Monday, February 11, 2008

It's monday

There were no good movies this weekend, I didn't quite finish the main book I'm reading, and I'd rather not dip into my reserve postings yet so... I guess you get to hear about construction.

You should have seen the picture of me working on my attic. If not just scroll down a bit.

I got the hole cut and cross beams installed. Then I needed to get the hatch and folding ladder up through the hole. It weighs about 65lbs (~30kg). I ran a extending ladder up through the hole, leaned the hatch against the ladder, and lifted. I got the hatch above my head and through the hole with about an inch to spare. But it needed to go higher. I lifted my right foot to climb the ladder and the hatch started swinging to the left. I put that foot down and tried again with the left foot first. The hatch swung to the right. I tried a few more times but without a third arm to stabilize myself better it just didn't work.

The clothesline rope I've been looking for for a year or two materialized as if by magic. I tied it on to the hatch, climbed into the attic, and started hauling. But the closer it got the harder it was to lift. I never got it high enough to grab and leave my spine intact.

I needed help. I considered the neighbor kids who are always asking to help since they're bored silly. But they're too short and probably not strong enough to lift. And even if they are they'd get squashed if I lost my grip. So I called Bruise at work and asked him stop by on the way home. He lifted, I grabbed and pulled. No sweat.

Later I sat the hatch on my shoulders and lowered it into place. I hadn't cut the hole to fit the hatch. I cut the hole to get the pieces of ceiling joist removed. So the hatch was supported by slats on one end and by a tight fit on the other. I'd also sunk some screws into the sides so if the first line of support failed there was something else to back them up. I drove what nails I could and cut the hole larger so the hatch would open.

Yesterday I opened the hatch so I could swing the hammer enough to drive the rest of the nails. The ladder comes in three pieces that are hinged. When fully unfolded the hinges should also unfold completely. Anything less and the ladder becomes unstable and more prone to breaking. But there was about a 15° gap that I had to close. Plus the legs were squared off so I needed to cut them so they'd hit the floor flat. I made an educated guess and cut. I apparently wasn't educated enough because two further cuts still didn't do the job. Finally I grabbed a slat of bamboo flooring, ran it along the middle 1/3 of the ladder and on to the floor. Then I marked it. I transfered the mark to the lower 1/3 of the ladder and cut. This cut was just above the bottom step. It seemed a ridiculous amount to cut off but it turned out to be right.

It was a thrill to be able to walk up the ladder the first time.

Then I hooked up the wet/dry vac in the attic to start getting crud out. The bedroom ceiling was built by nailing thin slats to the ceiling joists and then smooshing some cement/plaster-type substance through the gaps. So I had to move back and forth along the ceiling, reaching between joists, and running the vacuum hose up and down the slats between smooshed substance. By the time I ran the width of the house three time (15ft/pass) the wet/dry vac was full of a nasty black substance and refused to take any more. Still, it's an improvement on vacuuming up a dust so fine that it clogged the filter every 5 minutes. More of this task tonight.

The next horror will be to make the ceiling around the hatch look clean. It's all ragged and ugly at the moment.

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