Categories
Arizona Uncategorized

Calamity Janis at Work

Before I tell you about my bad week, here’s the current photo of the house! Maybe I should call is “Casa Morada” (Purple House).  When I first moved to Ecuador, I rented a place called The Purple House! But mine is much cuter. It seemed to take forever do get each thing done; partly because that dark color took a coat of primer plus FOUR coats of paint! With an hour to dry between each coat. I still need to paint the door but I’m searching for the perfect color.

DSCN7671

Last week brought some amazing sunrises:

DSCN7663

And sunsets:

DSCN7660

I finally cooked that free turkey from the Food Bank that I got before Christmas, on my little Weber Q2200 grill. I nested three disposable lasagna pans from the Dollar Tree (2/$100) and put little rolled-up balls of aluminum foil between the first and second pans, to insulate the bottom from the worst of the heat.  Plopped Mr. Turkey in, basted it with butter and then had to deal with the grill lid. The turkey was too big to be able to close the grill lid, so I propped it open with a stick and rigged up a larger hood with heavy duty foil. And had to use sticks to make it stay in place!  Good thing it wasn’t a windy day.

DSCN7664

Even with the foil lid, I lost a lot of heat and could only keep it at 275 °, but it cooked just fine in about 2 1/2 hours, and came out looking beautiful!

DSCN7666

And yes, it’s sitting on my bed! That’s the only place in here that was large enough. It was very tasty…moist and juicy! Five days later Roxie and I are still eating it, but tonight’s dinner will see the end of it. It was good but I’m so glad it’s gone!

So..the bad stuff. Really, I was lucky; it could have been so much worse! But I don’t know if I’m too tired, too old, careless, or just have a death wish.  First off, you know those big 25′ metal tape measures that whirl back into the case? Did you know that if you accidentally get your finger in the way, it makes the biggest, deepest paper cut ever? Yes. It does. That’s what started it off. A couple days later, I stuck my ring finger in the circular saw! I was cutting a very small piece of 1×6 and there wasn’t much room to hold it. I felt it bite and jerked my hand away and was sooo afraid to look! But it was just the tiniest cut, way smaller than the measuring tape cut. I could barely squeeze out a drop of blood. Boy, was that lucky! (Stupid, but lucky) Here’s my circular saw injury. Pardon all the paint.

Saw Cut

Then the third thing. Bad things come in threes, right? So I should be good to go now for a long time. The other day I went around the back of the bushes to rearrange the solar fairy lights. Coming back out, my foot got caught on a root and I fell like a giant oak…right on my face in the dirt! It’s a wonder the neighbors didn’t report feeling an earthquake, and I’m just lucky I didn’t hit my face or head on the tree roots or pallets that were right in my path.  I skinned both knees a little bit, got a giant bruise on the side of one knee (must have hit something besides the dirt), smashed my nose and the nosepiece of my glasses pushed into the bridge of my nose real hard…had an instant bruise there that later spread to 2 black eyes, but only a little, just in the inner corners so it doesn’t look awful. And a little gash on the back of my hand. The BACK of my hand??? Yeah…those hands….where WERE they when they should have been breaking my fall???  Apparently they were just dangling at my sides.

I got up real quick, you know how you do, in case someone is looking you have to pretend you’re OK, ha ha! I hobbled right in and put the homeopathic Arnica gel on all the hurts; already had a hand-sized bruise coming up on the inside fat part of my knee. It really works good…I ended up with just a bruise along the edges of that one, no bruises on my nose and just that little bit in the inside corners of each eye. But boy the next day I felt like I’d been run over by a bus!  Even those useless do-nothing arms had the audacity to hurt! Strangely enough, my glasses didn’t even get scratched. Good ol’ $50 Zenni mail-order glasses!

So that’s pretty much my week. Here’s hoping this next week goes a lot smoother, and involves less Band-Aids and Arnica.

 

 

 

Categories
Arizona Uncategorized

New Shutters!

Ok so I haven’t made a whole lot of progress. I decided to work on a frivolous task first….my purple shutters! I cut all the wood and sanded it with my new $6.99 Harbor Freight palm sander. It works great! I went and got a quart of “Perfectly Purple” paint, only to find that it wasn’t perfect at all. It looked good on those tiny paint chips, but in real life, not so good. The lavender color on the house is a bluish “cool” color and Perfectly Purple is a reddish “warm” color, so they clashed. It may have been fine for someone else but my fussy little brain kept screaming “IT’S JUST WRONG”! and I would not have been able to live with it. I did do a coat of primer and 3 coats of Perfectly Purple on the first shutter, just to make sure. Then today I had to go to town for some new drill bits because I broke two, and I got a $3.48 sample size of a cool dark purple,  Yup, that’s it! Since I only have that small amount, I guess I will continue to paint everything with the original color and just do a final coat on the outside only with the new color, and hope the sample is enough to do all 4 shutters. What do you think? I love it! It’s frustrating to spend 3 days and end up with only ONE shutter done, but now I know what I’m doing and I have another one all ready to put together.

DSCN7652

I haven’t ever used these woodworking bar clamps before, but they were on sale at Harbor Freight for only $3 each. I’m loving them!

Clamps

I also made a little pallet porch, but I need to put some OSB or plywood on top because the top slats are are little too far apart.  I have a pile of used OSB that might contain something I can use. I was too tired to paw through the pile after moving and stacking pallets to find some good ones, and the top piece on the OSB pile is almost a full sheet, so it’s really heavy. Maybe tomorrow. I’m trying to figure out if I want a porch. I think so, but maybe not quite as big as a pallet. I probably want some kind of rain protection overhead, too. Hahah, rain!? What’s that? They tell me it does rain here during the summer Monsoon season.

DSCN7650
Pallet Porch

I have mentioned before that I am eligible to get free food from the local Food Bank. So last Wed. I went up early, at 10 a.m. Never again! There were 25 people in line in front of me, not counting the 2 Indian women who saw a friend ahead of me and took cuts. (Grrr) It took more than an hour to get through the line, and my knees were not happy. Usually I go around noon and there’s no waiting. I drew a chance for a turkey or chicken, and I got a 12# turkey! I already had a turkey breast so I’m seeing a LOT of turkey in my future! With no oven, I guess I’ll have to try and cook it on the bbq grill. I’m pretty sure the grill lid won’t shut but maybe I can make a hood out of heavy duty foil.  They also gave us some broccoli and pretty purple cauliflower. (Never have seen it purple!) Anyway, ICK. I thought maybe the neighbors could use it, so I took it up there in the box it came in.  I explained that I’d gotten it at the Food Bank and that I didn’t like it, and could they use it? She looked a little perplexed but said “Sure!”. So I stayed and chatted for just a couple minutes and then as I was leaving, she ran in the kitchen and came back with an apple and an orange and said “here, take these”. She’s from Russia, and as I was walking back to the car I wondered, did she think I gave her broccoli and cauliflower as a Christmas present??? Maybe she thinks it’s some crazy American custom!

I had Christmas dinner a few days early, because I bought that turkey breast on sale and have no freezer….I had to cook it once it thawed out. But I had leftovers on Christmas day, and they were just as good the 3rd time around! I wanted to cook it on my little Weber Q gas grill but it was a really windy day and it kept blowing the flame around. So I brought it in and cooked it on top of the stove in my heavy dutch oven with just a little bit of water in the bottom of the pan. It turned out amazing, even though I let it get a little overdone. It was done in less than 1 1/2 hours, and very tender and juicy.   I also had Stove Top Stuffing, gravy and mashed potatoes. And cranberry applesauce. Yum.

Christmas here was low-key. I worked on my shutters and read a new book most of the day. In the afternoon my Russian neighbor came over and invited me to their place that evening but I turned it down. That’s exactly the kind of thing I DON’T want! I like my solitude. I guess I never should have given her those veggies for Christmas!!

I have a lovely new road! Until last week, my “road” was just a two-track extending from the existing county-maintained road.  The first 60′ or so were nothing but rocks…big and small. I learned to keep to the far right so the big ones wouldn’t clunk on the bottom of the car.

DSCN7643
Road Before

Then the road scraper came through and I heard it and RAN up to talk to the guy. He said that they only develop the roads when someone lives there, but he would tell his supervisor and they’d get it done soon. He was a young really sweet and kind Indian guy.

Well…it was only 3 or 4 days later when here he comes again!

DSCN7644

He pulled up dirt from below my place to cover all the rocks. He said some of them were too big and they’d break his blade if he tried to grade them out. Now it’s a real road, smooth as a baby’s bottom! I hope they can come back out with gravel pretty soon. Actually here they use cinders. There are cinders everywhere! All of the rocks on my property (and there are many) are cinders, large and small.

Road
Road After

 

My other neighbors Candace and Frank took their RV and all 3 dogs and went to relatives for Christmas and I fed their cat. In return,  I got to do a load of laundry. Thank goodness I decided to do my laundry just a few days after they left, because the cat left a dead rabbit right next to the laundry room door!  I had my arms full of dirty clothes and didn’t see it, and stepped on it with my bare feet. Ugh!  I threw it over the fence into the field next door. (The rabbit, not the cat)

Oh gee I have to put in some kind of product link to Amazon…..how about this? I ordered a Kreg Jig! Until a few months ago I swear I had never heard of a Kreg Jig, but now seems like everywhere I turn, people are using one. It makes angled holes to join two pieces of wood together (making a corner). I’m going to be needing one. Here’s the one I got: Kreg Jig   Hey I think I just figured out how to insert a LINK so you don’t have to copy and paste any more! Wow, I’m feeling very smart!

Categories
Arizona Uncategorized

Day Two Tiny House Build

Wow! By the end of the second day, the shed was complete! Three guys, 1 1/2 days, done! I liked how the windows looked before they were installed but now I’m not happy. It’s not anything I can remedy though, so I’ll suck it up and deal with it. I wanted 24×36 single hung windows and these are 3×3 sliders, due to a last-minute problem with the windows they ordered. (They came in with frosted glass!) I really think they are too big for the size of the wall. Not to mention, now I don’t have any space left for wall cabinets in the kitchen, and there may not be enough space between the door and window for the propane heater. I had it all planned soooo carefully! Sigh. OK. I’m just going to go with the flow. Really. Soon.

 

DSCN7637

I do love the color! Yes, it’s lavender! (Behr Foxglove, to be exact). I never thought I had a single girly-girl gene in me but apparently there was one hiding somewhere. I have to build shutters and windowboxes and they’ll be painted deep purple, along with the door, or maybe I’ll leave the door white. I’ll paint the other stuff first and see how it looks.  I think it’ll be great! I’ve been thinking about this color combination for a couple years now.

I keep coming up with things that have to be done before insulation, when all I want to do is get it insulated and move in!! But first I have to build the studwalls for the bathroom, closet and a short 2′ wall between the door and the end of the kitchen counter. And then I have to run the wiring.  And I woke up out of a sound sleep at 4 a.m. and remembered that I also have to run the plumbing before I insulate! Gad, it’s going to be MONTHS before I can move. I don’t plan on getting a water heater right now but I guess I’d better plumb for hot and cold water at the sink & shower. I can get a little propane instant hot water heater for around $100 on ebay, and it would be nice to have someday.

I ran into another problem, with the propane heat. I had planned on getting one of those vent-free propane wall heaters for around $120. Well. Thank goodness I found out before I bought one and installed it….they don’t work at higher elevations! Some are only good to 2000′, some are good to 4500′ but for my elevation here (6700′) I seem to only have two choices….a direct-vent heater that’s way bigger than I need for $500-600, or another Olympian Wave heater like I have and love in the camper, only bigger. They are good to 12,000′.  The problem with the vent-free heaters is that they now have those low-oxygen sensors and at higher elevation, there’s less oxygen so it shuts itself down all the time! So I guess I’ll be going with the Olympian Wave 8 heater like this: http://amzn.to/2AZJ4VH (Affiliate Link). It has 3 settings; 4200, 6000 and 8000 btu. I was hoping to get a heater that had a thermostat but this will be OK; I get up once or twice a night anyway and can adjust it then, if needed. Hate to have to pay $300 instead of $120 though. That’s one whole month’s construction budget, and I’ll have to have it before I move in, unless Spring arrives before I get everything else done!

Yesterday I went to town and ran a bunch of errands. It’s so exhausting! But I got some terrific bargains at the thrift shops! I got a big bag of 16 electrical switches, one dimmer and one outlet $3 at one thrift store, plus 4 juice glasses and 2 large drinking glasses for $.25 each. The second thrift store was having a “yard sale” and everything in their outdoor area was 1/2 price! I got all the switch & outlet plates I need for $1.50, a brand new still-in-the-box smoke alarm for $1, a pine coffee table for $5, and a sofa sleeper for $37.50! Yeah..I bought a sofa. I have to rent a trailer and go back on Tuesday to pick it up. And I know it’s going to be in the way while I’m trying to work on the house, but I couldn’t resist. The upholstery is in great shape but it’s that old 80’s navy, burgundy & green plaid. I’ve been reading up on fabric painting with Chalked Paint and apparently it will cover anything, and the fabric feels fairly soft afterward, so I’ll probably try that. If that doesn’t work, maybe a slipcover.  http://amzn.to/2CPv9is

I don’t want a coffee table but this one has 2 very nice slabs of butcher block wood that I can use for another project I have in mind.  I just have to take it apart and sand them a little. Maybe I can even find a use for the two Shaker-style ends. It says “Made in Vietnam” so I have no idea what kind of wood it is; it has that yellowish Pine color. I’ll probably whitewash it to tone down the yellow. The top is 20″x40″ and the bottom shelf is 16″x36″. Solid wood pieces like this would have cost more than $30 at Home Depot!

DSCN7638