It is our favorite holiday, time off from work for Jay and LOTS of food. It is a precursor to what Christmas break feels like-relaxing after a ski, games with friends, coffee, telling stories, coffee...haha. So our house is becoming more of a home, not so much a project. We have moved in. We are still without plumbing, but our friends down the street have opened their home for basic needs, such as the bathroom. They are out of town, expecting a baby, so we are taking care of their dog and using their kitchen and bath for now. As we shuffle things to our new house, shelves need to go up still and much of our belongings are still packed, or were thrown in at the last minute, hence the clutter of tubs and random things that are waiting to be placed properly. Kemper loves the woods, lots of trees to do his outdoor business on. He is a lab who needs some sort of brush, trees, or grass to relieve himself, he has always been that way. SO, besides making a post of information you really didn't want to know on our dog and our latest living conditions, here come the pictures!


New Table

Romay and I made Jason a table. Well, it is our makeshift table until we get the table from a real furniture store. With living in the bush and everything costing an extra dollar or two, Romay and I looked around at some of our resources and decided to make "something" until next summer arrives and the next barge season starts. Yeah, its a little small, but it will do for the three of us and we'll make do when people come over with trays and what not. I'd rather do this than pay someone too much money to ship some fancy looking wood, a table.


Can you believe it? An update!

Well, I won't get into the whirlwind of activities from the last month. It has been a beautiful fall here in Galena, maybe as one not teaching this year, I have more time to see and enjoy it. I should apologize for the lack of pictures for the last month, sorry for stringing you along on our building adventure and halting suddenly in my online tracks. My laptop power cord gave up and I watched the laptop battery dwindle down...then, the internet service at the house we're staying at was discontinued due to the fact that no one would be living there...soon. So, he is the latest. Finally, you get a peek into the latest accomplishments! (heating tank mounted and fuel in it, heating unit installed, plumbing started, electrical started, cabinets in, appliances moved inside!)


Last of August 12

Floor as you enter the house.

All partitioning in the house is complete! Tomorrow we start the rough plumbing.

Now I know what I will look like when I'm 80.

More of August 12

Ok, these pictures are backwards in order. Oh well. 5 hours of sanding the floor creates a sandstorm in the house!

The living room sanding begins.

Hair before sanding.

Another picture of the water tank room.

The couch is in! Sometimes its a little hard to get off from break to get back to work.

August 12, 2010

Water tank room

Partitioning upstairs


Romay throwing her corn on the cob. We started seeing who could throw their cob the highest on a tree. So far Jason has Romay and I trying to beat his branch.

Dinner on the run-brats, corn on the cob and zucchini with butter.


August 10, 2010

It may not look like much, studs erected, but about a gallon of stain went on as well. Jason predicts that he can start the rough plumbing this thursday. With the weather cooling down a tad and the extra cups of coffee, I think he's right. We're not much for words when it's late, but the pictures do justice.


Back in Alaska

There will be no pictures on this one... sorry. I am currently sitting in College Coffee House in Fairbanks with an empty coffee cup staring me in the face. This will therefore need to be a quick post as I need to remedy that and I can see the countdown clock on my internet time ticking away below this window.

My time in Washington State was so very worthwhile. For those that do not know and think I had finally just gone nuts from swinging a hammer all summer, I was sent down for a College Board Advanced Placement training for AP Literature. It was by far the best inservice I had ever attended.

There have been some programs in my distant teaching past (some programs that still exist in some places) that I won't mention, that felt like I was sitting through a four day sales pitch. I would hate to burn a bridge that I may have to cross some day and so that is all I will say on that. With the sales pitch idea in mind, AP was such a breath of fresh air.

The week was broken up into teachable lessons and units as well as what our kids should expect upon taking the test. Everyone in my session was very focussed and it was just such a joy to sit and talk literature. How many people out there really get excited about breaking down a Shakespearean Sonnet, or get a kick out of text to text connections between the song Hurt and the book of Ecclesiastes?

Then, you add in the fact that I was sleeping in a comfortable bed every night rather than a classroom floor (only in AK) and it just gets that much better. However, I could not help but miss home and am so ready to be back there. Is it truly possible to feel the boarder when you cross back into Alaska? Why did I get this smile on my face that only got bigger the closer I got to home and my family?

One more day of Fairbanks and some vehicle maintenance and I'll be back home... happily hugging my family and again picking up a hammer and heading back to work. I don't think I really need anything more than that in my life. God has been so good.

Oh, and Dad, since I am sure you are curious, the truck is running amazingly with new plugs and the manifold. It didn't even have to work to get up and down the hills on the way to Nenana.
God bless... Jason


August 1, 2010

The first coat of stain went on. It was stunning to see the grains of wood come out!


July 31, 2010

Today slowed down a bit. We didn't eat breakfast to get out the door to build at the lot. The arctic entryway is complete. This signifies the fact that we're done with outside work for awhile. Now, begins the inside work of plumbing and electrical. Jason and I also moved all the kitchen cabinets inside the kitchen. Well, the house really won't have any work done on it for about a week. Jay left for Washington state this evening. It was hard to say goodbye to him. There is the emotional side of saying bye and well, I also have a ton of things to accomplish before he returns. It just kind of felt like abandonment :) We laughed about that and really, I think this little training will be perfect timing. He will appreciate the time away from thinking about building and to get away from the whole project and stress of the project. I'm really happy for him. Meanwhile, Romay and I will do all the little mundane jobs around the house that involve moving. We also have a bit of cleaning to do around the lot, including organizing the mountain pile of scrap wood that isn't usable for building anything. You know, the 4 inch pieces of 2x4 or what have you. Well, Romay and I will hold things down and work hard so that Dad can have a smooth transition when he comes back.


July 29, 2010

We reached a milestone in building today. There are a few more to go, but the fact that we no longer need to Tyvek or insulate the house is a big deal. First off, Dad (I know you will read this sooner or later), we used almost all the scraps to finish off the arctic entryway. We will take a picture of what insulation was left and I'm sure you (Dad) will nod and laugh at how tight the 2 inch material ended up being. We kept relating the fact that you did a wonderful job of saving everything to allow us to finish off the entryway. Jason found out that he leaves on saturday for a training in Washington. This means we have tomorrow and a part of saturday to do the entryway roof and door and perhaps start electrical. Meanwhile, Romay and I will pack up remaining things at our current place and clean up the yard a bit. We have accumulated quite an unusable scrap wood pile that will burn nicely in the wood stove. We picked out a GORGEOUS wood stove that will have to have its own blog entry later on. I can't wait to do that one. The weather was a thing to contend with today. Maybe we would have finished two hours earlier, if it weren't for the pseudo rain and 3 minute downpours that happened all day. The nights are now dusky and our midnights are actually nights where one would have to turn on their lights on vehicles. It is always a reminder that school is around the corner with fall up and coming. That is maybe a reality check, but not necessarily one that has to come quicker than it has to. Well, its a late night, like every other night. Until tomorrow, goodnight.


July 28, 2010

Between mists of rain and rain, we managed to get a few things done today. A quick recap: 1/2 of the sanding done on the floors upstairs, most of the sheathing done in the arctic entryway, most of the Tyvek up on entryway, insulation and strapping started. In all of this, we bar-b-qued some brats and not so great corn. It was definitely a noteworthy day, despite the crummy weather.



There are days where it just feels like nothing gets done on the house. In some cases, a small detail will end up taking so much more time than originally anticipated. Today was a culmination of a couple of those frustrating tasks...

Myra, who is so much more artistic than I am, took on the task of staining the posts and rafters on the second floor. Those rafters don't look like they should have very much surface area... three days later. They look absolutely amazing and My definitely deserves the credit for that job... "Jason, who taught you how to color?" was often asked as I lent a hand.

While Myra was working on the staining upstairs, I took on the task of building the beams and rafters for the arctic entryway... after building the main house, I looked at the little seven by ten area and thought to myself... two days... well, it has been slightly longer than that. The rafters didn't go together exactly as I had planned and so that kind of slowed me down... and then the last 2x6s I needed for the final rafter were acting as scaffolding up in the rafters so that Myra could stain and then the two of us could polyeurothane (who knows how to spell that word anyway?) the ceiling to keep finger prints and dust bunnies from staining the wood. They finally all went together and we got to the section that always feels like it is flying... sheathing, but the posts did not want to stand straight and level and I could not for the life of me figure out what to anchor them to while we were starting the sheathing... well, the pictures show that we made some headway on the whole ordeal and I am afraid to say that the arctic entry will be completely sheathed by tomorrow evening, but the arctic entry will be completely sheathed by tomorrow evening.


July 26, 2010

Staining rafters and arctic entryway rafters, that was today's story. One thing for sure, one does have a lot of time to think and process as one stains. Today my thoughts revolved around school starting soon. Unfortunately, this lead to some stress. Jason leaves next week for a week. He will be attending a training in Washington on teaching AP classes. I'm sad for two reasons, one: Jason is gone and two: Washington is my old stomping grounds, how I miss it! Well, I'll have more staining awaiting me everyday, no, that is not very comforting. Meanwhile, Romay and I will continue to grill. We had zucchini today with butter on the grill. Yesterday it was corn. You can't go wrong there. I'm convinced that it isn't just because we were so hungry either. We had a whole package of chicken drumsticks. We grilled the whole package. I can't remember how many there were, but they were all gone upon leaving the lot tonight. It was amazing to see the price on the packaging, $7.50. It was a Fairbanks purchase. Moving away from the topic of food, well maybe it is because that is the most exciting part of our day. "2nd verse, same as the first," type of day. When we came home, we dabbled in the garden. Dabbling includes picking the ripe raspberries and eating them. Sometimes we non-competitively race each other to get the best looking ones. Haha, I know, oxymoron. There was a little bit of sportsmanship as Romay gave me some of her raspberries. Maybe we will be dabbling with peas next week. Maybe tomorrow we can move onto something else besides staining for our blog entry. AND, of course, give a sentence or two including the kind of things that made it onto the grill.