Sunday, May 31, 2015

So, it's rained a little...

You may have heard on the news (or experienced it if you live here).... we've had a bit of rain here in Texas. It started a couple of weeks ago and, with the exception of about, oh, mmaaaaaybe a 9 hour span in there's been raining, and raining, and raining. The thunder claps have been like shotgun blasts at 1am, 3am... it's been an experience.
What it means for my build? The moat around my house makes it look very stately (like a teeny castle) but.... no work on it since it was sealed in plastic 11 days ago (seems like an ETERNITY!).  The build site is outdoors in a beautiful meadow... but the ground is saturated and the mud is slick.  I had the roofer measure the roof on a day that it stopped raining for about an hour...and that's been the last that was done. The rain means delays and rescheduling.

"But wait, Nina", you say, "Didn't you need to get this road-ready in time to get to California as the project for M.A.G.I.C. Camp?"
Why, Yes... that had been the plan. 
BUT  <insert the noise that indicates a huge machine coming to a full stop> I pulled the plug on that trip when I heard that there were zero participants signed up. There were delays in getting the information together, it had lost word-of-mouth momentum because they didn't hold the camp last year and the marketing was just barely getting underway.
The issue at hand was that my house had to be there one month in advance and so, I might be sending my house a month ahead of time and not having the camp for it to attend. That's taking a big chance. I had a hotshot service lined up and had negotiated with them for transport...then had to push it back...then had to get out of the contract altogether.  MAGIC Camp might still "make" house won't be the project. THAT is a tough one for us... we had really looked forward to it. I have cancelled the flights and we are officially not going. I can't even explain how disappointing that is...but I had to make the decision before I had a guarantee...and there was a lot of money and logistics hanging on the decision.
So, if the camp does get enough participants, Builder Daniel will have another project for them to work on.
If the camp doesn't get enough participants? Well, hell, then I'm taking advantage of Daniel's cancelled plans and will fly him in for another week of build. (Yes, he IS that awesome).
Looking on the bright side of my house not traveling to California: I have people here who are excited to go forward and work on it some more.  I am so grateful for that because I was feeling pretty bummed about it not going to camp.  I didn't know that there were folks secretly wishing it wouldn't go!

In other news:
My right foot- It has been two weeks of me doing my best to stay off of it and only give it a few "tests" here and there. I believe that it is healing very well (no more swelling, very little pain). I'm using one crutch and even that's becoming less and less of a necessity... it's just a little "backup" on longer treks. I've had to be really careful because of all the slick surfaces and puddles.
Tennis, anyone?  (yes, those are tennis courts in Dallas)

BA and her truck-
Oh my gosh - THAT will be covered more in-depth in her blog but the short summary is that she flew to Colorado (had a great meetings with tiny housers there) and then drove her new/used truck back to Dallas. It's HUGE and cool except for a few, um, "issues".  Again, you'll have to read her blog for the specifics.
BA checking under the hood 

Being Judgmental-
Last year BA was asked to speak at Plano Academy, a high school that is really challenging it's Learners to approach the world from a different perspective. Case in point: 32 groups worked 8 weeks on tiny house projects. They did everything from build 1/6th scale model (to include a garden!), use off-grid methods for sustainability and provide all the plans (circuits, materials, costs, interior design, energy usage, etc.) and even built a website to market and sell their tiny home.  We went around with an iPad and filled out a judging sheet after we interviewed the groups. Only ONE group asked about who WE were...and you should have seen their mouth drop and eyes go dead when BA introduced herself. Under his breath, one of the guys said, "'s you..." His eyes fixed on BA... it was like he suddenly realized unicorns existed. If they felt any added pressure from that, they overcame it quickly and took us through their tour with great finesse and confidence. I recognized a couple of students who had toured BA's tiny on EarthDay....they must have been doing research that day (and it worked, they had a very well-thought-out design).
We were impressed. The students were very professionally dressed and presented well...there were a few that BA and I thought we should hire for their enthusiasm and knowledge about how solar and such. Overall it was a delight to find young minds being opened to tiny house living and saying things like "it's about living with less stuff and experiencing the most in life". Refreshing! Kudos to Plano Academy! We were honored to be a part of the panel!    (BA will be writing a blog post about this event)
The 32 Tiny Home Tours at Plano Academy

The Rain-
I mentioned that there have been some really huge storms moving through. On Saturday morning the rain was coming down in buckets, just relentless... water pouring out of the sky....aaaaand we went out in it. 
BA's truck had an appointment at 7am to get a checkup. I was taking my car so that I could bring her back if they needed to keep the truck for very long. We ran to the car and found ourselves soaked through in about 7 seconds.  Well, I had my new and nifty waterproof jacket on but... the rest of me was water. I had cuffed my pant legs so that they wouldn't get wet...the mini-rapids in the parking lot were up to our shins.  We each made it to our cars (yes, I was on a crutch) and I texted BA to go slow because I could barely see her and didn't want to get separated.  As we were just leaving the gate I saw a truck drive by on the road in front of us, the water on the road was too high for me. BA had stopped and texted me "Can your car do this?"  I texted "Nope" and I made a U-turn (even THAT was iffy) and parked.  She came and got me and I rode with her.  After we took an alternate route (came up to an intersection where an SUV was stranded in the middle of the high water) we arrived to the Firestone and walked in, water squishing out and puddling from our shoes as we took each step. The guys chuckled...we were quite a sight. Whatever.

A few days before I had seen an Instagram from SkratchLabs (the drink I make sure to keep my building peeps supplied with on the job site) that said "No Boring Days" and I showed it to BA.  It's what we mumble to each other when we find ourselves in these kinds of situations...which is pretty much any day BANina heads out into the world. #NoBoringDays
We need this button, or on shirts, or hats.

Today is a lovely day! 
The SUN!!!
(well, RIGHT NOW, I haven't looked at "myradar" in a while... I recommend that app for anyone who experiences any weather... I wouldn't have needed it in California).
We will be taking the opportunity to assess the squish-factor on the ground around my house and try to come up with a schedule of attack for work to resume. 

The Build -
We will proceed with the schedule but now we're not under the time-crunch that we were under. Phew!
Roof decking, window installation, find someone to weld a steel frame for my french doors, french door installation, roof window, metal roof, and siding. Those all need to be done before we start the interior workings of electrical, plumbing and insulation.  The thing is, all those hinge on each other in different ways. We're waiting on delivery of the center-pivot roof window (my original choice had to be nixed because after we did the roof, the size I'd wanted was too big. I have the order in for a horizontally-oriented, center-pivot roof window from an entirely different vendor. And the metal roofer wants the roof window installed (by someone else) before he roofs. And so on and so on. If you've ever built a house (of any size) you're familiar with those types of changes needing to be made and how it goes on to affect other things.

The positive side to the rain and the foot injury it's that they overlapped and so I wasn't injured/moping during sunny weather and also, I have had a bit of time to do the research. As I ask tradesmen questions, they give me new avenues to explore when it comes to materials and processes. I had someone ask me if I was frustrated about the build not being done all at once. Yes and no. Sure, I want my house finished and ready YESTERDAY (I can't be a mooch and live with friends for too long...they may start changing the locks on me soon) HOWEVER, there is no self-imposed time limit and I am enjoying EVERY day, even when we're not building. I'm learning new things on a daily basis and, if you know me at all, you know that I love that. I enjoy the processes of this build every dang day (even the frustrating days) and feel like I'm really (like REALLY) living the experience. And all of the fantastic people that I'm meeting because of this build? Priceless.

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