Spring Break 2014 Days 1 and 2

Day 1 – We made it to McCarthy safely. LONG trip this time. 9 1/2 hours. Old truck, old trailer, old driver (he said it, not me!). Move in went well as it was warm: a balmy 38*. Started the oil stove only find find it wouldn’t draw. Thought the stack was blocked. Dave climbed up on the roof (after putting the ladder up on sawhorses in unstable snow!) and looked down the stack while I stood on the ground praying and thinking things that won’t be shared in public. All is well, he didn’t fall (thank you LORD!), the stack wasn’t blocked – it finally warmed up enough to stop belching black smoke into the cabin. 

This is a sight that always makes us smile.

This is a sight that always makes us smile.

Day 2 –

Weather: cloudy, and falling slop, 40*

After our move-in last night, it was good to have a quiet day to finish the set-up process. We got up late-ish and puttered our way through the morning. Jubal came over around 10 looking for a new carb boot. Since he runs a 600, Dave wasn’t able to help him out. Axel dropped in about 10:30 to see if we needed any help with anything. He was just in time to catch us sitting down for brunch, a nice spread of cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs and bacon with a glass of orange juice to wash it all down. Soon Laurie and Hannah arrived on skis, having heard from Axel that we were eating breakfast. (Small town dynamics at work – your business is EVERYBODY’s business!) We were getting down to a good visit when Keith arrived with his lunchbox. While their lunches disappeared we caught up on each other’s lives.

Late in the afternoon Tammy, Axel and Caitlin came by to see if anyone wanted to take a quick spin up to Kennecott via the wagon trail. Dave and Hannah suited up and they took off. They ran up to the Bonanza Bowl and checked out the conditions. Snowboarders and skiers don’t worry – they’ve left it pristine for you.

After a four-course dinner we’re ready to wind things down for the day. What will tomorrow hold?

(NOTE: I wanted to add many more pictures but the internet is very slow here, so until I figure out how to reduce the file size, I’m thinking the pictures will be few. Bummers.)

Catching You Up

Hey.

Remember me?

I’m the lady who said she’d let you watch along while her men (a couple of them at least) built a cute little cabin. Yeah, you’re remembering her now. She’s also the one that, for no apparent reason suddenly quit writing and posting. Yep, got ‘er pegged. So. I’m back. I know, I know, you’ve heard this before. OK, this time I’m not making promises. I’m just going to do the best I can.

Last time I wrote, I told you about the interior framing being completed. I think they finished that job sometime in August. And yes, they are a bit further along now. Rather than drag this out for another who-knows-how-many-months, I’m just going to catch you up. The short story is – it’s livable and has been since mid/late-December. Whew, that was easy.

For those of you who like more details, here you go: All summer Dave and Ben put in 40 hours at the Truss Company, then came home and put in another 40 hours on the house. In September, Ben started school and he found the 80 hour work week, plus school to be a bit overwhelming. So he scaled back on the house-work until the Truss Company slowed down and he had more time during the day to do his school-work. The point is, these men worked HARD all summer and fall and early winter to get it ready for Ben and Sharon to live in.

It is absolutely amazing to me how many details go into building a house. And the time it takes to figure out, plan, assemble materials and actually complete them is astounding. (To me, anyway.) So once the walls were up inside, I thought, “Great! It’s just plumbing and electrical, insulation, vapor barrier and sheetrock. After that it’s decorating. Easy!” NOT. No. Huh, uh. It took months(!) -September, October, November and December, actually. Late December was busy with painting, installing flooring, putting in the shower and toilet – and wedding planning. By the 20th, work on the house was done and wedding preparations were occupying everyone’s attention.

We (the Rowlands and Persóns) had a grand time with all the family that was here to celebrate Christmas and the Wedding with us. Sharon’s family began arriving on the 12th of December and our family started rolling in on the 20th; every few days someone was back at the airport picking up another one or two. We had meals together, we partied, we cooked and baked, sewed, crocheted, painted, worked on puzzles and shopped. This event was truly a joint effort between our two families. Ben and Sharon designed a beautiful wedding day and their family did a great job of making sure it came together. (Their pictures can be viewed at www.wilderarts.smugmug.com . There are two sessions to look at. you can click on “Ben-Sharon Pre-Wedding Dec 21, 2013” OR the wedding day pictures can be found by clicking on “Person Wedding Dec 28, 2013”.)

While Ben and Sharon were gone on their honeymoon, the rest of us took a good break. We were again running to the airport dropping people off every few days (very sad). By mid-January, when Ben and Sharon returned, almost everyone had returned to their own homes and schools. The UAF school year started again and the kids took some time to get their schedules established. And then work on the little house commenced once again.

So what has been happening to the little house in the last few weeks? Well, the water line from the underground tank to the pump started to freeze up, so they had to do a bit of tweeking on the heating system in the basement (remember it consists of a light bulb, a wire cage and a temperature gauge.) Then the pump began rebelling at having to push the water so FAR up to the pressure tank. (It was just being a baby.) Dave cleverly fixed this issue with a few bits of hose and strategically placed piercings. A sight glass was installed to tell them how much water is in the underground tank. Dave and I upgraded the refrigerator and washer/dryer in the big house (yippy for me!) and so we put our old stuff in the little house. Ben and Sharon chose hickory cabinetry for the kitchen, so those were ordered and then installed. They found a vanity with a granite top for the bathroom and put that in. And just recently they found the lights they want and have purchased/ordered those. That’s pretty good progress.

At the same time, the living room is still full of tools. They have no seating except two tiny camp stools. The countertops are waiting on the counter guy to decide to come out and measure everything, then build and install. And there’s no door on the bathroom. Not to mention the exterior is still bare ply-wood – but that will wait for next summer. 

Now that the end is in sight on this project – sort of – I’m dreaming of what we should do next. Like maybe finish the addition on the big house. But, for now, we’ll happily watch Ben and Sharon craft their little house into a home.

How about some pictures?

The electrical panel - all neat and tidy as per usual for Dave. Every wire is carefully labelled.

The electrical panel – all neat and tidy as per usual for Dave. Every wire is carefully labelled.

This little contraption is an air way that they can blow hot air through to keep the pipes from freezing.

This little contraption is an air way that they can blow hot air through to keep the pipes from freezing.

There are three layers of insulation in the walls. This is looking south from the kitchen to the living area and front door.

There are three layers of insulation in the walls. This is looking south from the kitchen to the living area and front door. – When I choose this pic from my files, I totally thought there was insulation in the walls – whoops. Imagine pink stuff filling up the spaces between the studs.

Check out the plastic on the walls behind Ben. Every single exterior wall surface had to be carefully covered with plastic. Dave spent days doing this job, making sure there were NO holes - not even pin-pricks.

Check out the plastic on the walls behind Ben. Every single exterior wall surface had to be carefully covered with plastic. Dave spent days doing this job, making sure there were NO holes – not even pin-pricks. Note the red tape, it covers a hole.

These slanted ceilings required three guys to put up the 'rock.

These slanted ceilings required three guys to put up the ‘rock.

A view from the living area looking up to the loft.

A view from the living area looking up to the loft.

The 'rock jack is a great piece of equipment. It enabled Dave to do most of the sheet-rocking on his own.

The ‘rock jack is a great piece of equipment. It enabled Dave to do most of the sheet-rocking on his own.

After 'rocking, came the mudding and taping - a long and very nasty job.

After ‘rocking, came the mudding and taping – a long and very nasty job.

With the sheet-rock and painting complete it was time to lay the flooring.

With the sheet-rock and painting complete it was time to lay the flooring.

They choose "spalted maple" laminate and it looks amazing.

They choose “spalted maple” laminate and it looks amazing.

Hickory cabinets in the kitchen.

Hickory cabinets in the kitchen.

A hickory vanity with a granite top in the bathroom.

A hickory vanity with a granite top in the bathroom.

Laundry! (And dishes - until the kitchen gets done.)

Laundry! (And dishes – until the kitchen gets done.)

Next to the strip of blue foam in the corner is a clear sight glass. This will tell them how much water is in the tank.

Next to the strip of blue foam in the corner is a clear sight glass. This will tell them how much water is in the tank.

Dave and Ben conferring on something. I was playing with my camera and happened to also get a shot of the sconces  on the wall behind Dave. I'll get better lighting pictures as they get installed.

Dave and Ben conferring on something. I was playing with my camera and happened to also get a shot of the sconces on the wall behind Dave. I’ll get better lighting pictures as they get installed.

Still plenty to do.

Still plenty to do.

Covering Up the Bones

While I was partying it up Outside, the guys worked their tails off to get the plywood on the walls. With it enclosed, they’ve been able to put their tools inside and keep everything nice and dry. Let the rain come!

I keep saying it to myself, “This house is so CUTE.” When we were talking about the design of this place I kept pressing them to make something with a lot of charm factor. As far as the proportions go, Ben and Dave have totally nailed the charm. From the dimensions, to the roof pitch to the exposed truss over the diminutive deck it is an appealing space.

With most of the outside work done (not all, but most) They turned their attention to building the loft, the stairs and installing the windows.

Much to Ben’s joy (ours also), Sharon returned early to Fairbanks from her summer of fishing in Chignik in time to help the guys install the windows.

Definitely a cute little domicile.

Definitely a cute little domicile.

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These stairs are proportional to the room, I'm used to a wide set (fits my wideness). These are narrow, it's good that Ben and Sharon are narrow, too. (Not of mind, but of body)

These stairs are proportional to the room, I’m used to a wide set (fits my wideness). These are narrow; it’s good that Ben and Sharon are narrow. (Not of mind, but of body!)

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Sharon helped  - she's good at working with them and simply being there to encourage them.

Sharon helped – she’s good at working with them and simply being there to encourage them.

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Gone Outside

While Dave and Ben are working industriously on the house, I left to take a little trip Outside to visit Lee and Beth in Utah and celebrate Mom and Dad Vice’s 50th Anniversary in Washington.

I spent the first long weekend with Lee and Beth in Midvale, Utah.

Lee at the "office". He installs air handling systems in new construction, so doesn't spend any time at this site.

Lee at the “office”. He installs air handling systems in new construction, so doesn’t spend any time at this site.

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Beth likes her work in food service.

After Utah I flew west to Washington and spent a week or so visiting with lots of extended family. While there, we celebrated Mom and Dad Vice’s 50th Anniversary. It was a great party!

Dee Dee and Harold Vice

Dee Dee and Harold Vice

Vice Clan Back Row: Bret and JoEllen Vice, Frank Vice, Laurie Hall, Colleen Gibbons, Allen Hall, Nick Gibbons Front Row: Dave and Renée Persón, Harold and Dee Dee Vice (missing Ted and Lea Schalow)

Vice Clan
Back Row: Bret and JoEllen Vice, Frank Vice, Laurie Hall, Colleen Gibbons, Allen Hall, Nick Gibbons
Front Row: Dave and Renée Persón, Harold and Dee Dee Vice (missing Ted and Lea Schalow)

Mom with most of her siblings (missing David) JoEllen Vice, Mary Lynn Brown, Raymond Thompson, Dee Dee Vice, Julia Grant

Mom with most of her siblings (missing David)
JoEllen Vice, Mary Lynn Brown, Raymond Thompson, Dee Dee Vice, Julia Grant

Happy 50th Mom and Dad!

Takin’ a Break for the 4th of July

NOTE: I had this post ready to go weeks ago; but our internet has been down. Rats. Sorry for the delay.

With a tarp over the walls, and it being the beginning of July, the guys decided they could take a break for the 4th. We took our usual trip to McCarthy leaving Wednesday after work to drive all night so that we wouldn’t miss any of the July 4th festivities. We got in to the cabin at 5 a.m. and crashed into our beds to sleep for a few hours. By 10:30 we were up and ready (sort of) to face the day.

The Annual 4th of July McCarthy Parade lines up in front of our house before processing into town. So as we walked in we got to see the “floats” up close. They ranged in size from a semi with a log mill loaded on the back to a remote-controlled monster truck. This holiday is McCarthy’s biggest day of the year, its population swells to several hundred people for the weekend. And this parade is one of the highlights.

The big boy of the parade. A Rowland semi with log mill on the back.

The big boy of the parade. A Rowland semi with log mill on the back.

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Ben and Dave braved the slack line.

Ben and Dave braved the slack line.

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The kids (I know they’re adults, but still…) all went off in various directions going on hikes, visiting relatives, more hikes, etc. Dave and I stayed pretty close to the cabin. We did venture out for a trip to Kennecott to look around. But mostly we just enjoyed our own home place. Ahhh. I really LOVE having a cabin when I go camping. 🙂

Kennecott Mill building

Kennecott Mill building

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That’s my man.

Looking out over the glacier toward McCarthy. Yes, those gravel hills are actually glacier.

Looking out over the glacier toward McCarthy. Yes, those gravel hills are actually glacier.

Holly got us all looking for copper nuggets, she was very specific on the size and quality.

Holly got us all looking for copper nuggets, she was very specific on the size and quality.

Ben is carefully combing the hills for copper for Holly. Such a weird, er, good man.

Ben is carefully combing the hills for copper for Holly. Such a weird, er, good man.

Gravel boarding using a rusted barrel lid was the new sport of choice for this trip.

Gravel boarding using a rusted barrel lid was the new sport of choice for this trip. Notice Wyatt rubbing his hiney, he’d already tried it.

There's my manly men. So intelligent, so brave.

There’s my manly men. So intelligent, so strong, so photogenic.

Person men + water= MUST DIVERT!

Person men + water= MUST DIVERT!

They were positive this rock  had to me moved to another location. The aesthetics of the creek were not improved (in my opinion).

They were positive this rock had to be moved to another location.

One evening friends and family gathered for a BBQ around our big fire pit. We amused ourselves and one another with our grilling skills (or lack thereof) and witty conversation.

Bridger was grillmeister for his household.

Bridger, grill meister for his household.

Brittney and Kaleb...

Brittney and Kaleb…

Bridger and Julie

Bridger and Julie…

Kim and Jay

Kim and Jay…

Esther, perfecting the sear on her marshmallows.

Esther, perfecting the sear on her marshmallow…

Keith and Laurie

Keith and Laurie…

Kelly and Kim giving Jubal a talk.

Kelly and Kim giving Jubal a talk…

Dave toasting his marshmallow sans stick.

Evening entertainment: Dave’s sans stick marshmallow toasting trick.

Our evening concert.

Our evening concert: The Soggy Boots Band (yes, that’s their name) gave us a bit of bluegrass.

Our normal five day trip was shortened to four this year and we decided to go home by way of Palmer since we wanted to visit friends at Victory Bible Camp and attend a wedding. With the 4th behind us the guys are looking hard at what needs to happen next on the house project.

Lunch at Liberty Falls

Lunch at Liberty Falls

Ben hopped around so fast, it was difficult to get him in focus.

Ben hopped around so fast, it was difficult to get him in focus.

Holly, Ethan and Hannah Shafe friends of ours from Senegal, West Africa. Holly is working in Fairbanks this summer, Ethan and Hannah are working at Victory.

Holly, Ethan and Hannah Shafe, friends of ours from Senegal, West Africa. Holly is working in Fairbanks this summer, Ethan and Hannah are working at Victory.

Walls!

I know I left y’all hanging on the progress of the house. I went Outside for a couple of weeks and couldn’t blog. But, I’m back so I’ll get you caught up on what’s been happening here over the past month or so….

With just a few more evenings of work (understatement of the year) the walls are up!

I know you can’t see it in this first picture, but they have a come-along attached to the top of the wall that threads down over the board sticking out the back. Ben will pull the wall up, while Dave maneuvers the brace boards into place. When the wall is vertical, he’ll nail the braces in place.

Come-alongs are great for winching up a wall too big to pick up.

Come-alongs are great for winching up a wall too big to pick up.

Most notable injury so far. Just a smashed foot. No biggie.

Most notable injury so far. Just a smashed foot. No biggie.

We’re big on safety here. (Yeah, I know what you’re thinking…I think it, too.) Dave only dropped the wall once on his foot. But I dashed up with some essential oils to rub on it and (like magic!) he’s fine. Either that or he isn’t going to say anything so I won’t anoint him again.

We wanted that wall where?!

We wanted that wall where?!

Got the tarp up. Let it rain!

Got the tarp up. Let it rain!

North Wall

North Wall

We’ve had a hot, dry summer so far. But, the forecast is calling for rain, so they’ve put up a tarp to keep the rain off the plywood.

I think it’s beginning to look like a house.

Farewell, So Long, auff Veederzane, Good-bye

Lee and Beth left Monday on their new adventure. On their move Outside they’re getting to ride the ferry from Haines to Prince Rupert. And they’re visiting family and stopping at some great American sights on their journey to Wisconsin. I’m sad to see them go. I’m excited for them too. Like so many parenting experiences these days my feelings are mixed.

Gulp.

As they drove down the road, I took pictures and tried to smile, I told myself, “It’s just a trip to town.” Then I turned around and, walking inside, bawled my eyes out. Well, I cried until I got upstairs anyway, David was still home and I didn’t want him to think his Aunt had lost her mind.

Good-byyyye!

I love you, Lee and Beth–

 May the road rise up to meet you, May the wind be ever at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face and rain fall softly on your fields.

And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

Mom