This year has been strange so far. I seem to recall last year, we had been up and working on the cabin from the beginning of May. This year, I feel like we’ve hardly accomplished anything.
This post is going to be completely unorganized. Because my thoughts are completely unorganized. You know why? Because the cabin is completely unorganized. And I don’t know about you but I have a hard time functioning in disaster mode.
It’s not like the world fell apart but (I’m sure those of you who have worked on renos and upgrades and tiny cabins/houses can attest) nothing ever gets done quickly or all at the same time.
Which is not to say that things aren’t getting done. But I like my posts (and life) to be coherent, to have a point, a focus, a goal. But that is not where I am right now. Right now, I am in a cabin with one room entirely gutted and all of its contents invading other rooms. I have tools everywhere and have to repeatedly remind my stepson to “PUT. ON. SHOES.” lest he step on a escapee nail or to put on gloves so he doesn’t inadvertently stab himself or to put on a face mask because I don’t know what it is that came out of that insulation but it sure as hell wasn’t anything we can identify.
Not to mention all the hiccups that happen when you are doing renos. Like the wasp nest we found inside the wall. This explains why last year we had so many wasps in the cabin. So everything had to stop until we returned with wasp spray and a plan. Fortunately, it seemed to be empty this year so there was no battle for territory like last year in the outhouse with the biggest bumblebee I have ever met in my life.
So, even though it doesn’t feel like it, we have done a lot. Truth be told, Soldier Boy has done a lot. The walls have been ripped out, the old insulation (ugh…I’m still gagging just thinking about the amount of I don’t know what that came out of those walls), the ceiling tiles came out, the wooden crosspieces the tiles were nailed to were taken down, the nails in the wall joists were removed, all of this was taken to the dump (two trips) and finally, the floor was cleaned up enough that we felt it was fairly safe. Much of this was done in the evenings, driving an hour to the cabin after work, working until the daylight faded (remember, no electricity) and then driving the hour back into work the next day. My jobs were garbage disposal and kitchen upgrades.
The Third Room is now almost ready for putting back together. We just have to get a few more nails out of the walls, and remove a few more lonely pieces of the the plywood paneling that used to be the walls. We also need to remove the frame of a non-load-bearing wall. You know how we know it’s not load-bearing? Because there is a quarter inch gap between the top plate (the top part of the wall – I’m learning the lingo) and the joists of the ceiling. No joke. It’s not even attached to the ceiling. We could probably just push those studs out. We found the source of an old leak but all was dry. I feel like I can finally breathe again. Without a face mask.
While all this was happening, we also got rid of an ancient and stinky propane fridge that was about the same height as the counter. No amount of cleaning could rid that fridge of the stench of food long past due. Getting rid of the fridge was wonderful but it left a massive space, which we needed to fill because the fridge had been an extension of the counter, if nothing more.
After the second load to the dump of demolished wall and insulation, an ancient propane tank and that fridge, the boy (the younger one) and I headed to good old Canadian Tire to find some shelving.
To be honest, I was looking for something inexpensive and basic until we could look around on Kijiji and find something nice but recycled. Instead, I found a lovely wheeled cabinet on sale. While we really enjoy the satisfaction of finding something recycled, upcycled, free, etc., there is also something very satisfying about a brand new piece in a room such as the kitchen. Sometimes, that one new and stylish piece that has nobody else’s dirt on it can lift the whole atmosphere. Especially in a cabin as rustic as ours.
While I was uploading photos, it occurred to me that I have never posted photos of the kitchen so I’ll post some of the previous upgrades we did last year as well.
(The other side of the kitchen was also freshly painted last year to give it a clean, fresh feel.)
After assembly, the cabinet didn’t fit properly where the fridge had been. But we had a space on the sink side and it fit perfectly. Now, the coolers fit where the fridge was so we are still effectively using the space.
After putting in so much effort, it just seems like we’re not much further ahead. Know what I mean? I need to keep reminding myself that things can’t be done fast, cheap and well all at the same time. That and June is the worst month of the year for me at work and when we are here for an extended period of time over the summer, it will feel like it’s getting much better much faster.
But until then, for the next few weeks, always wear shoes.