Thursday, January 27, 2005

Human Error

The four water tanks arrived last week, but I had to send 3 of them back. They were 1100 gallons instead of the 1000 gallon tanks I'd ordered. Not a big deal except that the two designs are radically different, the former being short and squat and the latter talll and skinny. The shed I'd built for the tanks accommodates only the taller skinner ones.

Another error, from a different vendor, resulted in several metal fittings ordered galvanized being delivered with out the specified coating. In addition 30 custom brackets were the wrong model completely.

I mention both of these because they were both due to human error on the part of the vendor. Errors that could have been avoided if they would allow ordering through their websites. Or at the very least any error would have been my own. This seems important when in both cases any meager margins for the products were consumed and then some by the errors.

In the case of the tanks, it's a bit more understantable that there is no direct ordering as the logistics of shipping are involved, but in the other case it's harder to understand. The company is Simpson StrongTie and though one has to look up the model and download the custom order form from their website, one is forced to go through a dealer to order them. This seems a complete and unnecessary waste.

On the other hand how far will automation take us? Are these really incompetent humans that can do better or at least not representative of most humans or is some level of incompetence a human trait that we should recognize, and if not celebrate, at least abide? If in order to satisfy my desire to never be inconvenienced in the slightest way the human element must be removed is my being invonvenienced really the most important thing?

The Roof is On

I would say that my mood is bouyant. Good things are happening daily, nay hourly. Most importantly the days are getting longer, warmer, and drier. If one were going to build a house in the winter in coastal Oregon, this was the year to do it. But even so December and January were mentally challenging. But now it's just a delight to go down and work on the house.

The roof is on. Today the last roof panel was finally put into place. There is still the ridge cap to put on (not an easy task) and one that it is hoped will remove the last two drips of rain in the house (around the vent and chimney pipe).

I calculate that on or about February 8th the sun will once again strike the roof. I expect that the effect will be blinding. Pictures soon.

The doors are here. Last week we went and picked up all 6 of them. The two exterior doors are oiled up and ready to be installed. Pictures soon.

I've been working on the electrical system, and making terrific progress. 400 feet of metal conduit had to be run in the basement and that is nearly complete. Soon I will actually hook it up to the panels.

I am targeting April for move-in.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Still Two Panels Shy of a Roof

Nothing happened on the house between December 20th and today, January 7. It has been dark, wet and near freezing. The house, not being fully enclosed is not the most pleasant place to work. I will confess to some post-holiday reluctance to getting going again. Having spent the holiday in the warm bossom of my parent's home, with lots of hot water, mounds of food, and nothing really to do, I found my return to my dank, fetid, icy hovel of a temporary residence a bit of a shock.

Turning the heat off overnight has meant the house descending to the 45 degree level by morning. I find it is awfully hard to drag my ass out of bed into such a chill.

But today I sucked it up, went out and wired the bathroom. Still, I only worked until 3:30 today when my toes were frozen and my fingertips numb. The forecast is for the cold snap to end after next week. Even so, the entire winter has been relatively dry.

The pumps, water tanks, and filtration equipment have all been ordered from afar and are en route. The doors will be picked up and the exterior ones installed this month. Deck/porch lumber has been ordered and the deck may be truly started this month as well.

I'm still two panels short of a roof. Some say this is also describes me personally. The chimney and vent still leak, but the roofers are convinced that it is water running down from the still open ridge. So the roof will be sealed up in the next week or so, and if it still leaks, then it will have to be reworked in the summer.

The days are getting mercifully longer and in another 45 days we will start seeing signs of spring. I look forward to it more than I do Christmas.