Tiny House Build Week 13 – Back to Work

I know last week wasn’t technically Week 13… I think it would be more like Week 25 in real time… but we’re going to stick with actual time served here, for the sake of my sanity.  I have enough to think about without doing (more) math.

Or as one of my Mom’s friends said, it’s Wild Rose Tiny House, Season 2!  After the summer hiatus, watch as Kirsten messes up everything… all the time!

Just kidding.  I mean, I do have 1/2 a house to show for all the work I did in the spring.  I’m rusty, and back to being terrified/anxious about messing everything up.  I’m going to tack a picture of the empty trailer next to a picture of the house with walls, roof and skylight above my bed to remind myself every day that I felt like this before, and the house exists, and everything is going to be just fine.


I arrived home from Alaska on Friday the 14th, and Dad came over on Sunday to start working on the windows.  While I was in Alaska, Mom took my two stained glass windows to be repaired.  The big window would have cost far and away more than it was worth, so I am down a window and need to find a new one.  Dad and I drilled holes through the corners of all the other window frames on the inside of the house and then using these holes as a guide, cut the Tyvek housewrap away in an X shape (to be wrapped around the framing before putting in the windows) and then using a long straight edge, marked the outline of the windows and cut them out with a skilsaw.

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Then we test fit the first window (seen above, it will be in the toilet closet).  We found that I had left way too much space in all the window frames… so will have to fill in before any more of the windows can be installed.  We stopped after cutting out two windows so we can cut them to the proper size once they are filled in.  I really wanted the visual progress of getting them all cut out and this was frustrating, but hey Frustrated is my new middle name!  I’m starting to accept it.

We moved onto the door, but Dad thinks we should wait until I get siding and flooring so we can position the door jamb correctly.  So we just stopped altogether, both being tired from working like dogs all summer.  I took a nap.

I think I did decide to leave the door this blue color since it matches the roof, and paint the door jamb and the white vinyl windows purple instead

I did a lot of napping last week.  940 hours of work in 71 days will take it out of you.  I also took all my stuff that was scattered in various boxes and bags and suitcases and organized it down into about 10 plastic tubs.  Nice to see it all laid out in an orderly fashion, it was driving me crazy all higgeldy piggeldy the way I left it after the move down to Monroe and the madness of building/getting ready for Alaska in May.

this is 95% of my physical possessions, not counting clothes, truck, rifle, and tiny house.  I approve!
this is 95% of my physical possessions, not counting clothes, truck, rifle, and tiny house. I approve!

Wednesday I ordered a Travel Berkey water filter, as well as a small chest freezer and temperature controller.  The theory is that if you use the temperature controller to keep the freezer at a warmer temperature (around 32 degrees) it uses less electricity since freezers are better insulated, and the cold air doesn’t rush out when you open the top, as it would on a front opening fridge.  We’ll see.  I also ordered a Kill A Watt electricity usage monitor to test it.

Thursday I headed out to Olympia and Portland.  I had two housing interviews and a job interview lined up in Olympia, where I’ll be going to school at The Evergreen State College for the next year or so.  The house won’t be done in time for classes to start next month so I have to park myself somewhere.  On the way home Monday I picked up five boxes of wool insulation from Oregon Shepherd.  Here is a video explaining better than I could why this stuff is awesome:



It smells like sheep and I love it already.  I got loose fill wool.  From what I understand, you have to fluff it out before you install it in the wall.  I bought 450 sq ft of containment fabric… you tack it up across the studs and then stuff the insulation behind it.  You can just fill the wall cavity behind your interior siding, but I’m not sure what I’ll be using so got the fabric just in case.

I got home last night to find my Berkey, chest freezer and temperature controller were here waiting.  The Berkey took a bit to put together, but the water tastes delicious and it’s great to have a good supply of drinking water out in the bunkhouse where I’m staying.  The chest freezer… is frickin’ gigantic.  It is exactly the dimensions I expected, but is just visually so much bigger than I imagined.  It seems absurd to have something that big in my tiny kitchen.  I suppose I could keep it outside on the porch I’ll eventually build around the house?  It does run very quietly and with the temperature controller, only seems to click on every couple hours for a minute or two.  We’ll see.



Tomorrow, looking at siding and flooring.  Oh, and I got the job and a room in Olympia with a huge backyard where I can move the tiny house, probably.  Bring on the Fall!


Find What You Love and Let It Kill You

The season is over and I’m home now… or what passes for home when what you have left of physical possessions is in boxes under a carport at your parents’ place, next to the half-finished shell of what will eventually be your tiny house.  I’m overwhelmed with an exhaustion borne of 71 days of work in a row, 940 work hours, 50 million salmon, 30,000+ fish tickets and invoices, two plane rides, and caffeine withdrawal.  And a sadness that isn’t so much loneliness as it is the sensation of having 7 limbs cut off at once and wondering how you are supposed to get by without them?  Those 7 limbs being my coworkers/salmon family.  

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I feel like we lived through 2 entire separate seasons this summer.  The first was relaxed and full of fun and easy-going work (even if that work was 80-112 hours a week) alongside a growing anxiety as the salmon didn’t come… and didn’t come… and didn’t come… until it was after 4th of July (the traditional peak of the season) and we started to prepare ourselves for a bust season.  The second season started on July 11th, when I came to work after having been gone 8 hours to find that the fish had come in force, all at once, we were on limits, and everything was about to hit the fan.  That second season involved a record-setting amount of fish tickets and invoices for us to process, the announcement of a price that was far lower than the fishermen had hoped for and some other company specific things that were devastating to the fleet, a lot of huffing and door slamming and yelling and tears, and the salmon a never-ending flood up the rivers until we were all begging for it to stop.  And it didn’t.  We were still getting huge deliveries a week after the season would normally have begun to wind down.  We worked more consecutive 16-hour days this summer than I ever have before.  There were a few days where I felt that I couldn’t take one more second of it.  But I could.  And I did.

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But don’t let any of that make you think I didn’t have one of the best summers of my life.  These yearly seasons of sleep deprivation and 24/7 companionship are my biggest teacher and I always come out of it changed.  I flew home from Anchorage on August 14th, terrified out of my mind as I always am on long flights, and to soothe myself I stared out the window at the mountains and waterways of Alaska, turquoise green and midnight blue and icy white mountaintops, and I thought about relationships, and love, and how if I took away anything from this summer it’s that nothing is guaranteed to us in life, not safety or comfort or joy but neither is sadness or heartbreak.  It all Is What It Is and all you can do is take each day as it comes, on it’s own terms, and live with it, and people too.  They are here one moment and might be gone the next, whether by choice or circumstance, and the best you can do is take what is offered as it is and let it fill you up rather than holding off for something you think you want more.  The love thrown my way this summer was enough to keep me going through the whole shitshow and probably the rest of the year, and I might have come home a broke-ass, 33 year old homeless unemployed high school drop-out divorcee but in life I count myself one seriously lucky woman.  

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Until next year, Alaska!