Friday, March 19, 2010
I returned to Maine at the end of February. It was during a warming trend so I had no trouble driving up to the house without plowing. During the time of my stay the snow melted considerably thanks to a warm day of rain in the middle of the week.
Upon my arrival there were the usual chores to perform. I noticed that I was getting low on firewood. I still had enough to heat the place for at least a few more weeks but I felt that I needed to add to my reserve, especially since the weather was nice and sunny, ideal for outdoors work, and would likely not last. I felled some standing dead pine nearby the house and dragged them to the porch and cut them into usable pieces. Since the trees had been dead awhile I was able to burn the wood immediately rather than waiting months for it to season. Dead (and in some cases partially rotten) wood does not burn as hot or as reliably as well-seasoned hard wood but I figured I could use the recently cut stuff during the day and heat the house with the seasoned wood at night which will burn until the next morning with the stove dampened all the way down.
With that out of the way it was time to do something I had been putting off: call the local code enforcer. I needed him to come over to issue me a plumbing permit so that I could begin the rough interior plumbing. I was rather dreading this because to date no government official had laid eyes on my project. Maine (esp. the village of Monroe) has very little in the way of building laws. I see Maine politically as a Libertarian state. Compared with other states it's citizens are granted great freedoms concerning themselves and their own well-being. Their laws seem designed more to prevent anyone doing harm to others and the environment. This is one of the reasons that I love Maine so much. I'll get into my personal politics some other time but I am a big believer in personal liberty, so long as that freedom does not compromise another's.. So in building this monstrosity I could (theoretically) build it to implode on itself but if waste water was going to be exiting into the environment it could cause others harm so it would need to be regulated. Makes sense to me, but I was still afraid of what he might say about my unorthodox well and water system as well as the rest of my weird little house. But true to the spirit of Mainers, he looked over my project like he'd seen it all before (I think maybe he had) and issued me the permit for $30. So I was ready to plumb but that would have to come later, maybe next visit.
I had decided that this trip would be about creating storage space for much of the junk I have been accumulating over the past few years. In order to work on different parts of the house I constantly have to move the ever growing collection of old metal parts, automotive and otherwise fixtures fittings pipes valves anchors hangers books blankets lamps camping gear etc. etc.. So I decided that with some permanent storage like a closet under the stairs and a (maybe not so permanent bench in the living room) I could eliminate this game of musical shit I was always playing and open up the upstairs area enough to finish the walls and eventually the bedroom. I needed a sanctuary, complete with a door, carpeting and paint so that I could finally remove myself at the end of each dirty day from the ever present dust of construction.
So my first order of business was to build a closet. It was a little tricky deciding how to frame and situate it but at the end of day three I had a closet under the stairs with an interior light, shelves, hooks and a funny looking door I built myself. It also features built in bookshelves on it's exterior.
The next morning I built a bench that may later become some sort of entertainment unit... not entirely sure yet but for now it would be very useful for storage. Now it was time for another major cleanup that would take me the rest of the day and all of the following day to complete. That included reorganizing most of my building supplies and putting some outside or under the house.
For the last six months or so I had been sleeping on a mattress in one corner of the upstairs area along with all my "living" stuff but now it was time to move downstairs. I dragged the mattress down the stairs, opened up the sleeper sofa (donated by Jim Hutto) and threw the mattress on top of the open bed. It was the best way to save space and now it looks like I have a proper bed. After reorganizing or throwing out all the junk upstairs I was ready to get to work on building a real bedroom: a dust-free zone. Such a thing may also help entice my fiance', Sarah to visit more often.
I started off framing the walls that would enclose both the bedroom and the bathroom. Next I hung sheetrock and trimmed out the doors, skylight and windows. I left an opening in the wall where the stove pipe runs up through the roof. This will also be the location of the main waste vent for the toilet sink and shower. When that is all in place I will build an inset bookcase to finish off the walls in the bedroom. After a little more trim work around the ceiling and mudding the sheetrock I'll be ready to paint.
Unfortunately, at this stage, I was at the end of my visit so with a sad farewell I gathered up my cat Sprocket and departed with the hope to return soon..