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12-feet by 16-feet with a loft. I finished the ceiling a few weeks ago, and the floor went in yesterday in about four hours.

I put in a wood floor yesterday. It wasn’t planned. A neighbor called before 9am and said he was tearing out more than 2000 sq feet of cherry hardwood from a commercial rental he owns downtown and did I want any of it. I did, but I didn’t want to move it twice, so rather than unload it from the back of the Subaru into stacks, I unloaded it onto the actual floor. It came together pretty well, and seems to add to the whole mishmash of recycled and gifted materials that comprise the little house. It’s been a fun learning experience and a good project.

Standing on the top rung of the ladder, the one above the one with the sticker that says, “Don’t stand or sit above this rung for risk of losing balance,” I’m trying to fit warped tongues into warped grooves. Up on my toes, fully extended, the ladder rocks and I wish for just six more inches. Even three would be great. It’s not happening though, and as I reach up with the nail gun, the air line snags on the ladder’s base and I drop the 16 ft length of pine. Then I swear, only once, but loudly and with a vengeance. Em looks up briefly then goes back to wrestling the tarp away from my wood pile.

Itching with fiberglass threads that rain down from exposed insulation, I build up a film of sweat and sawdust as I move up and down the ladder with wood in one hand, tools in the other. The radio plays the country Top 40 in the background, but I’m too preoccupied to change the station. When the compressor kicks on it drowns out Toby Keith singing about American pride. Later I will build a hot fire and take a cold shower to wash away the fibers, but right now I make up words and sing over the compressor as the ceiling slowly comes together.

Em has joint compound on the tips of her ears. It’s in my hair. We’re a tired mess with two rounds of drywall mudding and sanding still to go, and a stack of pine 1×6 and a nail gun being delivered on Monday for a tongue and groove ceiling that I think I can put together because I once did an oak floor. I have only an idea of what I’m doing and almost zero actual experience.

On the writing front, I have 20 days to get the first piece of the big project delivered and I’m still staring at a blank screen. The smaller projects are getting done, but they have me running back and forth and up and down the state. Corvallis, Monday. Chiloquin, Tuesday. Portland, Thursday.

Do other people do this?


Taken a week ago. A lot has happened in the last five days.

It’s starting to feel like a house. Roof is on. Windows and doors are in. Loft is finished, but needs a ladder. Deck is started. Green house is stripped, but the floor is a mess.  Wiring is run to receptacels, but not hot. Main water line is yet to be found. I’m traveling tomorrow, but back at it Friday and thru the weekend. Hopefully insulation next week. Then, does anyone feel good about hanging drywall?

*Dylan. One of the greats.


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