Dear Family

I know I haven’t updated in a little while, but I’m here now to catch you up.

It has been a challenge to balance work with the build and everyday life. Normally, you have one job, then when you’re not at work, that’s free time. You can take the time to spend time with your significant other, your friends, and your family. You can spend time by yourself, which is quite necessary for us introverts. You can practice your hobbies, exercise, read, watch TV, go to the movies, eat 3 meals a day, and do the laundry. Even if you have a side project that you’re working on, you only work on that some of the time, while still taking time for everything else.

A tiny house build, however, can be all-consuming. I’ve jumped into a huge project with infinite unknowns and I almost never stop thinking about it. It’s a risky project, because any mistakes will have a huge affect later, so I’m constantly wondering if I’m doing everything right. I have nightmares that my roof sheathing has been ripped off and it’s raining directly into the house again. I’m still tense every time it rains!

I have two jobs, and while they’re both part time, I work weird hours and pick up extra shifts when people ask. Dylan works long days, sometimes not getting home until 8 o’clock at night after starting at 6am. So this month has not been as productive as the past two, especially since I lost my steam after dealing with the skylights.

This month I’m working 4 days on, 3 days off (unless I pick up more shifts like last week), and despite the rare consistency in my schedule, it’s been hard. I get home between 9 and 10:30 on days that I work, so keeping up with laundry and dishes and my own introvert time feels like a losing battle sometimes. Then, when I have my three days off, I don’t start building right away because I’m busy catching up on everything else, and Dylan’s usually at work. Then building gets pushed and pushed until we’re scrambling to try and get something done on the third evening. And as much as I don’t like mornings, building in the evening seems to make us very cranky.

I’m still trying to fit my life and the build into what feels like not enough time for everything. But when I get motivated, and I get out there, I run with it. Here’s what I’ve managed to squeeze in, rain, shine, morning or night:

☑ Cut the piece for the porch ceiling (but the temporary door needs to come off before we can put it up)

☑ Trimmed around the other wheel well (thanks Colby!)

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☑ Cut all the blocking to fit each space. I did the first half with Colby’s help on Saturday, but we didn’t finish all the pieces. So I went back out on Sunday to do the rest and had the saw inside the tiny house while it rained.

☑ Put up the drip edge on the eaves

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It was fun to hammer by hand for once instead of lugging around the nail gun.

I originally only bought enough drip edge for the sides of the house because my roofing comes with pieces to finish the front of the house. But the guy at the hardware store insisted I needed some on the front too, so I bought some just in case. I was there buying nails, tin snips, and picking up the custom drip edge for over the wheel wells. But I should’ve stuck to what I already knew, because when I got home and tested the drip edge with the roofing piece, there’s no way I can use both, and I’m going to use the roofing piece.

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Finally got to use my tool belt. 🙂

☑ Measured and marked where the skylights will go

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☑ Put up all the ice and water shield! It took a couple days working before and after work shifts, but it was easy and fun! I like being up on the roof, and for this, I was able to work by myself so Dylan didn’t have to get up on the roof. 😛

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Doing all the right overlapping 🙂

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And done! Easy!

Right now, Dylan and I are working on fixing an issue I discovered with the ridge board, which I will explain once we fix it, and getting the blocking up, which is tedious. After that, I need to cut out the windows, do a few little things, cut A LOT of nails because they don’t seem to sell the short ones in Canada, then get the house wrap up and the skylights in! Then it’s the window and door installation, roofing, and purple trim around the windows! Now that we’re nearing the end of July, we’re going to need to get a move on!

My goal is to get the exterior of the house, with maybe the exception of the siding (staining is going to be very time-consuming) done by August 31st. My sister and I leave for a road trip on September 1st, so that’s my deadline. That said, so long as I keep working on the house as much as I can, if I don’t get everything done before that, I’m not going to beat myself up. This build can be unpredictable and so can my life. I can still work on the house into September, and I’m still considering paying to get my siding installed for me, which would only take two days. August is going to be a big month. Let’s just hope more things are as easy as the ice and water shield was!

 

 

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Beams & Ridge Board!

Guess who’s making it happen? Me 🙂

Thursday after work Dylan, Bob, and I leveled the trailer.

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Then Friday morning before work I was out cutting my beams to length. I’m at Dylan’s using some of the tools over here, and I love the saw they have! It’s attached to a fold down table, has wheels, the whole blade slides as well as chops, and it has a laser! It’s so fun to use and I’m proud that I can confidently use it.

Dylan and I put up the loft supports and beams, so now I have a loft!

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So beautiful!

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I had to go to work, so securing the beams had to wait until Saturday. At my engineer’s recommendation, all the beams are resting on the horizontal 2x4s. The 2x4s are nailed to the studs, and the 4×4 beams are attached to the studs with nails in from the side:

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However, some of the studs had other studs right next to them so I wasn’t able to fit the nail gun or even a hammer in between. Dylan and I attached those beams with L brackets on the top and bottom, similar to how we attached the front porch post.

The last beam, closest to the wall, is only a 2×4. The way, I was able to nail it into the studs of the back wall, and the last beam is what will support the ends of my flooring up there.

I chose 4x4s instead of 2x6s (which both support about the same weight) partly for the look, and to save 2″ of headroom. 🙂

Walking underneath the beams gives me plenty of headroom and doesn’t feel cramped. It just seems cozy and protects me from the wind and sun. It’s truly becoming a shelter. ❤ Sometimes though, walking on the 6″ high stack of plywood that I still have in the house, I felt the need to duck, so it is a low ceiling for anyone taller than me. But we did have people over who are 6′ tall and they felt comfortable. So that’s good! The only thing to worry about now is the door, which is several inches shorter.

Being up in the loft is dreamy. Saturday was pretty sunny after some morning rain, and Sunday has been rainy-sunny-rainy-sunny all day, but I got the chance to sit up there and look at some fluffy white clouds in a bright blue sky. 😀

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I never want to get down!

On Saturday, after securing the beams, Dylan and I did what we could to prepare for the ridge board. He made a temporary piece for the porch, which I should’ve done ages ago:

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It’s not a work day without Tim’s 🙂

We nailed on some metal pieces at the top of the walls that the rafters would fit into, and I added some temporary nails at the peaks:

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These nails are to prevent the ridge board from falling to one side.

I had planned to get the ridge board up on Saturday, but my helpers were busy and it was getting late (we got a late start because of the rain), so it got pushed to Sunday. I also decided to buy more L brackets to connect the rafters to the ridge board instead of toenailing them, which meant I had to wait until stores open at noon on Sunday.

Oh, and I bought my own jigsaw:

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It wasn’t on sale, but I had enough Canadian Tire points that it only cost me $10. 🙂

By the time I got back from the hardware store at 12:30ish, Dylan had wrangled some hungover teenagers to help. 😛

Putting the board up wasn’t difficult, and as expected, just required a lot of holding while securing the rafters. I purposely only made 8 rafters in case my angles were a little off (so I could improve on the next set) but they lined up pretty well! Phew! The birdmouths have a bit of a gap vertically, but that might just be that the ridge board isn’t pushed as high as it should be in the middle, and that will get ironed out as I add more rafters. So, tada, I have a roof! At least, the start of one:

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For the first time, I was able to tarp the house properly over the top:

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Sitting up there, I know I made the right decisions about headroom. It feels so spacious, even on the sides! I have already hit my head once though. 😛

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It’s not pretty but it’s covered!

Now I can enjoy the rain again, knowing my floor isn’t getting rained on. 🙂

I’ve had such a lovely and productive weekend off. I’ve learned:

1. to always assume that what you want to get done in a day is going to get pushed to the next day and…

2. it’s better to work for a few hours every day than try to get everything done all in one long day. Little steps!

And I even managed to go camping on Friday night with friends. It’s all about balance. 🙂

Until next time! ❤

Starting Small

So I’ve discovered that I’m terrified of nail guns. I’m not gonna let that stop me, but it has slowed me down.

I bought a nail gun and some nails:

After realizing the air compressor we have is too small, I managed to borrow a bigger one.

I finally got the gun working with the new tank, did some practice nails, and made a little practice frame:

It’s amazing how sturdy it is!

It was so quick to put that together! I think though with the speed of a nail gun you sacrifice some accuracy, at least in the beginning. The pieces aren’t flush, but I’m sure I’ll get better with practice. I’m nervous about how difficult the nails will be to remove when I make a framing mistake, but I’ll deal with that when it happens.

I’m stuck on a few framing issues. It turns out that the roof line I want, even though it looks very simple on the outside, is so complicated! Especially because of where I want to put the windows in the end walls.

Speaking of windows, I contacted the window place the supposedly sells operable octagons, and four phone calls later they were able to give me a quote: $1285. That’s PER WINDOW. “Everything has to be cut by hand.” Apparently they haven’t sold an operable octagon in over 20 years. So that’s out. I’ve decided instead to have a fixed octagon in the front of the house for the look. I wouldn’t be getting up into the storage loft to open and close a window that often anyway, although it’s a shame I won’t be able to get cross ventilation. In the sleeping loft, I’ll have an operable square, because I just know I’ll regret it in the middle of summer if I put in a fixed window.

Wish me luck on my walls!

The Death of a Saw

Dylan and I worked on the subfloor today, and after one cut, the saw just died. My dad’s saw is older than me though. I didn’t kill it; it was just its time.

We went out and bought a new saw on sale. There were so many options and almost all of them were on sale, but I just went with the same brand. It was the last day of the sale, so maybe it was meant to be 😛

Luckily, the new saw works with the fences I already made. And it’s so smooth to cut with!

The second piece of plywood is now in place:

There was a lot of fiddling around when we tried to put this piece in place. The trailer isn’t perfect, and we didn’t account for that. We made some adjustments and we will measure in more places before we cut future pieces. Hopefully the floor will work out at the end of the trailer! 😛

It’s important to remember in building that theory and practice are never the same. Fit your pieces to your other pieces; don’t make them to the measurements they were supposed to be. For example, my trailer is supposed to be 90″ wide. In some places it’s exactly 90″, in others it’s more or less than 90″. We realized that after we put exactly 90″ of plywood on. Things change as you build, so measure as you go; I learned that with my end table. But also make sure things are square!

Oh, and if you use tongue and groove for your subfloor (which is recommended), be aware you’ll have to make oval holes for some of your rods so you can slide sheets into place.

I really need to work on getting out of bed earlier… The bugs get SO bad in the evenings.

I’m a Turtle

When I’m not procrastinating and I’m actually working on something, I work slowly. I rarely feel the need to rush. Things will get done when they get done or when I get around to them. Things like traffic and waiting rooms don’t really stress me out. If someone else is relying on me and I care about what they think, I will hurry, but even then, I find it hard to work quickly. I always fall back into my unhurried pace.

In high school, when I had a big project to do, I would always stubbornly want to do it all at once. Then I wouldn’t start until the very last minute because I never had that much consecutive time. Since I’ve graduated and started work on some of my own little projects, I’ve gotten better at doing a bit at a time.

So when things with the build take longer than I’d guessed, I’m okay with that. I’m doing a lot of things I’ve never done before and I want to get the important things right. As long as I do some work, I’ve made progress and I’m happy with that. Maybe that’ll change when it’s the end of summer and I’m running out of time to seal up the house before winter, but I’m not going to stress about that now! Hurrying is only going to cause mistakes, so there’s not much I can do to speed up the process except work as often as I can.

On Saturday, it rained a little and the plastic held up pretty well.

Water did get into one section at the very end, but I dried it off and there’s no harm done. The spray foam, once cured, does reject bulk water, but I still want to keep as much rain out of it as I can.

The rain stopped mid-afternoon, so I went out and did some measuring before work. The crossmembers were supposed to be 16″ OC, but as I’ve said, trailer companies don’t think like construction workers. Not only are the crossmembers a little skinnier than I’d like, NONE of them are evenly spaced. The distances range from 14″ to 20″. My mum and I spent an hour and a half calculating distances and trying to figure out where to put all the plywood pieces so that the ends land on crossmembers. The two sides also have to be staggered so the seams don’t line up and create a flex point.

Then, this morning, we spent another hour and a half discussing skill saws versus table saws. Apparently, table saws are super difficult to use with sheets of plywood. I haven’t opened the table saw box yet, so I might end up returning it. We went to Canadian Tire and I bought a new skill saw blade meant for plywood and an impact driver on sale.

Hopefully this lil guy will get me through my sub-floor!

Hopefully this lil guy will get me through my subfloor!

Being a person who likes to sleep in and who also works evenings doesn’t leave a lot of time for building. I managed to do a couple cuts with Mum’s help, but then I had to get ready for work. I cut off the edge of one piece to use the manufactured edge as a make-shift fence:

First cut!

Then I used that to start on the first piece of subfloor. Of course the first time I tried, the fence moved. Then I tried to cut off a quarter inch to make the edge straight, but that was too thin of a piece to cut off. But third time’s the charm!

It's straight, I checked!

It’s straight now, I checked!

I cut off a half inch the third time and tried my best not to push on the fence too much. Don’t worry, I started with the board that has the most excess, so this piece still needs to get cut down more. I didn’t cut it too short 🙂

I’m feeling pretty disorganized and unprepared, but I just need to get my tools organized and make a step-by-step to-do list. Tomorrow I’m going to get one more sheet of plywood and some more glue, plus some wood to make a better make-shift fence. I work the lunch shift, but I’ll be building after that!

And I remembered my sunblock 😛

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Quotes

"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris