Asking for Help

Sunday, January 19, 2014, 6:55 AM

I spent most of my day yesterday asking for help, which is always difficult for me, but generally rewarding when I allow myself to do it.  Earlier in the week, I had drafted an e-mail to send to my friends and family letting people know that I had actually started building and offering people the opportunity to help in whatever way they could.  I finally put the finishing touches on that e-mail yesterday and sent it out.

That e-mail generated an immediate reply from Joy, a guy about my age who I met at the Tumbleweed tiny house workshop last February.  Joy seemed very excited that I was not only building a tiny house, but was also looking for volunteers to help.  After I sent the mail, I remembered that after the workshop last year, Joy had expressed interest in helping anybody who actually started building.  Like Andrew and Sabine, I think he really wants to see somebody else build a house and help with it before he tries to build his own.  Even though I wasn’t building anything significant yesterday, Joy still wanted to come over and have a look at what I have completed so far.  I was about to discover that the universe had heard my request for help and sent me yet another free gift.

In addition to coming over, Joy also brought a few things with him.  It turns out that he has two things that all of us had just been talking about needing when we were working this weekend.  First, he has a table saw, something I will need to build my front wall.  Second, and more importantly, he also owns a compressor and various nail guns.  Even though Joy barely knew me, he offered to bring all of those things over last night.  I told him to hold off on the table saw because I don’t really need that right now and it takes a lot of space.  However, I did take him up on the nail guns and compressor which are now sitting in my garage ready to be used. Finally, Joy brought his friend, Ganesh.  Ganesh just came to the United States maybe a couple of weeks ago and is also interested in building a tiny house.  It was really great to see Joy again and to meet Ganesh.  I can’t believe how quickly the universe delivered what I needed.  I not only received the tools I needed to continue my work on the tiny house, but also an additional pair of hands to help me.  I think I also received some new friends.  In addition to being tiny house enthusiasts, Joy and Ganesh also seem like the nicest people.

Joy was not the only one who responded to my e-mail yesterday.  I also received responses from a couple of other friends willing to help hammer nails and an e-mail from a friend of mine, David, from church who has years of experience running a construction company.  He offered to provide consulting help whenever I needed and even offered to come to my house when needed to provide onsite technical support.  Having extra hands to help me build will be a huge help, but having David available is priceless.

Learning Pneumatic Nailing with Joy

Learning Pneumatic Nailing with Joy

Here’s who helped today

  • Me.  I worked alone most of the day, although Sheila offered moral support and help me carry a few piece of plywood when I needed.
  • My new friend, Joy, who brought me cool power tools!

Here’s what we accomplished today:

  • Sending out an e-mail to my friends asking for help, tools, construction advice etc.
  • Calling some welders to see what it would take to get the all threaded rods attached my trailer.
  • Cutting out all of the plywood for the floor (but not attaching it yet)

Today’s Epiphanies:

  • Measure twice, cut once.  I thought I knew this lesson, but I guess I had to learn it again.  I was being pretty good about measuring everything twice until I got to a small section of plywood I had to cut out around the left wheel well.  I forgot to measure twice and ended up cutting an extra half inch of the plywood.  Now, I think I will have to cut a ½ inch strip out of the plywood and glue or nail it back into place.
  • Take time to ask for help when you need it.  It’s difficult for me to do this.  However, it’s necessary on a project this size.  I just can’t do this by myself.  When you do it, you not only receive the things that you need, but something even more important: new connections and relationships.

Problems we ran into today:

  • My biggest problem right now is trying to figure out what to do about the fact that the floor frame appears to bow outwards ¼ inch in the middle of the frame.  I’m not sure how this happened.  We seem to have measured the boards at either end of the frame correctly.  However, I think we made the boards in the middle a little bit too long.  Unfortunately, I did not notice the problem until all the polystyrene and aluminum was installed.  I don’t think there’s anything I can do about it now.  I’m hoping the fact that the frame will extend an extra 1/8 inch beyond the walls on either side of the frame won’t cause too many problems.  For now, I have decided to deal with the problem later, if it actually turns out to be a problem.

Favorite part of my day:

  • Meeting  Joy and his friend, Ganesh, talking about tiny houses together and seeing their excitement over my tiny house.
Plywood cut out and laid on the floor

Plywood cut out and laid on the floor

Next up:

  • Drill holes in the trailer frame so I can use lag bolts to attach the metal frame to the wooden frame
  • Move the frame out of the garage and put it back on the trailer.
  • Install the plywood sheathing on the top of the floor
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