien himself would be hard pressed to write a scintillating narrative around the week you spent stapling insulation to the ceiling and trying to scrub fiberglass slivers out of your tongue; and the only thing worse than having folks clamor for a blog update (because they’re too nice to straight-up call you a slacker) is the feeling that you’re throwing junk at the wall to see what sticks, and the end result seems to be a sort of chronic, unforgivable dullness.
“Yesterday, we cut drywall. Today, we cut some more drywall. Tomorrow, we will continue to cut drywall…” and on and on, ad nauseam.
The other option is that everything has suddenly started to happen all at once, and your life is such a constant landslide of insanity that it feels like there’s no point in sitting down to write about where the project is at, because it will change again in, oh, about 3 minutes and 18 seconds. Plus there’s that nagging fact that you’re busy working on the house. Every single day and night. Friends? Hobbies? Dates? Parties? I remember those things – vaguely. What I remember more vividly is having lived with some combination of 12 different people in the 8 months since John and I got married, and as much as I love all of them, I really just need my own kitchen and a cast iron skillet that doesn’t always taste like soap. So we work, and we sleep, and then we work some more.
Hey, I never said they were particularly good reasons, but it happens.
On the flip side of things, when I visited this blog to see where in the timeline I needed to pick up my narration, my jaw dropped. The woodstove? Was that really the last development I took the time to mention? Embarrassing. I guess I could feign alien abduction, I could play the chronic illness card, I could point out that feeding a blacksmith is practically a full time job and having a roommate who’s newly addicted to musical theatre causes amnesic brain damage; but really, I just let one of my favorite activities slide through the cracks, and I’m sorry. I will do my best to catch up.
We did spend several days putting up insulation, which was a really bad idea without a respirator. Working with your face tilted up toward the ceiling, combined with that irritating biological compulsion to breathe, will leave a fine layer of itchy slivers all over your mouth the inside of . You’ll cough and feel like you’re suffocating for days. I don’t recommend it. However, if you have to insulate in a tiny space during the dead of a disgusting winter, what I do recommend is working with someone who makes you laugh.
Also, naps. They are good for you.
And strange friends, like James, to keep you from taking your life too seriously.
We were hugely blessed by the donation of some free insulation by Tom, a dear friend and coworker. In fact, across the board, the support we’ve had from our friends and family cannot possibly be overstated! When it came time to drywall, which is the bane of every home builder’s existence and with which we had desperately little practice, Wyatt brought his many years of contracting experience to the table without batting an eyelash. John’s older brother, Jake, also volunteered an incredible amount of time during the drywalling stage, which even included coming straight to the house from karate class.
Drywall was a huge turning point in making our weird little shack look like a home on the inside. Talk about a morale booster!
The psychological trauma of drywall mudding was not captured on film. To be honest, we did a very poor job, both for lack of experience and lack of time; and that was one of several compromises we made in an attempt to keep perfection from being the enemy of good. Our walls are a little lumpy and a little bumpy, and from certain angles, it’s all too easy to pinpoint the truly awful spots. For a little while, that made me feel bad. I don’t like doing substandard work. Neither does John.
Then it occurred to me that WE ARE BUILDING OUR OWN HOUSE. We’re on track to own our first home for under $10,000 before either of us turns 25. And whose living space is picture perfect, anyway? That’s the point – it’s for living in!
Anyway, after the abject misery that was drywall mudding, Jake and his wonderful fiancée, Melanie, helped us to prime the walls and ceiling.
I had originally planned to leave the entire house a delicate shade of off-white. It’s a popular color for tiny house interiors, because the increased reflection helps to maximize natural light and make small spaces look bigger. John was not on board, but I was persistent. He complained that he wouldn’t be allowed to breathe inside, much less touch anything; but again, I was firm.
Until the first time his shoulder bumped a wall as he was climbing to the loft, and a dirty smudge followed his progress like a black eye on my beautiful ivory paint. I relented immediately. We compromised on an attractive shade of blue for the walls, called Thundering Clouds, and decided to leave the ceiling white to make good use of all our ambient natural light.
And that, however briefly, concludes the major milestones of January and February. Much of the last month has been focused on our floor, which looks frankly awesome, but which also took a great deal more time and money than we expected, because – like most things – we had no idea what we were doing. It all worked out in the end, though, and we love it. Seriously. Love it.
For now, I will leave you with a glimpse of that charming madness:
…as well as a fervent promise to write the next chapter of our story very, very soon. We’re in the home stretch now, folks. Stick with us – it’s going to be a wild ride!