Success! The plumber and his brother showed up this morning and plumbed the shed for the washer, moved the washer and dryer down from the falling down house to the shed - and even stood around with me while the washer went through a cycle, to be sure everything was okay. It's a good thing he did, because we quickly got an 'F-H' error message, which meant that the inlet filter was clogged. The filter got cleaned out...and, miracle of all miracles, washing commenced! I'm already on load three, and I must say that this is heavenly.
When the shed was being electrified last week, the electrician said that he'd wired alot of sheds like this for Man Caves, but that this might just be the first Woman Cave that he'd wired for electricity. So today, just before the plumber left, he sent me a pic from his phone of a friend's Man Cave door (my plumber had found the sign for him and gave it to him as a Man Cave-warming present). Me? My friend Cindi last weekend brought over a blue basket filled with mango-scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets. Perfect!
Now, I don't think I'll decorate the door to my Woman Cave with deer antlers or a football, but I am thinking that it might need a little 'Woman Cave' sign. And I might need to drink a cold beer while I watch the clothes spin in the washer. And I've suddenly got this bizarre urge to watch basketball...
(Don't you think the way the light is coming in from the skylight, shining brightly on the dryer... doesn't it look divine...literally?)
What a lovely morning... and it will be even lovelier if the plumber shows up at 8 am and moves my washer and dryer into the newly electrified shed and does the required plumbing activities so that I can spending the rest of the day doing laundry... yes, that would be even lovelier indeed.
I just can't do the laudromat again. The last time I went, the laundry sheriff (aka the woman who oversees the laundromat that is the closest to my home) told me that I couldn't wash lights and darks together. That I couldn't. I ask 'Why not?' and she looked at me like I had asked why I couldn't rob a bank. Then later, she walked by and said 'You really don't like to fold, do you?'
I mean, who wants to go to the laundromat and be subjected to laundromat snobbery?
Yep, it sure looks like a chickadee Mom and Dad are setting up residence in the Airstream birdhouse that a friend sent me over a year ago (thanks again, 3D!). All afternoon, while the electricians were electrifying the shed, the chickadees were popping in and out of the kitchen window of their Airstream.
Okay, baby steps. The plumber was a no-show, but the electricians (two guys) showed up - and there are now outlets for the washer (the lower right arrow) and the dryer (the lower left arrow) in the shed -- notice that they are high up on the wall, for easier access. There is also a single light fixture with a lovely Jeff Kopish/Lime Blue festive holiday fan pull adapted for turning on the light (top arrow). On the wall to the right (can't see it in the image above) - there are two additional plugs available for other misc. use.
Important piece of advice from the rather humorous electrician: don't run a crockpot and hair dryer at the same time on the extra plug. (Confession: I don't own a hair dryer.)
We reused outlets and some of the electrical wire from the falling-down house. I liked that. However, I did not like that the plumber who said he would show up at 11 am didn't not only NOT show up, but also didn't even call. So my lovely Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer (that I have deeply missed) are still in the falling-down house, waiting to be relocated and plumbed in the shed.
Close, so close... just gotta get the frickin' plumber to show up!
Forward progress though.
~rear of the shed, where the electrical lines for the washer (left) and dryer (right) go into the shed~
Just hold on to your hats... the shed is getting electrified today. And if we're lucky, and I mean really lucky, the plumber will show up, and the washer and dryer will get hooked up. And I will be saved from laundromat hell.
~outside a Mt Pleasant laundromat, along US Highway 17N~
I have been going to a laundromat since mid-December. A pipe in the wall of the falling-down house (which still houses my washer and dryer) burst during the unusually cold December days that we had - and it simply wasn't worth fixing it - so I had the plumber disconnect the water going to the house, and to just connect the Airstream directly to the water line. Hence, there was no longer any water going to the house and therefore to my much loved Whirlpool Duet front loader.
I've gone to the laundromat three times now. At first it was a bit of a shock: for a small load it cost $4.75 to wash, for a medium load it cost $6.25 and for a large load it cost $9.25. On my first visit, I washed two small loads, one medium load, and one large load (required for rugs) for a grand total of $25... just to wash four loads of laundry. That just took a little getting used to. The drying cost 25 cents for every three minutes and thirty seconds of drying time. So I got out of there after spending about $32.
Although the experience has been expensive, it hasn't been terrible. The upside, of course, is that you have all four loads going at once so it's quick. A number of friends have graciously offered their washers and dryers for my use - but doing one load at a time would really draw out the whole process, which isn't always a bad thing, but when you're busy it just isn't very efficient. So, thus far, I've dragged myself to the laundromat.
One funny thing about the whole laundromat experience is that I've been trying to remember my past laundromat experiences - and truthfully, I've drawn a blank. It's as if I've selectively removed all of these experiences from my memory banks. I lived in a dorm for two years in college, in an apartment for two years, then in a five-bedroom house - and in all of these different situations I can't remember how I did laundry. It was therefore either (1) uneventful or (2) so terrible that I've buried the memories. I'm guessing it was uneventful.
The plan all along, with the new house-building thing, was to build a small shed and to move the washer and dryer from the house into the shed - but I've been a bit frozen (no surprise) with the multitude of different things going on in my life (I mean, wasn't isn't going on in my life?). But the frozen pipe spurred me on - and before Christmas I ordered a lovely 8 x 10 ft resin 'Lifetime' shed from Lowe's.
[Footnote: this is not the shed of my dreams. But it is (1) reasonably priced, (2) plastic, so it won't rot in our humid summers), and (3) relatively easy to assemble.]
So the shed arrived by UPS during the first week in January - all of the pieces were contained in two large cardboard boxes. After it's arrival the weather turned colder, there was even a winter weather advisory and ice and bridge closures - but fortunately, last weekend, the weather improved: low 50s and mostly sunny. Yep, we had an old-fashioned barn-raising party, only there weren't any amish present, there was no barn (or wood of any kind) - but there was a nice fire, delicious snacks, snack-eating dogs, good conversation and gracious company, and quite a bit of wine. Close enough, don't you think? And the end result was that a resin shed was raised! One that will soon house a Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer.
~highly industrious shed-raisers, in action~
Somewhere I read that it would take two people about four hours to assemble the shed - so I thought, why not invite a dozen folks over (make a pot of soup, provide some beer and wine) and make a fun afternoon of it? Then everyone brings a little something - homemade cookies and bread, fruit, cheese, chips - you name it. More wine. Yes, there was plenty of wine. But back to the shed...
Very easy to follow instructions. I assembled by myself in about five hours. I would however recommend two people. The only problem I encountered was that I had to add some extra caulking around the skylights because of rain leakage. Other than that this was a great buy. So far it has withstood the summer heat of Las Vegas.
Here is my review not yet placed on the Lowe's website:
It took 12 adults precisely five hours to assemble the shed. We estimated that for every advanced degree and bottle of wine, it added 30 minutes to the time - so four attorney's, three PhDs, a bunch of MS and BS degrees later (and with some poetry tossed in) - well, you know what I'm talking about. Also, pay attention when the instructions say that it's important to build the shed on a level surface - and don't listen to one of the PhDs who never reads instructions (and who'll spend next week shoveling sand into areas to help level out the surface after the fact). On the upside, it's been assembled for two days and it's still standing, and after a night of light rain, it has remained dry inside. I'd say that's a miracle.
A call has been made to the plumber and electrician - who will soon move the washer and dryer into the shed, and hook it up to water and electricity (after the frozen pipe, when the water was disconnected from the house and plumbed to the Airstream - a water line was also connected that ran out to the shed location). I'd say that this is progress in this little Airstream life of mine - I'm looking forward to having my most recent (and uneventful) laundromat experiences erased from my memory - and to having access to my own washer and dryer again. Ahhhh...what becomes a luxury in this challenging life of mine!
It's a cold and dreary day - I woke up twice last night to the sound of sleet on the Airstream: brief bursts of frozen precipitation. This morning while outside with the dogs, I first thought glass had broken and scattered in the wind - until I realized it was ice that had formed on the live oak branches, that was falling with each wind gust. There were many closings, including the major bridges for most of the morning. I'm sitting in my slowly warming Airstream, editing the 4th chapter of my doctoral student, Maria's, dissertation. It's the first draft of this chapter, so I'm slowly making my way through it. She has set a defense date of 11 March 2011 - so her dissertation must be 'defensible' and in to her committee by the end of February. There's still much to be done - but we will get there. She's working hard.
~my satsuma, kept warm by a mound of wheat straw~
I've struggled with ways to keep my satsuma tree warm over the past few winters - when it was just tiny (only a foot tall) I covered it with blankets. I then tried leaves kept in place by a ring of plastic. That worked well - except the leaves got wet and become heavy - so I'd remove them, add them back - it was kind of a hassle.
I'm determined though to keep this satsuma alive and kickin' - and most importantly, producing. I've bragged about my satsuma crop before - I harvested five fruit two years ago, and didn't have a crop at all last year (I blamed it on the unusually cold winter - that we seem to be repeating this year). This year I have it hidden on cold days and nights under a rather unattractive mound of wheat straw - two bales of straw surround it, and then I sprinkle (loosely) more straw over the top of it. So far so good - and even after an unusually cold December and now this icy day.
You see, I've got to keep my satsuma thriving - because I can't wait to make these clementine (satsuma) cake from satsumas from my own garden. Does this recipe look delicious? The clementine cake is a Nigella Lawson recipe - but over at Greg's Food he substituted satsumas for the clementines to make this cake - almond flour and satsumas? Yum.
4-5 clementines(about 1 lb) 6 eggs 1 c plus 2 tbs sugar 2 and 1/3 c. ground almond meal/flour 1 heaping tsp baking powder
Put the clementines in a pot of water and bring to a boil for about 2 hrs. (We did 1.5 hrs and it turned out great!) Take out the little green stem parts and put into a blender or food processor. Pulse to liquify. Add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse to blend, or like we did, pour liquified orange pulp into a mixing bowl and whisk in the rest of the ingerdients.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Butter (or margarine) a 8in springform pan and line with parchment or wax paper (and butter that as well). Pour in batter and bake for 1hr. Like in the original recipe, we put an aluminum foil hat on the cake for the last 20 minutes - it was getting pretty dark.
A friend graciously helped me do a few Airstream repairs last Friday - some pretty basic stuff really.
(And yes, I was a bit embarrassed that I hadn't done them already. But I'm quite happy that they are done now.)
My life over the past year has been a tad crazy. Not 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' crazy, just a bit challenging-crazy (but then most of you who stop by here already know that). I've also previously mentioned in these pages my tendency to leave all of my analytical skills at the front gate when I arrive home - not exactly sure why that is. Perhaps an internal burnout-prevention mechanism?
~tires prior to air being added, side opposite door~
The first thing we did was to add air to the Airstream tires. The air pressure of the tires hadn't been tested since it was parked after work was done on the plumbing at Sonny's Camp-N-Travel (now Camper's World). Fortunately, the air pressure wasn't abyssmally low:
The two tires (on the side opposite the door): 31 PSI (rear) and 31.5 PSI (front).
The two tires (on the door side): 30.5 PSI (rear) and 33 PSI (front).
The tires are Carlisle Radial Trail Trailer Tire ST225/75R15 on 8 Spoke Galvanized Trailer Wheels (LRD)
On the tire it says 65 Max PSI.
Max. load 2540 lbs.
My friend brought his air compressor, and we got the air pressure up to approximately 45 psi in each tire - which the manual recommends.
~tires after air was added, side opposite door~
Now, my friend and I didn't stop there.
We were on an Airstream-improvement roll.
Next, we cranked down the stabilizing jacks (braces) that are built into the Airstream - two are located in the front and two in the rear of the trailer.
~one of the two front Airstream braces (image taken 18 November 2010)~
~one of the two rear Airstream braces (image taken 18 November 2010)~
All four braces were cranked down - and are now resting on 12" concrete pavers. Prior to this, the weight of the Airstream was resting on the front hitch (aka 'Druid Momument', see below) and the four tires. Now, with four additional points to help support the weight, it should help to stabilize the trailer frame.
~front braces resting on concrete pavers~
(Note: the paver close to the door of the Airstream has already cracked, and once things settle a bit, I'll replace it. My guess is that this area receives more impact stress since it's where we enter the Airstream).
The next Airstream improvement project was a bit tricky.
We needed to replace the 'Druid Monument' (aka pile of debris) used to stabilize the front Airstream hitch. If you look closely at the photo below - you'll see that the hitch was resting on (1) a piece of an ash trunk from a tree that had fallen during Hurricane Gaston, (2) two brick halves, and (3) a thin board. A lovely Druid Momument, don't you think?
Yep. Pretty snazzy. (Not to mention secure...).
I think this is the way that Bart and Chuckie left the Airstream at my place, after they delivered it from Vermont. I think these were items they snagged in the middle of the night. And I think that when Pete helped me trailer the Airstream back to my place after repairs, that we once again constructed the Druid Monument. (Once again, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that.)
Above you can see the Ever-Handsome Stanley sitting near the Druid Monument. This was an image taken back in July of 2007 when I was still in the imagining stage of this little Airstream adventure.
So, the problem with the hitch was that it only seemed to move up, and not down (which complicated things a bit). But miraculously and unexplainably, the electric hitch and small cup at the base of the hitch were fiddled with (fiddle=highly sophisticated engineering technique) and it moved down.
Down is good.
~electric jack on front hitch, arrow points to location of toggle switch~
~closeup of small cup at the base of the hitch~
The end result is that the front Airstream hitch is now happily and securely resting on six 12" concrete pavers.
Lovely, don't you think?
So the Airstream tires received a bit of attention, as did the braces and front hitch. All-in-all, the Airstream feels more secure and I'm sure that its frame is grateful for the extra support. As for the Druid Monument - I'm confident that the toast made with Dansk Mjod Viking Blod (mead) around a fire will satisfy the ancient spirits wandering amongst the circle of live oaks that sits next to my Airstream home. You've got to keep the spirits happy, right?