Monday, July 8, 2013

Milestone: Our First Shitty Day

A much needed Sunday Funday.
My previous experience in construction taught me one solid rule above all else: Rarely does a project get completed on 'time'; mishaps and backtracks are common.  

Knowing something will happen, and being prepared for it are two very different things. And they don't always show up together. On Saturday we headed over to the house, sweating out the ride in Dan's truck (with no A/C), and even at 8am it was already a heavy, humid 90 degrees. We dragged ourselves around in the energy zapping heat, trying to decide what we could do. We decided we were going to put the termination bars on the roof, and then fully install the last two windows. 

First off, the termination bars did not look like the ones I saw in the educational videos, but we assumed the same concept. We spent about an hour applying the bars all around the roof- and since we used scrap pieces of 2x4 to jut the roof out that extra bit- we didn't have one solid piece all the way around. As a result some parts of the bars couldn't connect to anything. We didn't see it as much of an issue. The rubber is stuck on for life, this was more of finishing job. Or so we thought.

We then began to measure and cut the 1x3s we had bought that morning. These were to frame out the last two windows. For whatever reason, these 1x3s were not the same thickness, and just barely wouldn't fit. It was aggravating for sure. But, that happening was sort of a good thing. Sort of.

Around that time, Mario, our neighbor with years of house construction experience came over to say hello. He looked around and gently let us know that two of our windows were not installed properly, and what we had planned to do for the last two windows was not the best idea either. Oh, and we put the termination bars on upside down, and there shouldn't be gaps. So after a few sentences, the entire Saturday was negated and we are set back. We now have to remove the two top windows on the front side- of course, the HUGE one. Not to mention all that foam in the cracks. We have to dig them out and re-install again. That's one whole weekend for sure.

It was a combination of the 90 percent or higher humidity, heat, the relentless work we have put in thus far, the already building frustration and general burnt-out-ness that just needed a "failed inspection" to burst the bubble. We both felt defeated and exhausted, knowing what we had to undo and redo. We decided to clean up shop for the day, and call it a weekend. We both came to the conclusion that we really just needed a day off where we weren't doing something on the house. We didn't want to cultivate any kind of resentment for the project. Lately, we have only been associating really unpleasant working conditions and tedious/difficult tasks with the house. It was time to come up for air.

So on Sunday, we slept in, took our time getting ready for the day, went and bought a small inflatable pool, and set it up in my Dad's backyard. There was something therapeutic about sitting in lawn chairs, with our shins half submerged in chilly water. Despite the wretched heat and humidity, we felt comfortable for the first time in many days. As the cold water slowly cooled our bodies, it seemed to cool our tempers and perspectives too. We stared on at our tiny house, and despite what we had learned just the day before, found ourselves smiling and making positive remarks to one another. The biggest thing we told ourselves was: Yes, there are mistakes, but each one can be FIXED. Before we knew it, we were talking out how we would go about tackling each job. Onward!

Mistakes are par for the course. They allow you to truly appreciate when things are going really well.

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