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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/31/2014

Time for an evaluation again - just how realistic were my Tanglewood Summer 2014 plans?

Having learned my lesson from previous years where I gave myself a half dozen or so big tasks to accomplish, this year I figured I would keep it to just two. That seemed rational and reasonable and I believe it was - at the time - a good list. But unfortunately Real Lifetm intruded in the form of various time-eating disasters:

  1. My radiant heat system had a bit of a problem that became evident back in March. While this wasn't really summertime per se the associated costs with getting this fixed took a chunk out of the Tanglewood emergency funds, and rebuilding those had an impact on the shed work to be sure. Plus of course the time in lining up the repair ate up time I could have spent working on the shed...Grrrrr.

  2. In May I discovered, much to my surprise, that my poor Blazer (his name was Silver) had a pretty severe problem. While having a friend change the brake pads we discovered that Silver's frame was BROKEN! Not cracked but truly broken--both sides, clean through. Some investigation on the web revealed that a.) this was an annoyingly common problem that many people had complained about, b.) was due to the front portion under the engine being welded to the back portion under the truck body proper, and c.) there was basically no way at all to fix it in a trustworthy fashion. This sudden loss of my primary vehicle meant I had to scramble to find a replacement and the purchase of a new truck (a Trailblazer aptly named Trouble) of course put yet another hit to my emergency funds. During this period I once again got virtually nothing done on the shed as my weekends were (once again) taken up with the new vehicle search. Grrrrr.

  3. In August my well pump died--just like that, no warning, no nothing. THAT little trip into water jugs and "we can't do laundry" was most unpleasant. Not only did it eat up time in figuring out what was going on and then getting it repaired (I had a fine company out of Aurora replace the pump), but it did of course have its negative impact on the Tanglewood emergency funds. Grrrr once again!

  4. Then in September, just as I was getting a good handle on the shed and making some fine progress in finshing up siding and painting work I got hit again with yet more automotive repairs. Turned out that (probably) one of the reasons Trouble was for sale (and let me add he was in excellent condition otherwise) apparently was that his transmission was acting up. I'd begun having some odd behaviors coming up the canyon where it would "jump" out of gear into neutral. Taking it to Ye Olde Transmission Shoppe they did some checking and gave me the bad news--the transmission needed to be rebuilt. The fluid smelled like it had never been changed and the symptoms I was experiencing would only get worse so it was actually pretty good I came in when I did. One week and change later Trouble had a shiny new and properly working transmission, but Tanglewood's emergency fund had of course taken another hit. At least this time I pretty much had everything nearly done and we actually moved the solar equipment a couple of weeks later, but I did lose one solid weekend of work dealing with the whole thing. GRRRRRR.
So with all of that nonsense in mind here's my evaluation of how well I fulfilled my Summer 2014 plans:

  1. Finish and transition to the new shed – It's amazing how much work this turned out to be, since I technically started planning the whole thing back in May, 2012. At that time I had naively thought I'd be able to finish it up before that winter arrived--silly rabbit.

    Still I did very well this summer in what was basically the final push to completion. The shed went from a mostly unfinished ICF shell with a roof to being a papered, sided, painted, and occupied building....not bad at all. Very much the work I did over the winter helped enormously as I shudder to think where I could have possibly found the time to do that work on top of the work I did managed to accomplish with all of the interruptions I documented above.

    But the basic goal was reached--I head into Winter, 2014 with everything moved into its new, very insulated, snug and secure home. There's some work to be done yet on the inside (finishing up adding more insulation--gotta find a home for it somewhere and the new shed is the best place for it) and next summer I'll need to put up siding on the downhill exterior (currently blocked by the old shed). None of that should be anywhere near as annoying or time-consuming (he said) as building the thing in the first place though and that in turn allows me to turn my attention to projects closer to Tanglewood proper.

    So despite all of the setbacks and interruptions I think I done GOOD here. Grade: A-.

  2. Widen the driveway – A long desired project for the last couple of years, virtually nothing got done on this whatsoever this summer. Mostly I blame that on the miscellaneous problems I noted above, but I have to admit that part of me just didn't want to deal with it when I was so close to finishing up the shed's work. Since I did move up a few more buckets of dirt that came out of the generator area to eventually be used for infill I'll give myself a tiny bit of credit, but basically I didn't do squat here.

    But the shed is done so I don't really care--so I'm gonna be needlessly generous here. Grade: D.

On balance it seems like I didn't get much done, but actually finishing the oft-cursed shed was a Major Accomplishment. Going forward I'm thinking that the Winter, 2014 plans will focus more on Tanglewood internals projects, and I have high hopes that my Summer 2015 plans will find me around the main house a bit more as well.

Heck of a summer, that's for sure! Definitely ready to not have to be repairing things for a good long while.

Steven in Colorado

My Construction Website

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