December 12, 2018

December Building Update

by Alan Beatts

Here we are at the end of another year.  It's been an interesting one for Borderlands, in the good, bad, and ugly(-ish) ways.  Mostly good, however.

Obviously, the biggest thing going on for us is the slow process of moving.  As regular readers know, I had expected the process to move faster, but the logic of doing the work ourselves versus hiring contractors has made the process slower but much, much cheaper.  All in all, it's to our advantage, but it has made for a substantially longer process that I expected going into it.  

Last month was the one year anniversary of starting work and it's kind of fun to look back on all that we've done.  Some of the highlights have been:

Taking a mass of ivy and concrete in the backyard and turning it into a set of lovely planters with actual plants growing in them.

Replacing the falling-down plywood and scrap around the yard with new redwood fences.

Building a shearwall across the back of the building so that it will withstand earthquakes much better than before.

Nailing reinforcing clips on to the ceiling joists to further improve the seismic resistance of the building.  Forty-five joists, four clips per joist, eight nails per clip, for a total of 1440 nails.  That is, in contractor terms, a s**t-ton of nails.

Patching and repairing about 1000 square feet of sheetrock and plaster wall (roughly half of the exterior walls).

Shifting 8 tons of brick for the backyard (which is still to be set in place, so we'll move it one more time before we're done).

Installing a 400-lb steel I-beam in the basement, and excavating well over 5 cubic yards of dirt for foundations.

Pouring 5 cubic yards of concrete into the holes we excavated.

Taking delivery of more than $3500 worth of wooden beams, some weighing 300-400 lbs, and then using them to reinforce the floor (that's a work still in progress but should be finished this weekend).

And, of course, endless dump-runs, sweeping, nail-pulling, more sweeping, and all the day-to-day of a construction job.

At times the work seems like it will never end but, in actuality, it's going quite well.  A job like this is always slow and all the work we're doing now to make sure that the place will suit for the next ten, or twenty, or thirty years is well worth the extra time.  But, darn it, at times I'd really like to just get moved and be done with it.

None of this would have been possible without the support of our sponsors and the folks who lent us the money to buy the building.  It also wouldn't have been possible without the hard-core crew of people who have been volunteering their time over the last year.  Many people have been kind enough to come by and lend a hand for a day or two, and I've very grateful to all of them. But, there is also a group of about a dozen people who have come to help regularly on many Sundays for months.  They are a great group and an absolute pleasure to work with.  It is their help, encouragement, good humor, and hard work that has made this the best construction job I've ever worked on. They are: Caroline Kaster, Jutta Degener, Canute Haroldson, Kelsey Dietz, David Gates, Jo Falcon, Bill Spears, Laura Mazzola, Emily Schaeffer, Josie Schaeffer, Carl Ueber, Dave La Point, Jim Lively, Melinda Rose, Cassie Beckley, and Zach Harper.  How they put up with me, week after week, is a bit of a mystery but I'm very glad that they do.

Where we stand now on the building is pretty good.  The concrete is all poured and so that brings to an end the Saga of the Beam of Eye, which I have posted for you amusement here - <>.  To say that I'm happy about it is the understatement of 2018.  With that done, we're working on reinforcing the floor joists (the big boards that support the actual floor).  Once that's finished, we're on to doing the last big structural work - reinforcing the front of the building (which is two posts, 10 feet long and 4" by 8", plus two beams 17' long and 7 1/4" by 9") and putting in the supports so we can expand the bathroom (also two posts, 12 feet long and 6" by 6" plus three beams, the biggest of which is 15 feet long and 5 1/4" by 16").  Those are both pretty big jobs since the beams weight hundreds of pounds each and are going 10-13 feet in the air.  But, once that's done, we can start doing the actual building of the walls and so forth.  So, it's all very exciting.

I still don't have a completion date and I'm not going to for a while since we're still at the "it'll take as long as it takes" stage.  But, we'll keep plugging along and I'll keep you posted on how it's going.

In closing, I hope that the holiday season treats you well and, more so, I wish you a peaceful and happy New Year.

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