Peaceful and content – week four cabin update

peaceful and content
Highway 66 Detour, Photo by slc

October 2nd was the beginning of week four cabin renovation, but also the first day of Highway 34’s restricted usage due to the 2013 flood reconstruction project.  During the week, I worked on projects closer to home and substituted on Thursday and Friday at a middle school.

On Saturday, October 7th, it was forecast to be a balmy 70+ degrees so I headed up the cabin around noon, outside the new normal morning canyon access hours of 6:00-8:30 a.m.  Leaving at noon meant I had to go an extra 25 miles along the detour through the cities of Longmont and Lyons.  Little did I know, “leaf peepers” were also headed up to Estes Park on the same route.

peaceful and content
Fox Creek, Photo by slc

Normally, when I drive directly from my home to the cabin on Highway 34, it takes me about 40 minutes to turn onto Memory Lane.  On October 7th, it took 105 minutes (1-3/4 hours).  I tried to enjoy the fall orange and gold scenery.  The mountains had received a fresh dusting of snow.  I was not going to get stressed out by the huge delay due to the crowded detour.

Once at the cabin, I worked for about 2-1/2 hours on more repointing of the old stone foundation, picking up and disposing of tar paper, siding, and lumber into the rented dumpster, loading miscellaneous metal into my car’s trunk for recycling, and spraying a bleach/water mixture on the original cabin’s tongue and groove moldy pine ceiling.  Not glamorous work but I relished every moment in the warm gentle breeze, utter silence and the picturesque forest.  I didn’t want to leave.  It was so peaceful.

discover peacefulness
slc

Following the pilot car on my way home down the “normal” Highway 34 route (I was within the evening access hours of 4:00-8:00 p.m.), I discovered how truly peaceful and content I feel for the first time in my retirement.

In Walden, Henry David Thoreau wrote,  “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

 

Funeral, repointing & another nail – week three cabin update

At the age of 100-1/2, Marguerite died on September 21, 2017 and her funeral was September 27. May she rest in peace.  Marguerite was my son-in-law’s only surviving grandparent and he attended her funeral this week in western Iowa.  I continued work on the cabin’s property cleanup and began “repointing” the nearly 80-year-old stone foundation.

cabin repointing
Stone foundation before

You can learn how to do almost anything on YouTube.com, including “repointing.” According to Wikipedia, “Repointing is the process of renewing the pointing, which is the external part of mortar joints, in masonry construction.”  I watched a This Old House video and then drove to Home Depot to buy the necessary supplies.

cabin repointing
Repointing after photo, mortar still wet

Spackling and repointing are similar in my opinion.  You are filling in gaps or holes with a compound and smoothing that compound out so it blends in.  I think it turned out pretty well for my first time at repointing.  Doing the work myself saved a lot of money by not having to hire a stone mason to perform the tedious work and it was rewarding to know I could do make the stone foundation secure again.

Demolition exposes many nails and other potentially dangerous elements. Another nail made its presence known this week, this time to my son-in-law.  He was working alone on the second story demo when he stepped on a nail and it went through his boot and into the bottom of his foot.  After applying first aid, he went back to work for several more hours but he too wondered, like me last week, when was his last tetanus shot?

cabin repointing
Second story of addition demolished, 10/1/17

As Highway 34 is only open on a limited basis beginning October 2nd, we worked hard and fast to try to accomplish as much as we could this week.  We finished tearing down the second story section of the cabin addition, tarped a portion of the roof and boarded up part of the original cabin.  Work will slow now as the weather changes and the road closure restricts our access.

cabin repointing
Cabin, October 1, 2017

Much work remains but we are making progress and who could ask for a better working environment than in the Roosevelt National Forest in Glen Haven, Colorado.

Tetanus? – week two cabin update

 

tetanus
Cabin roof (before), Photo by slc

My critical demo question this week was “When did I get my last tetanus shot?” While helping my son-in-law remove the second story windows of the cabin, I slightly ripped my work pants just to the left of my knee. I walked too close to a three-inch nail protruding out of one of the window frames.  I felt some pain at the time but I didn’t think it had done any damage until later that evening.

After a much-needed shower and putting on comfortable clothes including shorts, I was eating dinner and watching the news when I noticed a deep bloody scratch to the left of my knee cap.  It hurt when I touched it and that’s when I wondered “When did I get my last tetanus shot?”

tetanus
After Demo Week 2, Photo by slc

Working under dangerous and unsanitary conditions on this cabin rehab has been interesting and a real test of my “guts to take on a fixer upper.”  We knew we would be working with mold in the drywall and insulation.  We knew there was low levels of asbestos in the floor tile. We knew we would be working around black widow spiders as we discovered two during our inspection.  We also knew we would be working with rusty nails and wet, sagging floorboards.  We didn’t know we would be working around large red ants and removing at least eight large garbage bags of animal excrement and pinecones discovered deposited in the walls and attic space.

 

tetanus
East side of cabin (before), Photo by slc
tetanus
After Week 2 Demo, Photo by slc

Despite these working conditions, we accomplished a lot this week, as you can see from the photos.

I finally remembered I was immunized with the Tdap vaccine when my granddaughter was born in 2012.  At that time I was employed as a high school teacher and my daughter wanted to protect her newborn daughter from pertussis (whooping-cough) so I was vaccinated.  Now, that same vaccine is protecting me from contracting tetanus from the rusty nails I encounter during this cabin demo/build.

When did you get your last tetanus shot?

Newest life journey – week one cabin update

Image result for quotes keys

newest life journey
Key to cabin, Photo by slc

Day #2  This key finally opened the locked well-worn cabin door and now I hold the key to my newest life journey!

Today, I pulled thistles, raked and picked up bags and bags of small tree limbs and dry tall grasses before my son-in-law arrived to help with grass trimming around the 3/4 acre property.  He also removed cabinet doors from inside the cabin.  We wanted to open up everything so we could set off a Raid Max Deep Reach Fogger before we left for the day.  Several unwanted creatures live in old, abandoned mountain cabins.  Mice and squirrels have left signs of their visits to my cabin but the most unwanted creatures right now are the black widow spiders; we found two today.

newest life journey
1945 Magazine, Photo by slc

We also found a treasure today: an August 1945 edition of the We The People of North Carolina magazine.  In it are some pretty interesting articles.  One titled “Teachers’ New Salary Schedule” describes “minimum state salary schedule adopted for payment of all teachers next year, both white and Negro.”  A teacher with a graduate degree and two years experience would receive an annual salary of $1,487 which “includ(es) the $120 war bonus.”

Other articles titled “An Overall Picture of War-Time America” and “Federal Spending Down” reflect America’s history back in 1945.  The magazine was in good condition and made for fascinating reading at the end of the day.

Day #3

newest life journey
Permit, Photo by slc

I didn’t get up to the cabin today but I did attend a gathering of Big Thompson Canyon residents to pick up a permit.  The Canyon will be closed October 2nd for winter CDOT construction projects which are necessary to repair damage sustained in the 2013 Big Thompson River flooding.  According to CDOT’s press release the permit will “allow canyon residents living within the closure boundaries access” during the “large-scale closure.”

My cabin happens to be on the other side of the road closure but I was able to get a permit so I at least have limited access through the Canyon.  I can also access the cabin at other times but by a much further route through Lyons and Estes Park.  This closure will cause us to halt most work on the cabin as contractors will charge more to deal with the closure/permit situation.

The Canyon road, Highway 34, will reopen Memorial Day weekend 2018.

Read more

Cabin Day #1 – My Side of the Mountain

cabin day 1
slc

You may remember I put a contract on a “fixer upper” cabin in early August.  These past few weeks I have read various library books about cabins.  Building, designing and living life in a cabin.  My favorite title was Cabin Porn, Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere by Steven Leckart, but one of the most interesting I read was Cabin Lessons, A Nail-by-Nail Tale by Spike Carlsen.

I have also contacted a credit union for a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) loan, the county building department about future building permits, a structural engineer for an Improvement Location Certificate (ILC), a stone mason to look at the condition of the stone fireplace and foundation, and an asbestos testing company which took 20 samples (one positive).  In between making these contacts, I read extensive government documents regarding fire mitigation, asbestos testing requirements and demolition guidelines.

On September 5th I closed on the HELOC loan and on September 8th I closed on the cabin property.  It was a childhood dream to live in a cabin in the mountains some day.  Ever since reading one of my favorite books My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.  That day has come.

Today, I drove about 40 minutes from my home in Loveland up to the property in Glen Haven to begin work on my “fixer upper.”  Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly what I dreamed of…

I was a little out of breath in the video from cutting and hauling tree limbs to the slash pile for almost four hours at 7400 feet above sea level.  I also didn’t have cell service to call anyone for help.  More cabin updates to come…

 

Retirement decisions

retirement decisions
thebalance.com

Getting the most out of your retirement dollars

by Larry Hungerford, Winston-Salem Journal

July 1, 2017

“Given that so many baby boomers are retiring as they age into their 60s, I thought that a column that provides some basic ‘money tips’ for them might be appropriate. Certainly, it is a huge adjustment to give up that regular paycheck to live off of Social Security, pensions and savings.

Of course, the best of all possible scenarios is to retire from a full-time job to work part time doing something enjoyable. It means you don’t need to deplete your savings as rapidly and you still have the opportunity to fund (up to $6,500 per year per person) your and your spouse’s Roth IRAs. (As of last April, 19 percent of Americans age 65 and over were still working, the highest rate since 1962.)

When I discuss the retirement decision with clients, there are always two key questions.

The obvious one is how much income will they have available to maintain their preferred lifestyle? The second question is: Do they still enjoy going to work every day?

If they are in their mid-60s and dislike their jobs, then I argue that we need to do everything possible to make the numbers work so they can retire. It may even mean taking Social Security early — giving up the yearly 8 percent raise (plus cost of living adjustments) as well as scaling back on planned expenditures after they retire. (The usual best strategy for Social Security is to draw on your spouse’s account while you permit yours to keep increasing until age 70.)

The amount of money retirees can withdraw from their savings and the way that is done to pay the lowest taxes possible are the two most crucial financial decisions they must make. Given how little safer investments pay (money markets, CD’s, government bonds, etc.), investing during retirement in the stock market is a must.”

Read more

Contact Larry Hungerford, age 81, at 335-941-3164 or e-mail him at hhplanner@aol.com.

Retirement tips for workaholics

Trust me, workaholics never really retire.  We just find other ways to fulfill our drive to accomplish something. The following article will help my fellow workaholics find some peace and success in retirement:

Surviving Retirement When You’re a Workaholic

By By Douglas Dubitsky, Next Avenue 

June 28, 2017

Can a workaholic ever retire?

“Many workaholics genuinely enjoy the rush of starting and completing projects and continuing the non-stop cycle. So it may also be difficult for them to contemplate what life may be like in retirement once they are officially out of the workforce.

If you’re a workaholic, smoothing your transition to retirement means uncovering the answer to the question: What part of the end of your job will you miss the most? It might be the people. Or the challenges. Or having purpose. Once you know which it is, you can focus on how to reap the same benefits — and feelings —while not holding down full-time employment.

workaholics
adobe stock photo

5 Retirement Tips for Workaholics

 Start slowly.

 Experiment and schedule.

 Give yourself a break.

 Talk it out.

 Look ahead.”

For more details

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