and sometime soon i will finally stop babbling about wagon repair
Eight hours of computer screen in one day, even if it is only two days a week, is enough to cure me of the internet. And so I show up here less and less, even though I occasionally write to you in my head, putting together sentences I’d maybe use to tell you about commuting to work or sanding floors or staying in a medieval castle youth hostel. Instead I forget them and disappear for weeks at a time.
But today it rained. I can’t work inside the wagon because the water-tight floor coating is still drying, I didn’t want to sand untreated boards in the rain, and there is a concert in the house tonight, which means the one place I could have painted and stored the freshly-coated and/or painted boards (for the bed and shelves) will be occupied by musicians and their instruments and people drinking beer. So I read an entire Philip K. Dick book (Clans of the Alphane Moon) in bed and am finally remembering to stop by and say hello.
In parting, I present to you evidence of the astonishing progress I have made, complete with before and after photos so that perhaps you too will feel as astonished as I do. To those of you who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the wagon renovation project: do not despair, in a matter of weeks it will be over and I will get back to writing about trash and marauding and gorilla conspiracy.
Circa December 2009:
Yesterday (July 2010):
Seeing those two pictures right up next to each other makes me feel like I am a high five.
suddenly things were moving so fast
Though in the meantime I’ve hit another rough patch, yesterday was a glorious day.
The ceiling, as it was when we started yesterday afternoon:
The final turn of the screw:
Fucking finished. Enter hail of exclamation points. Enter cartwheels. Enter tired feet and high fives:
The rough spot I’ve hit today is that I’ve started sanding the floor, and that my belt sander overheats every ten minutes, and I have to turn it off. It hasn’t started melting the machine’s innards yet, but it has melted a couple of sand paper belts out of whack. Plan b? Be patient and do other things while waiting for the machine to cool off in the refrigerator between two foot sections of beautiful, beautiful sand-colored wood floor.
It looks like I won’t be finished by my birthday after all, but I am so close that the extra few days it will take to coat the floor are irrelevant. I had sort of gotten to feeling like I would never see the end of this project. Wow.
pictures full of light
Two days ago it finally rained. Black clouds rolled in, and a strong wind swirled dust from the construction site across the street everywhere. There was dust in our eyes and mouths as we scampered from wagon to wagon, making sure that windows and doors were shut tight.
The heat broke, and we all stood outside, actually cold for the first time in weeks. Then we all sopped back to our wagons to change into dry clothes. But when the window in the kitchen blew open, water got in my camera and now the pictures I take are a bit overexposed (that is what it’s called when there’s too much light, isn’t it?) All the same, I promised you pictures…
Some more pictures
Hemp insulation has turned out to be incredibly easy to work with. Out of 5 mm packs (that is, sheets of insulation that were 5 mm thick), the salesman had sold me 100 mm packs. Because the sheets are made of layers of hemp fibers piled on top of each other, you can stick your hands into their middles and rip them apart lengthwise. We ripped, measured, cut (with scissors), and installed, tacking string up along the way to hold the insulation in until we got around to putting up the ceiling boards.
We finished in about an hour and a half. A miracle! Frau Doktor said she’d needed days to insulate her most recent project’s ceiling. Cutting styrofoam is a pain in the ass, and it’s easy to fuck up. With the hemp you can just cut a centimeter too big and press it a bit so that it fits tightly in the space between beams.
Afterward, we started installing shiny new ceiling boards. Though my heart remains a little broken that the old boards all (well, almost all) broke as I pulled them down, the new ones look really fucking good. Today we’ll finish, and tomorrow I reckon I’ll be back to boast about it.
chicken little says the sky is falling
Hemp! Hemp insulation sheets! Just returned from a building supply store marathon (four! in one day! gurgle.) I now have everything that I will need to finish the inside of my wagon. Everything. It is impossible. A finished wagon—this wagon, finished—has belonged to the realm of dreams for so long that even as I watch it creep closer and closer to completion I still can’t really believe it.
Hemp insulation sheets are really fucking expensive, by the way. But my ceiling—final resting place of said hemp sheets—is curved, and cheap-o Styrofoam isn’t bendable. Hemp is. And it breathes, which means that moisture doesn’t get stuck in the wood, which means that the walls don’t mold. Not as quickly as they might otherwise anyway. With things built out of wood, it is really just a matter of time. And I don’t want to do this again for the next ten years. At least.
So hemp I chose, and I had to drive all the way to Darmstadt to get it. Regular building supply stores don’t sell hippy shit. Those bastards. (By now you’ve probably noticed that although I enjoy making hippy jokes, I not only like hippies, I probably could be qualified as one of their ranks. Just to make that clear to any offended hippies reading this.) The cheap-o option was fiber glass shit, and I have no desire to put that shit in my ceiling, let alone live with it in there knowing I probably fucked something up and have little fiber glass particles raining down on me from some little crack.
Tomorrow Frau Doktor and I will put up the insulation and the ceiling, and I will euphorically post more pictures. After that I’ll sand the floor and coat it with water-resistant yacht stuff. And then I can move in. Hallelujah.
This is what hemp insulation looks like. Three packs, which will insulate my ceiling and part of the still-open wall, cost 130 Euros. Ouch. One pack of fiber glass poison-on-a-roll would have cost me 16 Euros. No wonder nobody buys organic. But I have my priorities, and fiber glass is not one of them.
I’ve been spending most of my time lately painting. Tonight I’ll put the last coat on the window frames and be done with that. I wanted to do stripes in the grooves along all of the walls, but it didn’t work out on the thin boards, so only the thick ones got it (as you can see on the left next to the window). Probably all for the best. Stripes tend in a circus-y direction I may have quickly regretted.
Last winter I painted the area around my future bed dark blue. Then I kept seeing pictures of rooms, and rooms in films, with shale gray walls and green-so-dark-it’s-almost-black trim. I became obsessed, changed my mind, bought new paint, and did it all again. And did I mention how the yellow paint I bought last winter turned into moon cake in the cans? Had to buy that again too. So much for thrift. But the dumpster didn’t seem like it was about to provide me with paint in just the color scheme I wanted, so fuck it. At least the wagon itself was free.
Tomorrow look for finished-ceiling pictures…