Saturday, June 29, 2019

There is ALWAYS something

guess the universe is making sure I really know how to let things go...well, I laugh at you silly ‘verse for I have let it go and am learning the fine art of anticipation! I’m so close yet, after another check in with the marina..:I am told I really need to beef up the sides where I installed the beams..:

Sigh 😔 

Oh well, just more skills to hone least I know exactly what to do...

Four cuts
4-8 drill holes
And 4-8 bolts

And then I just might be ready to float....

At least until the next set of repairs come in.

I also managed to raise it another inch or the truck will fit for sure! Stay tuned for the next installment of 


Thursday, June 27, 2019

clearing the way

Stopped by the marina a little too late today to talk to Lance the guy moving my place....

But, was very happy to see the boats and other debri (btw that is the name of my tiny floating home...that's why its "other" debri... ha ha)

So excited as it feels like the light at the end of a looooooonnnnnnngggggg ass tunnel!

Once our tiny floating homes are moved, Dave, my buddy and carpenter helper from the very beginning, will be able to finally move his camper trailer from inside the garage to outside to feel the breeze and see the water and trees...

He's been in the hospital for a few months with puss and infections surrounding his heart. It broke mine yesterday when I saw him walk across the yard with a rolling walker at a slow pace. This 6'2" imposing man that used to effortlessly hoist huge beams high up for me is now thin as a rail and hardly recognizable and can barely walk across the boatyard.

I gave him a huge hug so happy to see him recovering "at home" at last.

I'm so grateful to him always believing in me and what I could do with the proper attitude. He set me up with so many opportunities to learn and experience and I hope over the years I can figure out creative and exciting ways to continually pay him back!

I love that guy so much...he's a one in a million and I wish the best for a speedy recovery so he and I can sit on the deck of my tiny floating home with our feet dangling in the water and a heart-healthy drink and raise our glasses to all that life has offered us and all that we have put into it to end up together on the water at last!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Finished with fortifications!!! I'm ready to float (again!)

Today I was determined to tackle the rest of the issues I was having. Each one I have worked on has opened my eyes to new solutions for the other's actually been quite an enjoyable process, now that I have no expectations on a launch date (or help from others).

So, I went to my trusty local hardware store....which I now will ALWAYS do over Home Depot ANYDAY!!! The guys at Amesbury Industrial are AMAZING...,
the gang at Amesbury Industrial Supply

Shout out to Greg and Scott and Jim who have all helped me endlessly with their ideas and know-how! (and kind words of encouragement and support)

 Luv you guys...seriously! ;-)

Ok, today Scott looked at these pics and we had a brainstorming session with how to get this to work. My idea for securing the verticles was to secure 2 2x6's infront of the beam then drill lag screws into the beam through the 2x6. Scott helped me round up the hardward to accomplish the job.

Scott also introduced me to the auger drill that would help me get through the 6x6 effortlessly with a straight well as a make shift guide from some piping just to make sure (although the auger bit ended up being plenty good without it anyway)

lag bold made it through easily!

the completed project!!!

I was able to use 2x6 blocks to wedge the vertical 6x6 beams in place which was done out of desperation because Cambyr didn't want to help me on "my dream" anymore. (preferring to do her in the house routine)...but it was better structurally as I'm glad I was forced to come up with a two hand one person solution anyway!

I could hardly believe it when I cleaned the site up and stepped back...all the requirements the marina made of me I had successfully accomplished on my own within a reasonable timeframe! I am so proud of me right now...if I do say so myself.

I'll talk to the guys to find out my launch date and keep you all posted....NOW it's really happening!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

bow beam support

Today I was determined to finish off securing the beam to the drops I created to hold it, as well as finishing the 6x6 vertical supports the marina insists are in place to distribute the force of the lifting arms of the truck.

I spent the first part of the morning perfecting my saws all and saw skill skills with the 6x6 beam and was happy for the chance to do repeating tasks over and over to see my improvement.

 Once all the beams were sized and cut to fit their spots, I ran off to HD to grab some final hardware.

For the beams, I wanted to go with timber locks because it seemed the only option due to limited space issues. I also thought this might be good for the vertical supports as well for the same reason. However, after purchasing them all and not having the right drill bit, then going back and finding similar ones with a different head....I realized this would NOT be a good solution as even on the timber lock package I finally read "Not to be used within 1000 ft of marine environments".  Well, if that didn't change my mind big time!

So, back to the drawing board.
Take a break.....

My new favorite drink! :-)
no vodka....just pure chickweed juice! Yummy.

 When my break on the deck was over I realized I had more space in the bow than the aft, so tackling one problem at a time I focused on the one easier to solve (the best way to be productive). I realized I could use the 6x 1/2 inch stainless steel lag screws to go into the vertical beam on the side which worked out great for the first one, and had problems on the second one.
 I also managed to squeeze into the space enough to secure the top board to the 6x6 beam with the rest of the 6x 1/2 inch ss lag screw downwards...which was my original plan, but I didn't think I had the space once I least now I do and am confident with the 5 bolts along the 14 foot span in place it will be fine.

Working on the second vertical support was a pain in the *ss. I couldn't hold it in place and drill at the same time no matter how hard I tried. I called Cambyr to come help me and only got her over because I had the all-powerful leverage...the Amazon Fire TV box (which I am in a habit of carrying around with me when I'm not at home now, for just such a purpose!). After two completely awkward and uncomfortable attempts, it ended up failing to settle to the bottom board. The layout was different on this one causing some issues...I had a new plan, but Cambyr left me without the hands I desperately needed. I was exhausted from crouching low all day and crawling on my knees and squatting and not really taking breaks to eat...was so focused on getting this done today. But I had to give up the ghost and let it be.

I was so tired from a late night last night and early morning/long day today, that I just collapsed and took a quick recovery nap....

me and my bed-mates.

view from the concrete bed

I still am hoping for a launch date this week...would be nice to be in before July...I mean I am paying for dock space at this point!

I was concerned that the work on the aft beam will be much more challenging since the drops are integrated into the row of barrels....but, inspiration struck last minute and I feel more optimistic finishing it off soon too!

Geez, look at me being so optimistic these days....

it's a funny thing about showing up with a vision... 
somehow, the embers are always there waiting to be ignited...
even when smoldering, there is an ember keeper from that vision...
and sometimes the wind in the movement from just showing up will be enough to light it again...

So keep showing up in your own vision....
no matter how slow it is going, no matter how hopeless it may seem at times.... 
where there is a WILL there IS a way....I just know it!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

adding the second beam - making a new row of drops

Today I was determined to get the second beam in place...doing that would ensure I could get in the water sometime next week (marina willing).

So, I got out first thing and prepared for a long day of hard labor!

I was relieved when I got to the structure and had time to sit with my chickweed juice and lay down on the beam and assess my situation. I planned to pull apart one row of barrels in order to put the drops in, but the more I studied things from this perspective, the more I saw a clearer and better answer. 

I noticed the cross beams above me and how they seemed to line up perfectly with the area the drops should's almost as if I had planned it all along...I probably did, since the universe has led this whole expedition had way better foresight than I did!

Suddenly, I KNEW I'd have this beam on today and I was so excited I got really efficiently down to work...
I used a trick I learned in my apprenticeship that made installing the drops a piece of cake...just measured the distance from the previous row's drops and used the level to make sure it was square...the trick was to simply use the jack stand to hold the board in place to make it less awkward to line everything up correctly.

It worked out great! I was able to swiftly install 6 drops quite well this way and only a couple of small redo's at the beginning when I realized my measurements were off a bit.

Overall, THRILLED that this worked out without having to undo a row of barrels
took a little break to breathe in the beauty surrounding me.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day to work outside...loved every minute of it.
 With the drops in place I used jack stands to secure the bottom board. Once the bottom board was in place, I was able to use Cambyrs muscle power combined with my own to lift the beam to the top of the jacks and secure it into place. Didn't take much time at all...and felt amazing to see it happing so smoothly.

Cambyr stopped by to help out
Cambyr stopped by so I gave her the option to practice using the saws-all to cut down the beams to size. It was so fun teaching her how to hold it with power and confidence and watch her own it.

I love being able to give her these opportunities to learn and test new skills. Grateful she will have this to draw from in the future.

It already paid off as I watched her use the hose in the backyard and notice it was broken, she immediately decided to investigate it and took out some tools and ultimately fixed it! I watched her joy and feeling of accomplishment take over her demeanor and light her up as she sprayed a working hose on the trampoline to cool off while she played!

 I had taken a trip to Home Depot because my local hardware store was already closed at 1pm today, and decided upon some hex bolts for the top of the drops (secured in place earlier with a couple of deck screws) and some timberlock 9-inch screws to secure the beam to the bottom board. I had to buy a long-ass drill bit to make sure it was a straight install (even though the timberlocks say they don't need predrilling).

 I finished drilling all the holes in place for the timberlock but realized I didn't have the right drill bit for installing that will have to be one of tomorrows tasks.

I wanted to finish cleaning up the edges of the beams so I took my turn with the saws-all and had at it....that is SOME vibration! Wow! (Cambyr helped me document my own saws all work of art!)

The two beams are in and trimmed! Almost ready to float! AGAIN

It was a super good / productive day!
Tomorrow goal: finish securing the beams with timberlocks, cut the remaining 6x6" beam to secure where the lift pressure will be near the center-line of the structure, make sure the truck can fit. Once that is done I can have the marina boys inspect it all and set a launch date....again!

Friday, June 21, 2019

adding the second beam - moving the tension rods and cutting drops

I didn't have much time to work today, but I tried to squeeze at least one little task in so I could keep the momentum so, I prepped for adding the second beam by simply moving the tension rods.

Luckily that was mostly simple and uneventful.

I knew I would need space the width of the 2x6" boards

Then I moved on to cutting the drops that would hold the second beam in place. Still not quite sure exactly how I will install seems I might have to take apart one entire row of barrels just to have the room to move and use the tools...I really hope there is another way...but, I'm in this to float, so I'll do whatever it takes at this point.

second beam location

the blue tape marks the spot...per marina boys

I moved the tension rod over to the left to make way for the 2x6 "drop"

2x6" board I cut to support the beam

Friday, June 14, 2019

inch by inch part 2

Today's adventure in slow-moving vertical growth....wait am I talking about life or my tiny floating home?! :-) Seems like they are in parallel these days...

Day two of solo raising the structure and honestly, I was quite pleased with myself and my ingenuity to get the job done.

I was having a tough time getting the smallest jack stand in place to raise underneath the beam, I then took a page out of what I had learned from the carpenter and built a small crib from the blocks in the yard and fetched my jack for changing tires our of my car. It worked out beautifully, allowing me just enough relief to put the jack stand in place and switch between them taking up the slack. I then was able to secure the beam at both ends and the middle better for when I added the two  6 inch long 3/4" lag screws.

I got enough screws for one every couple of feet, however, even when I borrowed an angle drill from the marina shop, I wasn't able to get enough space to install them. So I'll have to think of something else to finish off that job.

In the meantime...I know it's baby steps...but it feels really good to go away for the weekend knowing that I got one beam in place. One more to go and then reinforcing the lift area and I'll be floating...I know I will...I can taste WILL happen, and SOON!

success! Beam in place ...beam me up! (Scotty! lol)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Inch-ing forward

I only had one task in mind today.
Something I realised I could do mostly on my own if I just put some time and effort in.
The task broke down into the following steps:
  1. drag the beams into place where tape is from marina measurements
  2. Use extra Jack's to help hold beam in place to secure it
  3. Put beam on Jack's
  4. Jack up beam to bottom 
  5. Figure out how to secure beam to bottom
  6. Put Jacks under secured beam and raise six more inches for truck to fit.

It seemed pretty straight forward seeing the basic steps like this.... Only, like always, the were some issues right from the start.
I aimed to simply get the beans into place... Check... Step one of six complete!

I actually felt pretty good at the small victory as it was at least two things (ordering and picking up beams and putting them in place) I could do without relying on someone else and delaying this even, accepted as progress for sure!

But then issues arose.

The smallest jack stands in the yard measure around 29 inches... The slow in the ground below the structure proved to be over 29 inches on one side and well below that on the other side. I put a few stands in nearby locations and spent an hour or so slowly raising it by turning each Jack I could a few turns at a time song in a series. I was thrilled that I was even able to turn then at all! It gave me some more encouragement that even if progress was slow and done in millimeter increments...I'd take it!

making millimeter progress

Of course, this not being the professional way to do it, the deck has become unlevel again...but, I've already seen how it can settle over time and have no other options at the moment. The sliding door still works fine and that is usually what is impacted the most.

After almost two hours of working on it and still being shy an inch on one side...I decided to move the stand into a place where it would actually fit and still be able to support the beam. After a little while of struggling to get it into place with buckets and rope...I realized I could continue to struggle for hours on my own or quickly and easily get it in place with another set of hands. So, I begged Cambyr (my 13-year-old) to come over and lend her two hands. Luckily, she eagerly agreed and we had it in place in 5 min! I temporarily added a bucket with a pre-cut block lying around the yard to support the low task for tomorrow...raise it up enough to get the smallest jack under it....about one more inch to go and I can secure the whole thing to the structure and move on to the next problem to solve.

board lifted into place on the jacks

studying how to attach the beam...Probably just need to bolt it..
8 inch long, about 1/2" size every four inches or so
(recommended by Captain Matt! thanks)
After this is secured, I already see my next task, the path is becoming more clear!
Need to cut the remaining 10' 6x6" beam to fit where the example block is standing in the background
then secure it somehow to add extra strength.

a minor effect of the manual labor...well, worth getting something done today.

I have to say thanks again, to all the FB friends who responded so kindly to my "I need a hug" request! (something I never would have even thought to do, but so glad I opened up to community...being vulnerable...and directly asking for what it was I really needed and wanted.

It helped me get through the disappointment of not being able to launch yesterday as well as give me more encouragement to fire myself up and figure out what I could do to get this going on my own. 

The support has been invaluable...I couldn't have done it without you all!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Today...not the big launch day!

No ability to do expectations...

But still...

Not giving up.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Delays to fortify

The marina called...

Feels like a joke should follow... But, no joke... They want me to fortify the structure where the pads of the truck lifts. They claim it will crush the boards that are currently there...

They claim that how the Wentworth graduate, with thirty years of construction and architectural engineering and design ( building and lifting multilevel apartment buildings), built it, it won't hold up. Just once I would like to try it and see before they ask for more changes.... I'd like the opportunity to see if the guy, who claims all the experience and know how, is right or wrong... Giving us all more or less confidence from seeing the result of his work....I just wish we could see...

Then it would be satisfying...
Either way...
To go straight into the water and have the marina learn a big lesson...
Or to go back to fortifying and have the carpenter learn a big lesson...

But now... Doing it this way... We will never really know.
I guess it mostly just makes the marina look right...a CYA move.

I know they want the move to be a success... But I am super disappointed that they didn't say anything about this to us in the past for months of building the damn thing... As we checked in periodically with then to make sure we were all on the same page.

Anyway, I have no choice right now... I'm at the marina's mercy.

I'm at a point though that I want to be involved in projects that I can do myself... It's been hard having to be so dependent on others this last phase of the project... Makes me feel so helpless, so much is out of my control.

So, tonight, after texting the carpenter, Steve, and my friend, Carlo, about the latest developments, I decided to not be so dependent again and I immediately called the local sawmill (Bartletts) and went and picked up two 14' 6x6 beans and one 10' er... all on my own with my awesome little work horse Prius.

As I slowly make my way back to the marina to unload I think about how I shall miss her dearly as I am in the process of trying to find her a  new home.

She has been such a huge part of my journey over the last decade and seen so much and helped me so much in so many ways.... She's the anti-lemon of cars and today, as we drove away from the  sawmill, I could feel the old girl smile with pride in all she has accomplished...where people didn't think she was capable of doing half of what I knew she could manage. I've briefed in her and she's never let me down and now I feel like I'm letting her down as I've made way in my driveway for her replacement... Not ready to move on... Wishing I had more time with her... because I know she's got many more years in her... But the pressure  around me to upgrade her... and the stories of safety and reliability pressuring me into acting now instead of waiting for signs it was time..

...I digress... For it touches my heart now more than at any other time, how she has never failed me.

So I snap back to the task at hand as I make a mental picture of my little metal work horse and thank her for her companion all these years... She's so impressively Strong and helpful!

The boards are big and heavy and I am no metal work horse... So I go cave woman and search for a tool to help me out... Luckily there are still plenty of plastic barrels lying around my work site so...

I use one to help me get all the board in place... And I cross my fingers Steve will be able to help me out tomorrow so we can keep Wednesdays schedule...

I'll wait and see... But not long... Maybe I'll have to finish this one on my own..

My little Prius believes in me... Maybe I should too.

Insurance at last!

I haven't given up. I just needed to walk away and take a break. So, I am walking 2,000+ miles from Georgia to Maine on the appalachian ...