Skirting the House

I guess most people who are trying to homestead don’t have a day job that has nothing to do with homesteading. A lot of my projects happen in a very gradual manner because i only have time to work on them in the evenings or on the weekends when i’m not scheduled to work. I love my little slice of wilderness, but, as i am not infinitely wealthy, i need my day job in healthcare to pay for it. For my bigger projects, i would ask for a day off a month in advance and use my accrued pto to cover it. So, when someone decided to cancel on me or the weather didn’t cooperate, i had to wait another month before i could have a day off to reschedule. On the day we were supposed to work on the skirting I think the high was something like 34 degrees farenheit and the low was 29. The forecast predicted rain. The handyman called me and asked me if i wanted to reschedule. I told him that if the roads were dry and he could make it, i was still down to work on it that day. I say this because the handyman i hired wasn’t the type to work for you…it was more of a partnership. You had to clear your schedule because you were going to be doing half the work. You would also be providing half the tools. To be clear, it had not started raining where i was when the handyman called that morning. Apprently it had been raining in his town all night and there was ice on the roads where he was. This detail, he did not share with me. If he had, i would have called it off and told him to stay home. About 5 minutes after he arrived, with a surprising amount of ice on his vehicle, it began to rain. The rain came in the form of little balls of ice. The ones that landed in the plants and on the tree stumps stuck but the ones that landed on the ground melted. It was right around freezing. Sometimes over, sometimes under. The main discomfort was the wind. It numbed ones fingers and made one’s toes burn through the boots. I couldn’t tell if my nose was running or just frozen. I had ice bits in my hair. Before long my coat and pants became soggy from the dampness of the melting ice rain. I didn’t care. I was there to do a job. I’d taken a whole day off work to do it, and i was going to get it done. When i’m determined i have a one track mind and i’m like a creature obsessed until the job is done. My handyman did not share my enthusiasm. He took his time, and a fair amount of rest breaks. He kept saying, “okay, let’s rest now. Okay, no more for today.” I was so frustrated with peoples’ speed and pace at which they wanted to do things. I had a limited amount of free time. Every moment had to be spent doing something productive if my projects were to survive and get off the ground. I didn’t have time for resting or coming back another day. I wanted to finish the skirting on the house. Part of the problem was that my handyman had only brought a manual tool to cut through the tin, which took a long time and a lot of effort. A power tool would have used less of his energy and been quicker, but he didn’t have one. I kept us moving at as brisk a pace as i could manage. He kept asking, “you cold? You want to go inside?” I knew he would be coming with me and the work would be finished for the day if i answered yes so my answer was always, “no, i’m fine.” We spent the entire day in the freezing rain. All i could think about was how much warmer this was going to make the house now that the wind couldn’t whip underneath the house, chilling the floor boards to an icy temperature. When we secured the last piece in place the handyman stood up and shook my hand. He said, “we did it.” Without going over my checklist, i assumed we were done. He began packing his things up. I paid him. He warmed himself in the house for a little bit by the space heater and then set out down the road. I returned to the tiny house only to see the bag of airflow vents lying on the stovetop. I was not calling him back. I didn’t think he’d even come. He was so glad to be done with the winter weather for the day. I was so tired of half finished jobs. This was not going to be one of them. I called my coworker who lived down the road. I asked her if her husband had a tool that could cut through tin. He had the manual tool that could cut through tin. It was rusted by the salt water from being left in the bed of his truck when they went fishing at the coast, but if i wanted to borrow it i was welcome to. I met her at the corner and she handed me the tool through the car window. I headed back to the property and set to work finishing the skirting on my house. I used a drill bit to make a hole in the tin where i wanted to put the vent. Then i wedged the tin-cutting scissors in that hole and cut out a rectangular piece. I laid the vent over the hole i had created and switched the drill bit to a tiny one. I made the itty bittiest of holes for each screw to sit in. Then i switched to a screw driver bit and drove them into the tin, securing the vent in place. I sat back in the frozen mud and admired my handiwork. I had done it. There was a vent. The rain would not cause mold to build up underneath the house and render the structure worthless. I would create airflow to dry it out. I went around to the other side of the house and repeated the steps. I broke two drill bits but luckily, i had multiple sets from previous years’ projects. Which was good, because there was no hardware store where i lived. When vents were installed on both sides of the house i called my coworker to return the tool. She told me just to give it to her at work the next day. I set it on the floorboard of my car and went inside. I put a pasta pot on the stove and began boiling water for a bath. I was cold and all my muscles hurt but i had finished the job. The house was skirted.

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