Tiny Cabin: Back in the Saddle

The first week after the accident is a blur of bandages, medicine, and doctors’ appointments. That, and kind friends and family bringing by food and checking in.

All of the various doctors–the ENT, general physician, optometrist, and chiropractor–reiterated that the fall could have been much worse. We are counting our blessings.

On other fronts, we found out that my mother-in-law’s pancreatic cancer has developed to Stage 4, and one of my step-daughters moved to South Carolina with her baby, Alex.

It would be easy to say that life moves forward and we move with it. But that glosses over the emotional processing that great (and abrupt) changes demand.

Chuck’s body is still healing–the hematoma in his right arm restricts how much he can lift, and the nerves in his face are slowly regaining feeling. The emotional wounds, however, remain fresh.

I spent several sleepless nights and red-eyed days thinking of our next move. My main concern: the 12/12 pitch roof. We went away for a couple of days to celebrate our 11th anniversary and to clear our heads.

We reached out to Chuck’s cousin, Scott, who has worked in construction and even built his own house. He was up to the challenge. Once we knew we had the roof covered, we felt we could make plans. And I could get some sleep.

It was now time to finish the decking, which would require a third person, not to mention poise on scaffolding. A colleague, Russ, volunteered to help, and we managed to tack up the rest of the decking in less than two hours. It was an enormous hurdle after we had seriously questioned whether or not we would be able to finish the cabin at all.

After the decking, our next move was to get as many walls up as possible.

We were under a heat advisory, with temperatures in the 90s and a heat index over 110 degrees. Chuck and I started at 6:30 and had to quit before noon. Chuck’s shirt was soaked to the hem, and my face was puffy and red.

At first, I held the sheet of OSB while Chuck fired the nail gun. But I wasn’t strong enough to hold the full sheets straight, and Chuck’s arm was tiring out from the heavy nail gun. So we switched.

Chuck said he was glad I had gotten over my fear of the nail gun. “I wouldn’t go that far,” I replied. I’m still terrified of it, and rightfully so. But I’m less afraid when I’m the one in control of the beast. When I was holding the board, I had to wait in anticipation for the loud bang, puff of air, and cloud of displaced wood particles.

It takes both of my hands to keep the nail gun steady, but now I know what to expect–and I know when it’s going to strike.

We didn’t get as far as we had hoped, but we got our strength and momentum back.

A blog on the roof will follow soon…

 

 

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