Monthly Archives: June 2013

Installing Windows. Seems easy..?

I cut the what what? Doth my tape deceive me? No? Fuggit.

Something awesome happened today. I spent the last couple days – portions of those days, anyway – looking at all possible resources for information about window installation. It all boils down to a fairly simple formula. You buy “window flashing” and you put it in the right places in the correct sequence. If your window has a “nailing fin” around the perimeter, then installation is crazy-simple. You use shims (available in packs) to wedge between the window unit and house framing – not so tight that it bows the window or prevents smooth operation. Once it’s shimmed and level, you nail through the flange (fin?). Put the flashing where the YouTube video with the best ratio of thumbs-up to thumbs-down tells you. Beg your brain not to make the job more difficult than it actually is.

I hit a setback. I flashed the first windowsill, lifted the window into the opening, and found out that the R.O. (rough opening; read: “hole”) was way too small. Ten inches off. Nuts.

I have no idea how I was able to pull that off. I’ll tell you though, I wasn’t upset in the least. Faced with life-changing or catastrophic news, I am calm and collected. It’s the unbelievably minor setbacks that will make me hit the roof. Thankfully, this setback seemed to register outside of the red-zone. Probably what happened is that my brain assessed this as a big deal, so I was cool as a cucumber. If I had realized how simple it would be to fix, I might have been taken away on a stretcher.

Overall success: I installed the window in the correctly-cut R.O. in the back of the house (1 outta 2 ain’t bad…). Making the incorrect R.O. ten inches taller was a simple matter of sawsalls and moving screws.

Current window tally: 2 out of 8.

 

 

 

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Build Slow. Really slow. (Microscopic Microtasks.)

Alright, fine, I’ll admit it. I’m a little bit lazy. I wouldn’t envy anyone tasked with the job of motivating me to do a hard day’s work. Sure, I can get the job done. If I’m working with a crew I’m not a bad choice either – I don’t want to complain or look like the worst one there. (I also have the typical male response to injury where one pretends that nothing has happened, even as said one’s thumb rolls off the workbench and onto the floor.) None of that applies to working alone with no strict schedule.

My point here is this: putting rigid insulation between the rafters sucks. It’s hot and boring. While the insulation I got was a great deal, it also has fiberglass paper faces which makes it a real asshole to deal with. I don’t want to miss my opportunity to gripe about it just because the house is small. I want to gripe about it right now. I’m lazy, I’m working alone, and I am finally realizing that the sense of adventure gleaned from a lack of experience gets less cute with time. With cuteness out the window (which is nicely installed, BTW) it is my job to strangle this task and punch it in the face.

I am going to put on my punching gloves right after I finish this cold Diet Coke and a bag of pretzels. Better watch out. By 6pm… or maybe 8-ish… the gloves come off. Or on! Fuckit.

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This roof is looking like a roof.

Fast forward a minute. THE ROOF IS DONE. As with every other step, it took me a long time. Predictably, too much over-thinking occurred throughout the entire process.

What I learned: It’s not hard! None of this is hard! The hardest part of each and every step is gathering the motivation to slowly bumble through the learning process. I don’t have a pro carpenter on my shoulder, so I’m forced to just close my eyes and start swinging. (Don’t try this literally.)

I want to motivate anybody who is thinking about building with no experience: DO IT. As many others have already shown, building a tiny house is possible for anyone. The reward I feel after each step is well worth the frustration.

Budget update: I’m still not thinking about the budget. I’ll do the math later. I started selling stuff on eBay, as I’ve done before, and enough money is coming in. I started to run low on savings and had to take a minute to consider my options. I’m oil and jobs are water, so I decided to try my hand at thrift-hunting. I love thrift stores, and I’ve had “PowerSeller” status for over a year. The jump to full-time eBay was surprisingly smooth, and seems to be working out so far. I couldn’t be happier about that. (I already bought Kristin a new(er) laptop, and my last trip to buy shingles didn’t blow up my wallet too bad… so I’m calling it a win.)

Roof update: I know I mentioned this, but IT’S DONE. I spent way too long up on a ladder. I went up and down the ladder too many times for one tiny thing. But now I’m done. I can also happily report that my father was kind enough to assist me – he passed up shingles to me as needed so I didn’t have to climb all the way down each time. This voluntary gesture was significant and much appreciated. (My mom helped by passing me more shingles on the following day.)

Next up: Windows. I already have all the windows and now I need to put them in. I’ve already read about it and watched every YouTube video, and rented a DVD from the library, and a book for good measure – so now I get it. I have no more resources to justify further procrastination. S’gonna get done now.

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