Extra Vacation days!

vcnWooo!   I just found out that I have three days of unexpected vacation.  The system shows 27 hours that I didn’t think should be there but who’s to complain??

I’m going to sprinkle them in in the next few weeks to spend time working on my new house.  BONUS!!!!



Another weekend, another wall.

Another weekend finally came and I was able to head out to my country property and work on my house.

I was able to lift the 4th exterior wall into place using a wall jack. (Last section on the left in the picture.)  I was working by myself this time so it was more difficult but I was able to manage.  I’m starting to get the process down.

After struggling it into place, I was a shaking a bit by the exertion and the danger of it all.  I took a lunch break and decided to spend the rest of the time working on the related interior walls to help keep it steady.  I built the 12 foot tall, 9-foot section of the utility room then the 8 foot tall, 8-foot section that encloses the shower.  Interior walls are much lighter since they have no OSB sheathing so I can lift even the 12-foot sections easily by myself.

By the time that was done, I had spent four hours working without much rest and was spent.  I cleaned up all the tools, 2×4 remnants and sawdust then wandered around looking at it all to see if it was satisfactory work.  I was quite satisfied.

Four out of sixteen exterior wall segments are done and two and a half interior rooms are complete.   I just need two more interior segments to finish off the bathroom.  The shower and laundry room are done.  Each room is quite large in comparison with standard rooms of these types.  The space feels good.  I think I did a great job on the design.

I would like to say I’ve impressed myself again.  Maybe I have.  I impress myself so often that it has become commonplace.

I have only a few more weeks left of 9-6 work life and I will be free to work on it anytime I want.  In the meantime, through the end of the year, I’ll be hitting it on weekends weather permitting.  I could use some help but not having any available most of the time, I’ll have to hit it alone.

Wish me luck and safety!


Back in my cage

cgdhmstrWell, my vacation is over and I’m back in my cage again.  I’m trying not to think about the partially framed house that is just sitting out there waiting for me to work on it again.

Very difficult.  It hurts.  My only happiness is that the weekend will eventually come and I will be free to get back to it.  And in just about 48 days I will be free forever.

I must bide my time….  Freedom is coming.  Freedom is coming. Freedom is coming.

Week One – 1/4 of exterior framing done!

How about that?  My country house is actually being built.

A friend from high school and her son spent four straight days helping me build the exterior walls.  I ordered a bunch of lumber that was delivered on Tuesday and we got busy.

I’m taking my annual 5-day vacation so we got a lot done as I didn’t have to spend the whole days sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen.  The picture above shows four 10-foot wall sections.  The fourth is still lying down because we ran out of daylight.  Thank you Daylight Saving Time for making it get dark at 6:00.  Doesn’t that bother anyone?  Still, Four sections is not bad.  You might think it would go faster but it takes quite some time to build, sheathe and raise a section.

Don’t yell at me for doing 10 foot sections.  Most people do 16 ft or more but I chose to do 10 to keep it manageable by a tiny group of amateurs.  It’s a good thing I did that too because even 10 feet is quite heavy, unwieldy and rather dangerous when you don’t have a whole crew of manly men to muscle it up there. Some sections are easier than others depending on whether there are windows or doors.  As we went along, we got a bit more efficient.

I started with a corner for stability.  Before I continue with the exterior pieces, I will probably do parts of the interior walls to make it even more stable as I continue around the outside.  I’m not always going to have help but the interior walls will be lighter since they have no sheathing.  Just drywall to be applied later.  I think I can handle them myself.  I’ll continue to build the exterior sections on the ground but wait until I can get some assistance to raise them.  I think that will work out.

So how am I handling this mentally?  I find it to be best not to think about it.  When I do think about it, I still feel a bit freaked out about the meaning of it all.  It represents a massive change in my life.  I keep hoping I’m not making a big mistake but I don’t see any reasonable alternative.   I think it will be fine and awesome!  It’s not like I haven’t been planning this for the majority of my life.  Seriously.  Ever since I was a kid, getting the hell out of the city has been my life goal.  Way too many people here and it just keeps getting worse every day.  I need room to breathe and move.  It’s turning out like some horrible Twilight Zone episode where the world has become so crowded that people can’t even walk.  I’m glad I’m staking my claim of land while land still exists.  I don’t think such things will be possible much longer.

So wish me luck and safe construction.  I sure hope I can do this.


A Taste of the Freedom to Come


My vacation is finally here.  There is some kind of rule that Bank employees must take a whole week of contiguous days vacation.  That day has finally come.

I strategically scheduled my time off to coincide with cool weather and a finished house foundation.   I’m going to spend most of this week out in the country framing the walls of my new house.

Along with two weekends and a holiday, I have 10 days off.  I can’t remember the last time I had that much time away from work.  Maybe it was my Hawaiian vacation a number of years ago.  It might have been two weeks.

Got it feels good to be free.  Once my vacation is over I will have only 5-7 weeks of work left before I quit to work full time on my new house.   Unlimited freedom is within my grasp.

I love it when a plan comes together.


What have I done?

zdbrgThere are always those moments after you do something big and bold when you ask yourself, “Oh God.  What have I done?”

I was out at my new property Saturday after mowing all day.  I built a small campfire before spending the night in my RV.   I sat in a folding lawn chair as I listened to the din of a million crickets and looked up at the stars.  I stared at the fire and thought to myself, “What have I done?”

I’ve bitten off the biggest chunk a person can bite off.  Or one of the biggest, I think, next to marriage.  I bought land in the country and started building a house all by myself.  I’m throwing away 50 years of lifebuilding to start a whole new life.  All by myself.  There’s something about sitting in total darkness in an empty field with nothing but a small fire to keep you company to make you feel alone.

Loneliness is not something new to me.  I’ve spent at least 30 of my 50 years in dire loneliness.  Most of it at crippling levels. Before that I was a child so being lonely is pretty much all I’ve ever known.  Never had a close friend.  Never had a girlfriend.  Just me.  Only me.  Ok.  I’ve had two cats and some fish over the years.  I don’t think that counts.

Of course, moving out to the country won’t make me more or less lonely.  I was lonely in the city, I’ll be lonely in the country.  No point worrying about that being different.

My concern may be that doing something as major as this all by yourself is an exercise in craziness.  It’s not like I have any options though.  My life goal has been to live in the country.  I almost died of heart disease a few years ago without reaching that goal.  I had best get my ass in gear if I expect it to ever happen.

I don’t really feel like what I am doing is wrong.  Perhaps it is just the fact that it is so radical.  Change is always a scary thing.  People move all the time.  20 years in the same house is certainly long enough, right?  I’m not doing anything that people haven’t been doing since the dawn of time.

Maybe the scariest part is quitting my job.  I have to quit if I’m going to have time to build a house.  There’s no way a person can work full time and still have any to spare in order to build a house.  I have to concentrate on it with all my attention in order to get at least the framing and exterior complete by the summer meltdown.

Financially, I don’t need to work full time anymore.  My savings afford me a life of basic leisure which I may just take advantage of.  I do have that strange feeling that, even though I hate working with a purple passion, work defines you.  It’s a stupid notion that may either be a standard due to the way life works or maybe some kind of government mind control caused by fluoride in the water.  I know it is stupid but there it is.  Some people retire and shortly thereafter, die of boredom.  Boredom has never been an issue for me.  I can always find something awesome to do.

I still have at least 10 years of work-life in me since most people don’t actually retire until they are like 63.  Still, that doesn’t sound right to me either.  The thought of working for 13 more years is more like a death sentence.

I think that maybe after 1-2 years of building and resting, I may want to re-enter the job market.  Part time.  20 hours a week would be more than adequate for some extra spending money without monopolizing my remaining life.  I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities for an amazing guy who can do anything.  Something fun and non-stressful.

I might try working for myself as a Country Computer Doctor.  I’ll make house calls.  Get me an old doctor bag and a stethoscope. (You really can use that on a computer to listen for strange sounds from the hard drive or fans.)

I would enjoy being an electricians helper.  An electrician usually works alone but an electrician’s helper will always have an electrician to keep him company.  I like that.

My first job was in an office supply store.  I still have dreams about it.  I could go back to that.  Work in the computer repair area or the print shop.  They have part time positions.

I might like to work in a small computer repair shop.  Always thought that would be neat.

Maybe the local golf course needs a groundskeeper.

The possibilities are endless.  I shouldn’t worry about that.  Later.  It will take me plenty of time to get my house and land in order.  I might do something different every year.

I might finally have the time to meet someone.  It would be wonderful to have someone to visit me at my new place.  Someone to hot tub with on a cold night.  Someone to cook with, watch movies and go traveling.  Who knows.  Perhaps the primary reason I’ve chosen a solitary life is to be able to afford an early retirement in a self-built house out in the country.  Now that that is actually happening, maybe I can look into what I’ve missed out on.

Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  I’m hoping that people who live in small towns are more friendly than those in the big city.  Maybe I won’t be invisible anymore.  Maybe someone will be able to see me and say, “Wow. Check out that single guy over there!”

Let’s not over do it.  Invisibility is a powerful thing.  I sure hope the spell will be broken.  The witch who cursed me when I was a child didn’t say if there was a way to break it.  We’ll see.

So.  I feel better now.   It was good to get it all out again.  Much of this may be a repeat but the mind is repetitive.  It’s good to dump it out once in a while to keep it from overflowing.


Mowing 3.5 acres

My plan for this Saturday was to rent a trencher from Home Depot so I could make a 2 foot deep trench from the power pole to the foundation of my new house.

Unfortunately that did’t work out.  Oh, they had the trencher available but the guy said he wasn’t allowed to hook it up to a bumper trailer hitch.  I had no idea it mattered.  I guess that explains why people have receiver hitches on their trucks.  Bumper hitches are for very light loads apparently.

So that didn’t work out.  I ordered a receiver hitch from Amazon that should be in sometime this week.  $93.00  I’ll have to try again another weekend soon.

The Saturday wan’t totally shot though.  I had loaded up my Yardbug mower into the truck so I could try mowing.  The weeds have started to grow rather high now that Texas has gotten quite a bit of rain.  Over the summer, we were in drought and there was little growth which suited me just fine.  Now… Booooom!

I wasn’t sure if my Yardbug would be up to the task but you have to use what you’ve got.  At least I have it and not just a push mower.

I got myself some of that green slime for the tires to seal them if they get punctured.  I expected that to happen immediately because when they shredded the Mesquite treelings there are a lot of bits of thorny branches lying around.  You can easily get one up through the bottom of your shoe.   Either the slime works or there were no serious punctures because the wheels surprisingly stayed inflated.

The mower is definitely undersized for this task but it held together through high weeds and all the sticks that constantly got caught up in the blade.    I mowed for probably six hours stopping for rest breaks in my RV.   The main problems I had were that the discharge chute kept getting clogged up and I had to bend over and clean it out with a stick.  The other problem was the dying battery.  Once I stopped, it didn’t want to start.  Fortunately I had some small gauge wire with me and was able to give it a slight charge off the truck battery to get me going again.  I’m a total McGyver.

After six hours of mowing, I was able to have completed 2/3 of the land.  It looks awesome.  My back, though, didn’t fare as well.  All the bumping around and bending over to clean the discharge chute did a number on me.  I’m sore and worn out.  My poor butt is worn down to a nub.  I’m going to have to use my office desk in standing mode tomorrow.

In conclusion,  I’m gong to need a bigger mower.  Maybe if I don’t let it get so high, the mowing won’t be so bad.  Still, I’m going to keep my eyes open for a better solution.

After I gave up, I gather some of those sticks and had a small campfire before going back into the RV and going to bed.  I didn’t feel that I slept well.  I wasn’t really thinking too much about stuff.  I just couldn’t drift off.  I’m going to bed early tonight.