Wednesday, 29 November 2017

[personal] The Dungeon Shed

Due to circumstances, my 'office' needed to be relocated.. Here is my story

The Dungeon Shed: Building a new Dungeon

   My mother in law was due to arrive in 6 months, my 'office' had, for the most part, become a dumping ground for everything in the house. With a baby on the way and a 3yr old in between your legs every 5 minutes, It got harder and harder to sit down and do anything in anything. 
   My blog (maybe you noticed) slowed to a crawl, I was attempting to write things down when I thought of them, but my blog list is more drafts than published.
   My painting was shelved, my art, shelved, my maps, on pause, since I had clients to organise for, I couldn't just halt that, so I somehow managed to make the time to complete some of those.
   My programming, well that was already on crawl status.. its so true, when you work in IT, you just don't want to come home and code anymore. My gaming map projects, my angularJS animation projects, even my Angular PHP Express project, nick named "eky-phpang-zuboing" from monty python. Paused.
   Worst of all, my gaming, game-mastering and rules writing, were on a slow burn, I could of course get online to write the google docs, but as discovered before, Google docs starts to slow down at 30 pages, and at 50 pages, becomes a real crawl. Like my life.. 


   So, Mother in law on her way, she needs a place to stay.. look honey, yo're not using all that 'stuff' can you pack up and make room for a bed at least?
   Creative juices kick in, My shed, its a decent 7m x 3.25m sized room, until this moment I just 'put' everything in the shed, making it hard to find anything, suitcases, boxes for equipment that need to be packed up periodically, like heaters or fans, or the moving day boxes, or that old table, the old fridge that could be used for extra needs..

Initial problems

   The no.1 problem is Australian Heat. No.2 Problem is Rain, No.3 problem is that its a rental. No.3 is easily dealt with, I request of the owner permission to add plastic sheeting to the walls to protect my goods. success. Next, request permission to add some insulation to protect my goods in summer. success. But then I hit a few road blocks.
   Height. I'm 6ft+ There are roof poles that are 6ft. so everytime I go in the shed I need to duck. often. Also, wet floor. the previous renter left some large slab pallets 3m long, 1.5m wide, to keep their stuff 'above water' If I stand on these, I almost hit the roof, let alone the roofing poles.. 

Day One

   So, I have a look at the floor of the shed. Dolomite, easy to dig, I figure, hey roleplay game, how about we have a working bee, one weekend, and you help me dig out my floor, and I'll run some gaming sessions when the room is done.
   5 weekends later... Seriously, I miscalculated the soil, the workforce and the sheer workload.

Day One Delays

   So, Having everything IN the shed, that needed to come out, took an hour and a half for 2 guys. Since the team was late, it was me and my sidekick. Once the team arrived, we took out the pallets, both of them, and cleared the shed. The team, god bless them, brought pickaxes and shovels.. as jokes. We needed them.
   After 4 hours of work, and a 1 hour lunch break, light was beginning to fade, in the eyes of the workforce. So After digging down 10cm, 3m sq, we put the pallets back, then all the gear back, and we opened some beers, and declared it a day.

Conclusions of Day One

   I'm old, I can't work like I used to, so I'm glad I had 5 young lads that were willing to put in some effort, and yes, 5 workmen, $100 each, it would have been done in an hour or three, but I thought of it as good team building exercise, partial share in the workload = partial share in the fun when its built.
Just wished it would have been done earlier.

Between the days

I work, 50 hours a week, so coming home to work on the shed was not something I was keen to do, but it needed doing, I had now at this time, 5 weeks til grandma arrived and I had to put everything from the office, into the shed, computers, miniatures, paints, everything, and it needed a safe environment. So I took Mondays off for a month.
   On Mondays, I stapled up plastic sheeting, cardboard insulation panels, put in the wiring, all needed to be 'temporary' if need be (but what landlord is going to want to rip out a 'room' which gives their property extra cred + likely increased rental income).

Day Two

   Team was delayed, didn't arrive til lunch, stopped early, dug maybe 2m sq. But we did discuss the idea to roleplay a scenario, where they played as themselves, having been sucked into a portal buried under the shed.
   To their defence, we hit some huge rocks, some cement blocks just shoved in the whole which was the floor of the shed, it took some effort to get them out.. but THAT gave me an idea on how to make the floor even more water proof.

Week Two

   I did some measuring, and figured out how to place the cement blocks under the pallets, so they would be 'raised' above the soil, leaving a gap so water wouldn't seep into the pallets over time and become a mess.

Day Three

   Lost a few of the team to social commitments, my wing-man was there, on time, mental note to award such behaviour, extra sessions of roleplay, etc 2m dug.. sad..

Week Three

   With a few mathematical calculations, based on how long it was taking to dig, I put word out that I needed some extra help, Uni Students to the rescue! despite my back, I dug 10 buckets extra to prep for the pallets.. still wasn't enough.. argh

Day Four

   The Team makes a minor comeback, We manage to get a palette in place, the wrong place, and lopsided, but closer to the mark than anything before..

Week Four

   Perfectionist just doesn't allow for errors, using a crowbar I raise and re-dig all the slabs re-position all the holes, and get that first palette in place. As it turns out, if I hadn't, I would have been seriously suffering now.. now its 3mm too high on the wrong side of that palette. Bearable, barely. back then, it was 2cm too high and slanted to one side by a few mm too.. argh that would have made everything out of whack, and the floor would not be flat. I'd say lucky me, but just plain perfectionism.

Day Five

   Having prepared most of the holes.. most of the work, I just needed the guys to come back and put in the two palettes. but, it needed a dash of digging first.. 2 hours it seemed.. but, despite the time, and the lack of enthusiasm, we managed to get the floor in. YAY!

Week Five

   Now to move furniture. Two tables, 8 boxes of RPG gear, several board games, several boxes of stuff, its in the shed.. Grandma arrives in three days, wife apologizes for not trusting that I would do what I said I would do

What happened next?

   Well I took each weekend after that, to put down plastic sheeting, then some masonite to nail it all into place (and stop any dice from falling between the palette panels) I have yet to actually finish that process, but I got the room in a bearable state.
   Unfortunately, after putting everything on pause to get the shed to a place that could 'store' my gear, I did not have the time to make it a place I could use the gear. as much as I attempted to set up my laptop, gear, etc, with summer coming on... (see below)


   Yes, a cash injection of $500, could have done it far faster, but for that matter, I could have spent $5000 and had the whole thing redone from scratch as a gift for my landlord, but this has been an interesting experience, and I for one enjoyed it (even if my back still doesn't) for the moment, I have a 6x3 interior shed/room that will get used on moderately cool to cold days. I would do it again, because Its fun to build things.

Now, I can maybe start getting back to my normal daily tasks, get some work done in my shed, temperature permitting, and when I can, I can blog about it all. 

p.s. I might put together a short video of all the things that were done, stage by stage, maybe it'll be of interest to someone somewhere.

Aussie Summer & an Iron Roof

   32 outside, 38 inside, with the door wide open and the fan blowing air into the shed. I buy a portable airconditioner, set it up, plug it in, and shut the door.. in an hour its 39 inside.. aircon is overheating, it can't cope. Why? iron roof. I burnt my finger checking the temperature of the ceiling of the panel that is unprotected, un covered and heat radiating into the shed. a quick googling suggests that's 60.c+ its only 32.c today but my roof is 60.c!
   So my plan is to construct a 'layered roof' transportable (maybe) I'm thinking perspex and bamboo, both free or cheap from the right destruction yards/locations, if I can deflect 50% of the heat, I think it'll be worth it, just need 14 panels of the stuff and some inexpensive but durable joints....  

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