A clean, well-lighted place for writing
I have three or four writing projects that I'm supposed to be working on but our house is a churning oligopoly of caregivers who come in daily to look after my Mum, who celebrated her 90th year by getting hammied and breaking a hip. (I'm kidding about the hammied part. When you're in your 90th year, beer loses its lustre. Although the occasional hit of Gatorade is a real upper.) Anyway, my concentration is lame with all the activity around the house, or at least that's my excuse.
So I came up with the huge distraction of building a writing studio away from the topsy turvy household. Happily we have a south-facing 12' x 16' shed-roof structure that used to function as a livestock run-in, judging by the knee-deep mounds of horse pucky.
So we started by shovelling out the old shed with the help of our neighbour Alex, who swears by well-aged equine poo for encouraging her summer garden. Unfortunately the poo was frozen since we live on The Tundra just north of Toronto, Ontario, so it took a day or two of pick-axing before the ground was level enough to proceed.
Only after we'd hung all of the floor joists did we put clear plastic vapor barrier over the ground beneath the joists, because plastic is slippery as hell to walk on, especially when it's on top of rock-hard frozen dung.
Next, we had to construct a string net to prevent the insulation batts from falling through the joists onto the ground beneath. We wrapped nylon twine around each joist in rows about 2 feet apart, then ran additional lines parallel to the joists to carry the batts. It was minus 30 degrees Celsius and our fingers got chilblains, but a construction-induced medical condition is a great conversation starter at parties.
Alex, who has the endurance of a cyborg, pushed all of the fibreglass batts into position with her bare hands. I can't even look at insulation without developing a prickly, excoriating rash. But I think that makes me interesting.
Our next step will be installing the plywood subfloor. But first I have to take a break from the Canadian permafrost to shoot a couple of commercials in Atlanta, GA, where they've never heard of 'tundra'. And I'm not going to be the one to tell them.