7 December 2016 – Pearl Harbor 75th anniversary – God Bless the Vets of the Greatest Generation
-4°F this morning but warming up to 12°F – partly cloudy
The warm autumn is long gone and it seems to have taken all the double-digit temperatures with it. It has been cold and it is forecast to be colder for the foreseeable future.
We are burning through some propane, but we have been pretty warm. We keep the camper thermostat at a balmy 64° and the heater is running nearly continuously day and night. Fingers crossed that it continues to work! We haven’t had much snow so far, but it’s coming. (I’m dreaming of a white Christmas!)
Our water pump and fresh tank have frozen again, but it is inevitable with the wind-chills in the negative teens. Dave and I were discussing the best way to get a warm shower despite our plumbing issues and we recalled a conversation held long ago on a warm and sunny Florida day, long before embarking on this big adventure. It went something like this:
- Dave: “We should find a rental place near the build site so we can see the progress as the house goes up.”
- Me: “Or, we could just buy a little camper, live on site and not have to throw away rent money!”
- Dave: “That sounds like a grand idea! But it might get cold in the camper if we’re still building in the winter.”
- Me: “I’m up for it if you are. How bad can it be?”
- Dave: “I’m up for it, we can survive the cold for a few months. Besides, it’s the banana belt! Let’s do it!”
The good news is there has been some great progress on the house. Sheet rock, taping and texturing is happening this week through next. The dumb-waiter is being installed. The ventilation is being prepared for the gas range. The mini-splits are in! We have made decisions on floors, carpet and sink countertops. The house is coming together and it is looking spectacular.
Another fun activity for us has been monitoring the temperature in the house to make sure it is within the plus/minus limit that the sheetrock needs as it dries. Fortunately, the house is super insulated and it holds its temperature extremely well. It is usually around 55 degrees when the construction crew leaves. They have a little propane blast furnace inside they use while they work and there is a lot of passive solar heat from the south facing windows during the day. As the sun sets (at around 4PM) the temperatures outside plummet but the house is usually still in the mid 50’s at 8PM. The sheet rock has to be maintained above 55 and below 65 to dry properly. Before we go to bed we pop into the house and crank the propane heater to get the temp inside to around 60. Then we monitor it via remote sensor from the camper. Dave has been getting up between 4 and 4:30 AM to crank the blast furnace again as the temp only then falls to the 55 degrees. That is some pretty good insulation! Fortunately, we shouldn’t have to do this much longer once the sheet rock and taping is completely cured.
I hope this post finds all of you out there warm and well. Don’t worry about us, we are truly having a blast (an arctic blast)! It helps that we have both spent longer stretches of time in worse places, a Coast Guard Cutter in the Bering Sea, a tent in Saudi Arabia…etc. etc. Life in the Holler, even in a camper, ain’t too bad. We remain happy, healthy, and optimistic and hope the same for all of you reading.