One Last Point: ... dwelt in a tent

By Jef Hatch, Pilot staff writer August 08, 2012 08:55 am

 

I never knew how much I missed a headboard or wall at the head of my bed until I slept without one.

My pillows end up on the floor, my body position changes, and I’ve found that I don’t sleep as well.

The reason I don’t have a headboard or wall at the head of my bed is because we are currently sleeping in a tent while we finish a few things on the house we purchased.

A few things ... painting, flooring, repairing rot, building a custom shower, building a bathroom vanity, putting in a toilet ... .

Of all of those things, I’ve got previous experience with just two – painting and putting in a floor.

Thank goodness for Google and YouTube.

I’ve realized the key to getting helpful information out of the major search engines is to have exact key words.

Entering “how to install wood floors” brought back so many results that gleaning any usable information out them would take a billion years. But, entering “should I glue 1x12 wide-plank pine flooring to a concrete substrate or just float it?” brought back much more manageable results.

I’m sure that any contractors or construction professionals are looking at my list of “to do’s” and laughing – or counting down the days until I call them to come fix the problems that I’m bound to create – at my idiocy.

You see, I’ve painted, and I’ve installed click and lay flooring previously. 

So out of the short list from above, I’ve got two down. My wife is doing the painting – with the help of her sister, Heidi, and a dear friend, Mary Jean, who is a consummate artist – and we’re doing pine floors that have to be routed with a tongue-and-groove, kerfed and pre-drilled to avoid splitting when we screw them down to the sub floor.

I’ve never built a shower, nor have I built a bathroom vanity or put in a toilet, but experience is the best teacher and I’m excited. 

What I haven’t been excited by is the sleeping in a tent in my backyard until the house is ready to move into.

We borrowed a huge tent from my best friend – thanks Alan – and it has room for our queen bed, three kids’ mattresses and a port-a-crib.

What it doesn’t have is soundproofing, curtains or any privacy. When one kid decides it’s time to wake up, the family wakes up – even if I’m pretending to sleep.

When an overly friendly and curious raccoon comes huffing up on the porch and around the tent, I get up to investigate. The first night it happened, I wasn’t sure what kind of creature it was making noises outside tent. 

Monday night I finally worked up the courage to peek out the tent window and make a positive identification.

When it rains and the water pools at the edge of the rain fly, I get to go out into the dead of night and get the water off, so it doesn’t leak on the kids’ heads.

When it is cold and wet outside, I’m the only one who can’t sleep and gets up six times to use the bathroom. 

I’m always comforted by the fact that this experience is not long-term, and it, too, shall pass.

People keep reminding me that we’re making memories for life, and I’m sure we are, but I can’t wait to finally be ensconced warmly in our house, making it our home, headboard and all.