Wednesday, May 20, 2015

(A few drops of) BLOOD, (drenched in) SWEAT and TEARS (of laughter)

Ok, so I had NO idea that more than a month had passed since updating here...that's some TERRIBLE blogging!!  I (Nina) apologize!!
To bring us all up to speed since the last blog...

picking out lumber...they gave us hats!
Daniel Bell flew in on Wednesday and we ran around getting materials and prepping for the workshop that would begin on Friday. We had people sign up and they came ready to learn and work...and boy did they. Everyone had a different skill level; I was super impressed with the individuals who showed up wanting to build but had never run a drill or driver or saw... that was awesome! By midday they were comfortable, end of day they were confident, and next day they were helping orient the newcomers.  I loved hearing them chatting and joking and getting to know each other as they built. 
oh shoot! ... where's Lewis!?
The friendships made over those 3 days and the energy that was in the air is why we wanted to build this way - fostering the community to go forward together. Perfect. The three days were very emotional for me and every time I saw another piece go was overwhelming. The first day the subfloor was built (3 boxes inset into the trailer) and insulated and sealed, then attached horizontally to the trailer. Second day the bottom plate was framed in around the trailer & over the wheel wells and walls were going up and top plate affixed; third day the rough openings for the windows were cut, the interior wall (separating bathroom from kitchen) was put up and the bump-out was framed. The structure was ready for sheathing and rafters/roofing.  What an accomplishment in just 3 days!  What a fun FUN crew we had! Everyone appreciated Daniel's instruction and his way of teaching (he's a teacher by profession and just REALLY good at it). It helps that he's fun and truly cares about what he does.
Dale and Daniel on the bumpout

***EarthDayTexas was fantastic! We were parked in a great location and had 3 food trucks Down to Earth Vegetarian and Vegan Catering Food Truck, Samson's Gourmet Hot Dogs and Sykamore 100% Vegan Asian Cuisine ... really great food and wonderful folks. ALL of the event staff at Fair Park were super accommodating and professional (we've been to other events that were not like that). We had local DFW Tiny House Enthusiast meetup members volunteer to staff the house (really helpful to have a few folks when it's a big crowd) and that was GREAT. The weather was sketchy (grounds were evacuated and shut down for a Level 5 tornado alert on the first afternoon) but people still came out to see us. That day we met folks that have become integral to my build...more on them later.  
Doing TINY in the city known for BIG
BA spoke in one of the exhibit halls on Sunday morning and she did great and got a wonderful reception from the crowd. In the audience was the group from NASA and they asked her if she was interested in taking her tiny house to Houston.  Umm... YES.
answering questions after her presentation

Thank you to Jet, Cory, Shannon, Tracy, Susan and Martha for being house docents and gatekeepers at EarthDay! Would have struggled without you!

A few nights later, BA spoke at The Grove and we met a few more tiny house enthusiasts that were excited about her house...and mine! If you're local and are a thinker and entrepeneur, The Grove is THE place for you. Check it out for the weekly events.  

The next workday (Build Day 4) was squaring of the house and sheathing.  The squaring is to prevent racking (remember, it's on wheels and will travel!) and took some muscle...and eventually horsepower!  We had so much fun that day; people that we had met from EarthDay and at The Grove were there to help too! We got the top course of sheathing done (the hardest to do) It was great that we had so many tall people!
workin' that manicure!

Build Day 5 was BA and Nina doing the bottom course of sheathing around the house.

Build Day 6 was..postponed because of the rain and super muddy conditions at the build site.  The build site is GORGEOUS but it is not made to be a build site. Safety first so we called that day a wash.... literally.  We had the lumber delivered. It rained.

holding up the ridge beam
THE REAL "Build Day 6" was rafter day.  Oh what a day.  Nina woke up unable to walk (I had slipped/fallen on Thursday, limped a little on Friday and BAM, no walkie on Saturday). Jet brought me crutches and Advil, Margaret brought me her boot/brace and I was parked in a chair all day. Frustrating, to say the least.
Luckily, the crew was stalwart and worked incredibly long hours to get the rafters all in place.

cutters be cuttin'

Jet & BA get ready for the ridge beam to come their way

It was TRICKY (not a regular pitch roof) and the height of it...and it was just all learn as we go. The crew kept their good spirits and the Skratch helped keep them going. I will forever remember that day and be immensely grateful to them for being everything I could not be on that build day.  Dale, Bryan and Scott worked really well together and were up on ladders or the house A LOT. Susan and BA were key in heading up the rafter cutters and the cutters cut all day.  Those birdsmouths and the angles...boy oh boy! 

Build Day 7 was Susan and BA framing the top of the bump out to ready it for roofing and then the biggie: they drilled for and installed the Simpson Strong Ties that hold the house onto the trailer vertically.  Those things are SERIOUS and the drilling was done with muscle and a Milwaukee MegaTron.  Ok, I'm not sure that's what the drill was called but it was something like that.  Shout-Out to Lee Roy Jordan Lumber Company for having the SST's in stock. When we attached BA's house we were in California and walked in to Home Depot and bought them. When I was checking inventory it turns out that those are ONLY special order. Lee Roy Jordan had plenty for us.  Lee Roy Jordan was the company that delivered the rafter lumber for us, they have been really great to us on this build. Ralph Szabo is the guy who is our dude... he's been stellar.
End of Build Day 7; it's put under plastic until the decking & metal roof go on

And so now the house is ready for the decking and for the metal roof to be (professionally) installed. With my foot the way it is I am most likely going to hire out the decking as well because I don't like the idea of my friends risking their bodies while I sit in a chair.

The weather has been WET. We have lucked out that, on the days we had our workshop crews show up to build, the weather held out and we were able to complete the tasks at hand. BUT IN BETWEEN?!?  OMG...the storms have rolled through here again and again...DOWNPOURS...and keeping the house dry has been challenging. BA and I have wrestled with huge spans of plastic and sagging water bubbles and lumber pixie stix to try and keep the house from taking water. Some successful, some not. In the end we had the Day 6 crew help put on a 6mil 50ft by 20ft length of plastic over the house and we fastened lumber onto it. That has held up the best.  The house should not be at risk for any more water inside... (I don't want to jinx it..)

So, there you go.  In SEVEN build days, the house is ready for the roof to go on. Is that amazing or what?  Stay tuned. We have some smaller detailed stuff to do but here are the bigger things...

BA has two events this weekend.
SATURDAY, MAY 23rd She is donating her time and tiny house for tours at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. She has freinds who also have a tiny house here (you may have seen them on the final episode of the season on Tiny House Nation). They are all friends and the houses will be there for a tour...donation is $25 and all proceeds go to the non-profit organization.  If you can make it out there on Saturday, it should be a wonderful experience.
SUNDAY, MAY 24th She will be at Kittrell/Riffkind to showcase their work. They are a wonderful stained glass studio that created the gable window and sconces on BA's tiny house. Their work gets compliments all the time and she thought it would be great to highlight their work. The studio will have classes on making glass beads going on inside and BA's house will be outside. Fun!
- we are crossing our fingers on having the California trip "make". The reason for going was MAGIC Camp (Mentor A Girl In Construction) but it looks like late advertising for it may have hurt the sign-ups. The orchestration for getting my house there in plenty of time can't wait so... that's an iffy thing.
-BA will be participating in a Straw Bale workshop that will last a week. Andrew Morrison (all around awesome man for the tiny house way of living and guru o' straw bale) will be leading it and working her tail off. Should be an intense learning experience and the kind of thing she just loves.
-BA, Daniel Bell and Jay Shafer will be leading a week long spectacular workshop in Minnesota. There are a few spots left so if you've been thinking about it, it's time to sign up now.  Check out the workshop info here.  BA will be staying in MN for the summer.
-Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs is in's free...RSVP for ALL things TINY.

As for the "Blood, Sweat & Tears" blog title...
Blood - only a few drops shed at the build but mostly GALLONS have been stolen by mosquitoes (flying HORSE-ELEPHANTS, I would call them)
Sweat - LOTS of it. it's humid. I will sweat from now until November. I will just BE sweat.
Tears - so much laughter, only a little when I fell and hurt myself.  Mostly from laughing.
The way my build is shaking out is EXACTLY what we'd hoped for! We wanted people to learn and make friends along the way and make the tiny house community stronger and able to have a wider base-knowledge of hands-on building so that we could all help each other as new builds happen. You screw my board and I'll screw yours. Isn't that how the saying goes?

The beauty of all of this is that we have our bad luck (BA's truck luck and my foot luck) but we have friends that come into our lives daily that are fantastic. We have folks who lift us up figuratively and literally. Some of these people have been in our lives for years and others less than a week! It's so wonderful to be awash is goodness so that the bad luck moments are easier to deal with.

Oh, and about my foot. I got it Xrayed on Sunday and they said it was JUST A SPRAIN!  yippeeeee!  I was told it might be a fracture but it looks like it'll heal up just fine if I stay off of it, and I am.

Stay tuned to BA's blog and our instagram account to follow our doings. I'll try and be here more often. I swear!

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