Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Building of Our House: The Trip to Home Depot

When we purchased our little fishing shack (called The Cabin) we had to realize a couple things: 1) It was old and rustic, 2)It was so far in the middle of nowhere that any work now or in the future would have to be done ourselves, and 3)We were basically forcing ourselves to become Luddites in many ways. The experience has been quite wonderful, but also a bit intense at times. Before reading this you many want to check out why we purchased The Cabin, as well as the first post about our building process.

The second weekend we didn't accomplish much. The Barracuda and I stayed in The Cabin most of the week and were able to finish off pulling down walls and prepping the space for insulation. By the time the weekend rolled around, Jules was able to come up, and word had gotten out about the new owners. We began to get visitors.

Visitors in the city were no big deal. People knock, pop in for a couple minutes, get business done and then have to go off to another hurried activity. After a week, Dae and I were already starting to recognize woods time. Woods time is much like island time - things move much, much slower. People drop by, and stay a while. Whenever you wake up, you wake up. Whenever something gets done, it gets done. You don't laze about, but you definitely don't hurry. In woods time, you enjoy your surroundings and let the chips fall as they may.

Many rope swings exist around the lake for both adults and children to enjoy. No one owns them; they just hang there daring any brave souls to try the terrifying exhilarating ride. Woods time is much like a Hallmark Movie of the Week.

Here, visitors will drop by and then want to talk. They will show up and then stand discussing. Sometimes they bring beer or wine and stay to have a little. Jules and I didn't know how to be socially appropriate and hint at needing to get back to work. We tried everything that worked in the city, no dice. By the time the third person popped in, we just decided to go with it. When in Rome, listen like Romans.

What did happen to get done, was the supply trip to Home Depot. As big box stores go, our family is not a major fan. However, when you have one giant purchase to make, they can simplify the process significantly. This was the case with Home Depot. We wanted to purchase all our materials (or dang near) in one go. With everything in one place we could then be free to work without the limitations of supply issues. It also meant that we wouldn't be spending extra dollars on both gas and impulse items (such as the drill holster that Jules felt was highly imperative but still sits unused).

The closest Home Depot was a mere 29 miles from our house. I know this because I remember every single mile...

We had saved up 2,000 dollars for repairs on the house and an extra 500 each month from expenses. We figured that was enough money to do a pretty good overhaul. After taking down the walls and living in the space for a week, we compiled a giant list and went off.

The Home Depot is located on the farthest possible edge of what could be called the closest town. It seems very out of place in the small strip mall which includes a Bi-Mart, a combination adult shop/truck stop, and a restaurant called "Spooky's" which seems to serve everything from pizza and hamburgers to Chinese and Italian.

It was a very long trip. The staff was very helpful. All four carts were very full. By the time we were through the will call booth and everything was established for us to drive it all home things were looking pretty good. Because we were only using our normal truck to haul everything, multiple trips were necessary. We grabbed a giant pile of insulation, the water heater, the paint, stacks of silicon caulking, and a bunch of miscellaneous electrical supplies and headed for the car. Jules is the master packer. He can get items into small spaces like a Tetris champion. Most of the bulk insulation order was jammed in, but still some small space remained. The giant bundle pack wouldn't fit, he reasoned, but a few of the individual rolls would. Out came the pocket knife, the plastic was slashed, and then we watched in complete horror as the bundle of insulation began to grow. It expanded, and expanded, and then continued to keep swelling. Once removed from pressure, it was easily three or four times the previous size. The couple of rolls didn't fit much better than the one bundle. No problem, the skies were clear, we were on woods time, we'd just make another trip. Two trips turned into three, no biggie.

The first two trips were no issue...but the third one was sure a doosie. By the time the first two loads were placed into the cabin, more neighbors had visited by kayak, and we were set to head out for a third, time was beginning to dwindle down. All of our purchase had to be picked up before closing time. Back we headed and the skies began to cloud over. We still were fairly secure in our last venture, after all the camper top was on the truck so nothing would get wet.

This is what we had hoped for. See all that blue sky, a nice breeze in the air, easily fitting underlayment with the other miscellaneous items stuffed beneath. Wasn't meant to be!

Then the underlayment wouldn't fit inside. It just wasn't going to work. We had to run inside and buy more rope since we hadn't brought enough. Rope was strung through the front windows, pinning The Barracuda and I into the car. Twine was then employed to help strap the large, lightweight boards onto the roof of the car. Tarps were pulled out from the hidden recesses of the truck and the last roll of insulation was covered and bound to the back tailgate and bumper. Everything was strapped down as much as possible as the raindrops began to sprinkle.

Over on this side of the Cascades, the precipitation is quite a bit less. We weren't exceptionally worried about some water. What we hadn't counted on were the thunder storms. When the warm side of the Cascades hits the cooler wet side, things get a bit interesting. We definitely hadn't figured in the wind. You know all that wind surfing and kite boarding people come from all over the U.S. to do? It is because of the extreme and unpredictable wind!

All it took was leaving the exit ramp for the first gust hit. It caught the underlayment like a giant sail and caused a startled look between Jules and I. The windows were quickly rolled down and any free hands were used to hold everything on top of the car as much as possible. It wasn't too long before The Barracuda was pulling on the ropes inside the car as extra weight trying to keep it all together. Images of crazed college activities flashed through my mind. We looked like some bizarre episode of the Beverly Hill Billies driving down the highway.

Twenty nine miles would have been long enough to hang out the window of a car moving down the highway clinging to items strapped on top, but with the pelting rain it felt much more like 40 miles. At about mile 10 my hands began to go a bit numb, my grip lessened a smidgen, Jules alternated hands on the steering wheel to try and warm up, and we began to laugh at the ridiculousness of our current activity. WHAM! we were hit with another sudden burst of wind. Full attention was regained as the underlayment rose a good 2 inches off the roof. We reluctantly slowed down to less than 45 miles an hour, hazards were put on, and we inched home.

This is our mountain. We live in her shadow, drink water from her glacial melt, and frequently play on her slopes. Every day she is a wonderful reminder of why we moved and what we love. It takes quite a bit to not give her welcoming nod on the way home.

By the time we got to the bridge crossing the Columbia, both Jules and I were soaked. We crossed the bridge and were far too numb/sore/cold to enjoy our mountain. Eventually we made it home with all our stuff intact. It wasn't until we unloaded that we found out all the twine had snapped in the wind. We were literally the only thing holding our conglomeration of crap onto the vehicle. Jules felt this was humorous and incredible. I'm still not quite there.

Clothes and supplies were set out to dry and we watched the store roll over from the porch. The arduous task of schlepping most all of our building materials was over. Now we just had to build a house.

2 thoughts:

Furnace Repair Greenwood Indiana said...

It was quite a trip but it is a good trip because it is a journey to make your home beautiful. Looking for all these appliances you will need will be fun.

Elidia Wolford said...

It's been a while! How did the home building go? It's wise for you to do the shopping of materials yourself. This way, you are in total control of the budget. But for first timers who have no idea at all, better find a builder you could trust.

-Elidia Wolford -

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