Monthly Archives: September 2015


September 25, 2015

I have had a couple enquiries asking how today’s surgeon visit went so here is an update.

While it does look like I have a torn labrum called a SLAP tear, I would not be surgical until at least the current swelling and tightness subside.  I have severely limited range of motion associated with a condition called frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) .  This condition is caused when joints in the shoulder have too much friction to move freely and pain free.

In my case the friction has been caused by the creation of scar tissue and inflammation normally associated with a severe injury as I had.  I was told that this is a very common presentation for a 35+ year old (I am over 10 years past that milestone), who has had a shoulder break and dislocation. I was further assured that there was nothing that I could have done different to prevent this condition developing.  More specifically, I was assured I did not cause any regression to the shoulder by continuing to work after the injury, and in fact it probably helped delay the onslaught of the frozen shoulder (remember it got much worse when I took a 2 week break).

As I have not had any new dislocations since the first injury, there is a chance that the SLAP tear will not need to ever be repaired.  The next step is to get a cortisone injection to reduce the inflammation.  The surgeon believes that 1 injection into the joint will not be sufficient and that I most likely will need a second injection outside the joint near the top of the humeral head (site of the fracture).  Each injection is to be followed by a week of total rest and then a month of intensive physio therapy.  If at the end of two injections things have not significantly improved, I may then need surgery to trim the joint capsule so things slide easier.

I will use the delay getting the injection through the medical system (instead of paying for a private clinic) to hopefully finish the backfill at the front of the house and along the south and west sides.  This really must be done before the winter rains set in or I would have to delay the backfill until things dry out in the spring. Obviously this is something I want to avoid at all costs.

Mr. J and I will work tomorrow to hang the dimple board and then commence once again on backfill operations.  He will run the compactor and haul gravel while I move soil with Alfie.   Next week I will finish the torch on membrane and insulation on the south wall and then depending on day of week will hire labour to assist with Mr. J’s duties until next Friday when he can again join me.  If all goes well, by the end of next week, I hope to have the majority of the south wall back-filled allowing Alfie to finally once again reach the back yard and the large backfill stockpile at that location.

I also want to provide an update on the roving cam.  I have had a few notifications from web visitors that it is offline.  Unfortunately, it has finally succumb to the abuse that I have subjected it to over the last year.  It was an indoor camera that I was using outside.  While I protected it from direct rain, the moist environment has rotted out the circuit board per below photo.

Humidity has not been kind to this camera circuit board.

Humidity has not been kind to this camera circuit board.

So I have ordered some new FOSCAM units to provide a replacement outside roving cam, upgraded container cam (which is pointed at road to provide site security since a series of vehicle break-ins in the area), a new roving cam that will live inside the structure, and a new tree cam that will provide a bird’s eye view of the build from about 30 ft up.  I use FOSCAM webcams because to date, they are the only manufacturer to have an accessible API.  This allows me to provide you the images with just a little HTML code on my webpage.

All other cameras I have investigated require physical connection to a ‘server’ which then rebroadcasts the signal to a website or for users to download an addin to their web browser.  This represents a lot of extra costs and complexity.  With FOSCAM cameras, you just have to connect them to a LAN cable or Wireless LAN connection and you are good to go.  You can either load a browser add-in and view live video (like other cameras) or run like my site and have the webpage code call for a snapshot that is then updated regularly (I have it set to every 3 seconds to reduce the load on my network).  You the viewer do not need to load anything on your browser to view the images.

Well, your now all caught up.  Thanks for visiting.

“Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.”—H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Writer

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”—Helen Keller (1880-1968) Author, Lecturer, Activist

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Water Leak – ✔

September 24, 2015

Well, I have not progressed yet to the backfill stage, but a lot has been accomplished.

When I hoped for backfill operations last Friday, I did not account for how many operations had to be completed first and my significantly reduced work days. But enough whining, what did I get done over last week?

– Top of foundation (formed top curb) was dressed (removed high spots and filled in larger low spots). Concrete was then primed with Elasticol 500.
– Water Injection System designed and installed (more on this in a bit)
– Torch on membrane was installed on top half of foundation at front of house – east wall and south wall
– Additional instruments installed on top curb
– ROCKWOOL Mineral wool installed on top half of foundation at front of house – east wall and south wall

Foundation Lab - Water Injection Port

Foundation Lab – Water Injection Port

If you look carefully at the above photo, you will see that the area around the coper tube is wet.  Why would I create a purposeful leak into my foundation you may ask.  This will be part of the foundation building science lab.  The lab consists of 6 test columns with the various layers of the columns instrumented for moisture and temperature.  The layers tested are the interior stud bay, concrete core, exterior ROCKWOOL insulation, and the backfill soil.  There is also instruments in the gravel just above the pit base and later there will be instruments under the floor slab.  The purpose of this lab will be to look at the draining characteristics of the various layers in the assembly.  As I should have a flood proof torch on membrane, we needed a way to introduce controlled volumes of water and then monitor the assemblies ability to drain and dry out.  Hence the injection ports.  The copper pipe had a series of small holes and was then covered over with the torch on membrane per the following photo, being careful to not flood the area with bitumen.  I will also install injection ports into the ROCKWOOL layer.

Injection port has series of 7-64" holes spaced every inch or so. It was very important that this tube lays perfectly flat to facilitate even distribution to the 24" long zone.

Injection port has series of 7/64″ holes spaced every inch or so. It was very important that this tube lays perfectly flat to facilitate even distribution to the 24″ long zone.

Once each port was tested, I lightly torched teh membrane over the area. At the end I again introduced water to esnure pipe was still free draining and not plugged with bitumen.

Once each port was installed and tested, I lightly torched the membrane over the area. At the end I again introduced water to ensure pipe was still free draining and not plugged with bitumen.

Top of each test column also has a temp probe push into softened membrane just below the top of the wall. This will be above grade.

Top of each test column also has a temp probe push into softened membrane just below the top of the wall. This will be above grade.  The temperature probe is the very small black dot at the top of the wires.

I sealed the PCV pipe to the membrane with R-Gaurd Joint and Seam

I sealed the PCV pipe to the membrane with R-Gaurd Joint and Seam

With the Torch on membrane in place, I cut in the holes for the various PVC pipe penetrations. I first detailed these with a square of membrane on the diagonal that I also lightly torched to the pipe.  James Bourget of RDH taught me this when taking the BCIT Building Science Lab course.  The diagonal ensures that water will not sit on the interface between the two membranes but instead shed away.  I then detailed the interface to the pipe with R-Gaurd Joint and Seam from Prosoco.  This product is compatible with bitumen based products.  Although not formulated for below grade (it is vapour permeable), the seam between the membrane and pvc pipe would be a hairline at worst, so no appreciable amount of water vapour could ever enter, and this will make the connection totally water proof should the PVC expand and contract in the future.  This will be the liquid applied flashing that I use above grade as well.

With all of the waterproofing complete, I could get on with finishing the insulation on the top half of the wall. As most of you know, I am using ROCKWOOL ComfortBoardIS.  It is a great product to work with and has excellent building science properties.

This is the south wall. The step down is for the door out of teh office which will have a sill that is flush with grade. The rounded profiles was caused by the poly that I wrapped the ROCKWOOL with. It adds a nice 'Art Deco' vibe.

Remember the rounded profiles shown above that were created by using plastic protected ROCKWOOL panels in my formwork before pouring concrete?


They made the room for their eventual return as seen above .  The inboard two panels of ROCKWOOL were formed into the concrete.  The thicker 3″ outer layer is applied to the outside of the foundation.  I increase the insulation as we get closer to the surface to offset the greater temperature difference that will exist in the winter as you get closer to and then above grade. The insulation will be pushed tight against the foundation by the backfill.

In the top right of the photo, you will see a cutout.  This is a door threshold and represents the finished grade at the end of construction.  The concrete stub and insulation continues 6″ above grade as required by code.

At the base of the wall, I used the torch off top surface of the membrane to ‘stick’ the ROCKWOOL panels in place long enough to place the back fill.  For the top, as there was multiple layers  to affix to one another, I used a can of spray foam to hold in place and to each other.  I would say that this is the one and only con I have found to date with mineral insulation.  It is difficult to hold multiple layers in place when you cannot drive a fastener through all layers into a substrate.

I now need to install the dimple protection sheeting before commencing the backfill tasks which include the gradual buildup of a 6-8″ gravel layer against the dimple that is then separated from the soil with a geotextile sheet.

Thanks for visiting.

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) Philosopher, Poet, Author, Essayist

“At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” —Alan Alda (born 1936) Actor, Director, Screenwriter

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”—Unknow

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Image is everything!

September 14, 2015

Hey Folks,

It is your friendly neighborhood cripple – OK I exaggerate, I am not that friendly :-).  Not a lot has been going on.  I had my MRI imaging of both the shoulder and lumbar spine on Sept 2 and now have a much clearer picture of the road ahead.

I have a torn Labrum (SLAP tear) on the shoulder that will most likely require surgery.  I also may have a condition called Buford complex where a portion of the Labrum is not formed at birth and instead replaced with a thickened glenohumeral ligament.  I visit the surgeon on the 25th to discuss and plan the next steps.

On the lumbar side of things, it was not horrible news.  While there is problems with Lumbar discs 2, 3, & 4, they are just bulged and not totally herniated. And while the bulging was quite severe (especially on L4), bulged discs respond quite well to decompression therapy.  In fact, I am now able to walk short distances, stand for periods of time, do some sitting, and when laying down am generally pain free, after only 5 spinal decompression treatments. I will continue the treatment for several months more and expect to make a full recovery.  Do to the location of most of the bulging (away from the spinal column), I would not be a candidate for surgery.

So construction has commenced once again with a stricter regime for my involvement.  I will only do what I can do without encountering any significant pain, will pace myself by not working full days, and will hire labourers when any heavy lifting and equipment operation is required.

This started last Friday with Mr. J (my nephew Jonathan) coming by for the day to knock off some storm proofing tasks.  I assisted lightly and supervised.  He re-drapped the north wall with new longer plastic to protect the bank from erosion and also started the task of covering a backfill pile by the road (ran out of plastic at that point).  We also did some repairs to a sump pump, finished securing south tarp, and then Jonathan started disassembling all of the scaffold planks on the interior of the foundation to be used on a scaffold to be build on the outside of the foundation.

We were both back today and finished building the scaffold around the outside perimeter of the east, south and west foundation walls.  From this scaffold, I will be able to finish applying the torch on membrane to the top of the foundation wall (need to knock down any high points and patch any holes first), and then complete the insulation and dimple protection board installation.  Once these are done, and I finish installing the instruments for the foundation science lab, back filling can continue.

I am going to try to have about 30ft of the south wall ready to back fill by next Friday (Mr. J’s day off).  So we will see how it goes.

Mr. J disassembling scaffold planks in basement so they can be re-used to build scaffold on outside of foundation. Sorry for quality - it is quite dark in basement.

Mr. J disassembling scaffold planks in basement so they can be re-used to build scaffold on outside of foundation. Sorry for quality – it is quite dark in basement.

Thanks for visiting and wish me well.

“Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever give in. Don’t ever stop trying. Don’t ever sell out. And if you find yourself succumbing to one of the above for a brief moment, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, whisper a prayer, and start where you left off. But never, ever, ever give up.” —Richelle E. Goodrich  Author

“Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.” —Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961) Swedish Political Leader, Secretary General Of The United Nations

“I’ve always found that anything worth achieving will always have obstacles in the way and you’ve got to have that drive and determination to overcome those obstacles on route to whatever it is that you want to accomplish.” —Chuck Norris (born 1940) Actor, Martial Artist

“Strength of a character isn’t always about how much you can handle before you break. It’s also about how much you can handle after you’ve been broken.” —Robert Tew Author

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