Monthly Archives: December 2013

On poetry and tiny houses

dian sousa

Cover for Dian Sousa’s latest book of poetry.

It’s my day off and I should be out Christmas shopping or replacing my one pair of jeans that just blew out (the downside of downsizing), but instead I feel the need to write about poetry.

Yesterday I was trapped thirteen floors above downtown Oakland, breathing recycled air and banging my head on my desk, but when I got home my spirits soared. Dian Sousa’s new book of poetry, The Marvels Recorded In My Private Closet, was sitting on my doorstep, waiting to be let in.

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Autumnal sheathing: slowing down, buttoning up, closing in

final roof sheathed front

It’s starting to look like a house!

I’ve now finished my third building stint. This was a particularly reflective trip. Last time it had been hot summer and now it was definitely fall, cold and crisp. As I drove up, leaving the unseasonably high Bay Area temps behind, it felt more than ever like I was going home.

It was also a time of solo building and quietude, which was nice given that I have now gone beyond my plans and am figuring things out as I go. This involves a lot of pondering, which would likely drive others crazy waiting for me to decide the next step. Building is a lot like playing 3D chess. You need to visualize how things will come together many steps down the line. It’s incredibly challenging. I love that about it.

On top of this, I was contending with my heights phobia so I moved at the speed of a sloth while on the scaffolding and perched on the ledge mounted on the roof. As a result, I made very little obvious progress but I feel good about what did get done. There were a myriad of details that had to happen before I could sheathe the roof: blocking, hurricane ties and strapping, framing and sheathing the gable ends, laying in the outriggers and flying rafters, figuring out my house “ears”, caulking the blocking, and framing the skylights – and of course they all took longer than I expected. I also continued to do research; tried (and failed) to procure more green building materials; ordered my gas heater, stove top and ventilation fan; and dealt with returning a load of moldy sheathing. Oh, and celebrated Thanksgiving in the midst of all that with my dear family!

I want to send a big thank you out to my parents for making sure I stayed warm and for making me wonderful hot meals at the end of each day. Really appreciated. 🙂

Here is the month in pictures:   Continue reading

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