How to build a cabin

  1. After years of dreaming and scheming, this is finally the summer whole-heartedly dedicated to building a cabin. This commitment allows one to confidently stroll through a lumber yard knowing that, instead of a measly couple of 2x4s for some backyard project, they’re ordering jaw-dropping dozens of 15-foot logs.
  2. The secret pride continues, as others are tactfully notified that their friend will be unreachable for the next few days. “Why?” they may ask. The question is answered with a nonchalant shrug. “Oh yes,” one might say. “I’ll be unhindered by the chains of modern technology while I’m out in the bush building my off-grid, out-of-service cabin.”
  3. After clearing the ground, laying the foundations and beginning to build, it becomes apparent that your beautiful, carefully constructed plans have one problem. They were just plans. More specifically, they were plans that relied on a hypothetical, mistake free, non-weather-hindered future. This (unfortunately) is reality.
  4. Self-doubt creeps into the back of the brain. After painstakingly attempting to maximize the morning sun, should the window actually be a foot further to the left? Staring at an open rectangle in the wall will inevitably invite the question, do I really like having the door there?
  5. Turning to the internet asks as many questions as it answers. Two hours into searching and there will be 12 strongly worded blogs, each swearing that this (vinyl, aluminum, steel, and on and on and on … ) is actually the best gutter material.
  6. Next, research on composting toilets will irrevocably ruin the computer’s search history and permanently alter all recommended advertisements.
  7. In practice, no sawing, sanding, or measuring technique is ever quite as easy as the video tutorial makes it look. It then becomes crucial to adopt a critical mindset shift. Every jagged cut and nick in the wood is now part of the cabin’s quintessential “homemade character.”
  8. Realize that, compared to looking at scaffolding from the safety of the floor, the structure doubles in height while standing on it.
  9. Multiple people simultaneously using different power tools creates a power struggle for smaller generators. Cords will be plugged and unplugged with escalating force until someone gives up and uses a handheld saw instead.
  10. The one very specific tool you need to do a particular job will be forgotten at home. The same forgetfulness also applies to shops. While wandering the aisles of the local hardware store, one also quickly gets on a first-name basis with every employee.
  11. Conclude that there may, in fact, be a reason why people spend money to purchase already built cabins.
  12. Everyone knows that instead of fixing tiny imperfections, it’ll be a solid decade before the small gap in the flooring in the far corner gets filled.
  13. Speaking of flooring, it’s okay to admit defeat and succumb to wearing knee pads. They’re so much more comfortable.
  14. It turns out that I can climb a ladder, measure something, take 12 seconds to walk back to the saw and completely forget the measurement. Always write things down, then be rudely confronted with the difficulty of basic fractions. To quote the TV show, I, for one, am not smarter than a fifth-grader.
  15. Even if the process is slower than originally intended, at the end of a hard day’s work, break open the cooler, stand back and admire this imperfect and beautiful structure. Relish the fact that it’s something entirely made by yourself!

Venting for need, intelligent indeed

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