There is a great deal more to that chapter and I’ll eventually get back to it but, to move the larger story along, Sally and I were now left alone to build our cabin. And we weren’t really ready.
Of course, we had all the raw materials and I had tons of previously stored and transported junk and equipment on site. I had tools up the wazoo and we were stocked with food and water and even had a box of wine and a few bottles of scotch. We had the stuff. But did we have the right stuff?
Neither Sally nor I had ever built before. Not from scratch. We had done most of the work on the boat shed (no running water, no bathroom, no real kitchen – just a campstove, etc. etc.) and that turned out good but it was just twelve by sixteen. We really had no idea where to start on a house.
But that had been taken care of for us. Kinda. The boys had gotten us off to a good start. We had a level square platform of 900 square feet looming in the air at the top of the slope. The fact that we had expected a great deal more was beside the point. We had a floor on a good foundation and the outside walls were up. We got some How-to books from the library and decided to just carry on.
“Right!”, I said, rubbing my hands briskly, “Just where do you think we should start, sweetie?”
“Don’t you know? What do the books say?”
“Well, all the books start at the beginning, the foundation. None of them really have a starting point beginning with the rough exterior walls. I mean we are somewhere around chapter four in a 20 chapter book, I guess. But, exactly how do we pick up the pieces from where Wayne and the boys left off?”
“I dunno. I was cooking. What was the last thing done?”
“Last thing done, I think, was completing the perimeter walls. When that was done, we were all pretty wet and exhausted but we were happy. And then we quit and everyone went home. But Wayne had also placed some second floor joists as the first walls were going up. I am pretty sure he was thinking of completing the second floor next. In fact, that little temporary shelf-floor stuck up there was to be used for that, I am sure. I think we should now finish the upper floor joists.”
“Right! Second floor joists it is. You get some joists and I’ll get the instruction book!”
And that is how the house was built. One step following the next and the books telling us what order to follow. It was mid May when we started.
By mid October, the house had been completed to lock-up. The roof was on. Doors and windows in. Outside cedar cladding had been installed. The building could handle the coming winter.
But we couldn’t.
Firstly, we were exhausted. I was falling asleep around 8:00 pm and somewhat reluctant to get back up before 8:00 the next morning. Trying to get stiff muscles to even move took a long while. Plus we were living in the 12 x 16 boat shed and that was also the space in which we stored everything. We had a small antique propane heater for warmth and, now that Fall was well underway, we were using it already to capacity. We just couldn’t imagine working on the house through the winter. Frankly, I found it hard to imagine ever completing the house at this point but we knew we couldn’t keep going. We had to stop. And so we did.
“So. We can’t keep working throughout the winter. And we can’t live here. What is the plan?”
“What does the book say?”
“It says, ‘Go to Mexico. Live on the beach. Return in the Spring’.
“Those Sunset books are great, aren’t they? Did they happen to mention how we were going to do that?”
“Yeah. It was very specific. It said ‘camp in car and then camp on beach.’ We can do that. We’ve done it before. We jump in the car and we camp all the way down and all the way back and, while we are there, we just keep on camping. Piece of cake.”
“OK. Let’s go. It is starting to get cold.”
The rest of the winter was logged in at: http://hippyredux.blogspot.com/2007/02/baja-diary-2007.html
Back to the main story next blog.