Archive for August, 2007

on new verbs, hard days, and being a woman in a man’s world.

August 24, 2007

to redneck (v):  to solve a problem in a way that seems dangerous, foolhardy, and unrealistic to a person from the big city; to create a solution using the tools at hand; to do things the way people always do when they can’t just ‘pay someone’ to do it for them.  the men pulled the 8,500 lb. shipping container off the back of the gooseneck by chaining it to a cedar and straightening its line of pull with a small forklift and a pickaxe handle stuck into the side of the trailer.  that is to say that they rednecked it.

hard days:  our stupid car isn’t worth taking any space on this blog, but it was in the shop for one month, and our insurance covered a very small percentage of the problems.  we’ve been driving it for exactly one day, and the thing worth mentioning is that yesterday as i was pulling onto 360, i didn’t.  the front bumper now has a hole exactly the size of a chevy tahoe tow hitch in it.  thankfully, this really doesn’t make for a bad day, just a lot of standing in the sun and telling myself that things like this do happen to everyone.

and then we failed our first building inspections.  in a year of firsts for brooke, i am having to get used to the word fail, and take it for a less serious event.  failing to not hit the car in front of me, failing building inspections.  i wondered – can i really build a house.  had i written yesterday, i probably would have mused on why i failed exactly, what it meant, and why there was no written notice telling me what to do differently.  but there wasn’t!  oh no!  horrors!  i need perspective.

julio the very helpful building inspector told me this morning at 7:30am when i called him that is is kind of hard to check a site if the gate is locked.  thus no note.  i did have the combination put in his call notes, but apparently they like open gates.  so monday we’ll try again.  what an adventure.

today i’ll try to find out what colors the nifty pool paint can be, what type of lights can be placed through the walls of a shipping container, and how potato-leek soup tastes when made by a nine year old.

i have pictures of rednecking in my phone.  when i extract them, you can be sure they’ll show up here.  it was strange and empowering to watch 8500 lbs of metal be delivered and rednecked because of an idea, and also strange to stand by the sidelines and just watch, knowing that ideas are the start of any concrete process.  having never made anything before (really), the realness of it is thrilling.


pool: part I

August 17, 2007

today, a container is purchased. i write this as i wait for an email invoice to show up in my……….ok, that was the container people on the phone. i will go to the bank today, wire money, and the box shown below, marked with 676074 and painted the same orange i’d like to see on our front door, is ours.


for the interested, which i guess this post assumes, shipping containers are made of 16 gauge carbon steel (as opposed to galvanized or stainless) and almost all are roofed.  if you study this picture you may ask ‘how are you going to make a shipping container watertight?  doesn’t it have doors?’  someone really asked me that this week.  earnestly.  i felt both defensive and a little insulted.

i did answer ‘weld it.’

ok, so part II will be transport.  there is a kind of dorky photo i took yesterday of a large list of feasibility barriers to doing this pool.  i wrote it in an attempt to not quit on said pool, thinking it would be more for entertainment (it taunted me).  but i don’t have time to post it now.  suffice it to say that the really long list now has tons of little notes around each item and solutions now exist.

a friend told me this week that i was about due for a success, and i can hardly believe i am approaching one.

reduce. reuse. recycle.


August 12, 2007

well, i have been thinking all month that i am going to try to post every saturday, and i thought it wouldn’t be too hard, but then here it is and i haven’t posted since the car thing.  and that is still going on and on and on.   and when i try to think of a clever theme, i never write.

so here i am, and there is a long list of things that are happening.  part 1:

i waffled, worried, and wondered over weeks (and almost months) as to whether trying to build a pool out of a shipping container is insane.  and i kept trying to solve problem after problem and not get down about going off the beaten path.  taylor, my biggest supporter, stuck by through all the waffling, as i would say ‘oh let’s just call pool contractors and cave.  30,000 isn’t that much!>!>!>’  and so, after calls, more calls, lots of flow charts, and a week of vacation with 5 little boys in florida, i still…………………

hadn’t decided.  but time is ticking on here.  so i show up to volunteer at the cooking school at central market after stepping off the florida plane (free classes and celebrity chefs! not too mention cooking) and the executive chef at jeffrey’s, a very cool woman, asks about the pool.  i confess my waffling, and she says ‘but if you don’t have a shipping container pool, how can i have one?’  and that was it.  i decided to dive in.  a phone call to my dad, a chemist, at 6:45am that morning (it was later for me than him, unfortunately for him) had achieved something too, as he told me it wasn’t insane from a chemical/metal/underground box standpoint.

part 2:

my house is full of dust bunnies, and to control this, we now have a helper, who shall remain nameless.  (you’d mock me, as i named him)  you will be happy to know that he is inanimate, made by irobot.  but i thought today, as i broke out the house helper vaccuum, and at the same time swept dust bunnies from under the shoe cubby with my hands and told corin, an able lad, that he should start getting the corners with the dust buster, that this dog sheds too much.  that’s all i have to say about that.

part 3:

in the past month, two new cookbooks have been added to the bookshelf in our kitchen, and another one came to live here in early spring, and i haven’t made a single recipe out of any of them.  and there’s another one, whose recipes have been tried, but the cool pictures i took aren’t here, with a clever post, but saved somewhere in the bowels of the computer.  my life is on a new path, a strange one where i forget that we need to eat meals and that i be around mentally and physically to prepare them.  we’ve never eaten so many saltines and peanut butter.  taylor just keeps eating chips and salsa.  don’t tell my nutrition professor.

part 4:

daily life at this point is fun, and funny.  it is somewhat like a perpetual scavenger hunt, with tacos for sustenance.  and the scavenger hunt is interrupted for playing cards, reading chapter book, talking about virtues, listening to detailed descriptions of lego battles and cars and people and adventures, and occasional cleaning of dust bunnies.

i often think (and say to taylor) that i can’t do this.  the whole thing is just too concrete.  i would be so much happier as an academic.  but the deeper part of me, i think, the part i forget about because i see my shortcomings quickly and don’t catalogue my strengths when i’m feeling overwhelmed, is delighted that the whole building process is so complex and real.  doing it right means i’m learning, and the completion will be valuable.

but don’t ask me when we’ll be done.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!