SPOON: a Long and Valiant Quest to Get some Damn Insulation

[ The back of a black pickup truck, which has a lot of bags of insulation in it. One bag spans the entire width of the inside of the bed, something like four feet. A bumper sticker on the tailgate reads “Frankly, it’s a truck”. ]

Also known as ‘we finally had the money to get enough stuff to more-or-less get my cabin ready for the winter, so I made a huge-tastic order & we drove down to Canon City, it was a whole thing’.

(Taken from a twitter thread the day after, lightly edited.)

I was just gonna drive down with the van & grab everything, but someone who was probably Jasper noted that that was sure hell a lot of stuff & maybe we needed more than one vehicle. Which. Yes. Like, insulation is kinda big? & might even fill up the pickup’s bed on its own?

CJ, as referenced in a post last week, is the fourth person in our lil commune, & showed up with his pickup, Frank, which is. I LOVE FRANK. FRANK IS GOOD. CJ already has a job (WHOA that means MONEY, whaaaaaaat), but he was totally willing to let me take Frank on an Abventure, plus Morgyn is comfortable driving my van because it was theirs first.

Two vehicles, plenty of room, let’s go!

We caravaned as far as the gas station so I could pay for gas for the van, which then did not work, because they didn’t like my credit card, so Morgyn hadda use their backup hundred dollar bill, & THEN the gas pump was reluctant, but Morgyn cussed it out & it worked.

After which they headed out & I was gonna follow but I wanted a soundtrack, but my music app decided it didn’t want to see my SD card, which, upon a bunch of poking around, was just what that app does these days & the company hasn’t bothered to fix it

… so bugger that, I deleted the app & headed off north in Morgyn’s wake. Partway up the valley I realized that I uh. Hadn’t eaten anything since a granola bar round about 5am. Look, food is hard, okay?

There’s a Sonic in Salida & I’m fond of tater tots, that’s an easy decision. Still half hour away, though. Fortunately I had a gatorade, which at least has sugar, so I drank a buncha that. Fueled up!

It looked like it was raining over Poncha Pass, but it was actually raining in the north end of the valley & sunny in Poncha Pass, nice. Got to Salida, nice long line at the Sonic, picked a music player app at random to see if it’d work at all. By the time I had my food I also had a music app, which had apready assimilated all my music. Win!

It also sorts music the way I like. Extra win! Armed with a soundtrack, tater tots, chicken tenders, & enough Sonic honey mustard sauce to annoy a cat, we headed down the canyon.

… oh, I didn’t mention: Jasper was gonna be home alone all day with the critters, so I brought Loiosh so he’d at least have one LESS critter. Anyway Loiosh had gotten a pleasant lil walk at the gas station, including finding a whole buncha weeds to sniff at, some of which were nice & dry so he could make them rattle. With his head.

& then he napped, but the existence of chimken in his immediate vicinity woke him up.

I ate the first chicken tender & bit a lil piece off for Loiosh, who was Pleased & also demanded More. The second one, half the coating was loose, so I peeled that off & gave Loiosh a piece of chicken about an inch around & an inch anna half long.

Looked over a bit later to see how he was doing with it, & how he was doing with it was ‘I ate the whole thing Mom can I have more’ so uh anyway he wound up eating most of a chicken finger minus the coating so he was Very Happy & napped the rest of the way down the hill.

EVENTUALLY we arrived at home despot. I got there about three minutes after Morgyn, cos they’d stopped a couple times too. We also got there in the middle of pish doon, so I didn’t hit the ‘I’m here’ button until it stopped.

Because I’m not a total JERK, that’s why.

Home despot dude came out, looked at the van, looked at the truck, looked at the van, & muttered under his breath, ‘oh boy’.

I pulled the truck in next to the loading bay, cos someone else was trying to figure out how to get a generator in the station wagon without using the back door, which had worked Just Fine up until just then, as things do. (It wound up on the roof rack. Not the worst thing I’ve seen on a roof rack. Not the worst thing I’ve PUT on a roof rack.)

(We commisserated & kibitzed. I suggested using half a roll of duct tape, which suggestion was summarily rejected. They decided on four ratchet straps, which was both a good idea & also very prescient.)

Dude comes out, having finished his part with the generator (there was a forklift & everything, it was Festive), looks at the truck, looks at the van, & says, ‘you sure it’s all gonna fit?’. I nodded. ‘Well, I’m sure you have a plan,’ he said. I replied, ‘Yup! My plan is shove stuff til I run out of stuff.’ Somewhat disturbingly, he looked reassured by this.

(I was later informed that this is standard procedure among both contractors & theater shop crew, so it was, at least, familiar to him, & also usually indicated that someone knew what they were doing.)

(Reader, I did not know what I was doing. Which is not to day I’m deficient in loading technique! But. Insulation, see also, LARGE.)

ANYWAY Dude buggers off inside & comes BACK out rolling a big cart full of bundles of insulation. I’d been picturing a bundle of insulation as being perhaps a foot by eighteen inches by three feet. I was … incorrect.

I tried to keep the ‘oh shit’ off my face but I’m pretty sure I failed. Dude & Intermittent Assistant (who arrived with the SECOND CART HOLY FUCK) started grabbing HOLY SHIT BIG bags of insulation & slinging them into Frank’s bed. Dude asked how many layers of insulation I wanted in the pickup bed. I asked him ‘How many will it take?’. He made an unnerved face & decided to stop at three, that being roughly around the height of Frank’s cab, & we left the entire mess in Morgyn’s hands for the moment, they being exceptionally good at Making Things Fit.

Intermittent Assistant, apparently also Forklift Operator, disappeared inside & returned with the forklift & a SHIT TON of wood. I’d communicated that they plywood was to go in the van first. The plywood was, indeed, on the bottom of the stack. However, you can’t just forklift a load of wood into the back of a van, for a variety of reasons including ‘stack too wide, van too narrow’.

Somewhere during all this Morgyn communicated to me that the bungee net was gonna be NOTHING like enough, they were gonna need More Fastener. While Dude & Assistant set about pulling all the lumber OFF of the plywood so the plywood could be loaded INTO the van & then have the lumber placed back ONTO it, I girded my loins, put on my mask, & set off inside to buy a shitton of bungees.

I didn’t see bungees in the automotive section — I’m sure they have them SOMEWHERE, but I’d left Morgyn cussing over the pile of insulation & that can be Exciting — so instead I chose a four pack of ratchet straps. The cashier at the lumber department exit — like HELL was I going all the way back to the REGULAR entrance like a NEWBIE — asked if I’d found everything I needed. I replied ‘I’m pretty sure these’ll do it. It’s just that insulation is uh. Big.’

He visibly recognized me from the evolving excitement outside (he was one of the ones who looked at the situation & prudently retreated, unlike Dude & Intermittent Assistant) & very wisely replied, ‘Yes, ma’am.’

Having acquired Shitton of Bungees Or Local Equivalent, I went outside, opened the package, handed them to Morgyn, & went to help schlep wood. Except that I didn’t, because the ratchet straps were held in the box by … well, basically phillips head screws, but they were a quarter inch long with heads an inch across

I don’t … I don’t know.

But they were FAR more than finger tight, so I hadda borrow a screwdriver.

THEN I went to help schlep wood.

Intermittent Assistant had left, probably to wield the forklift in aid of another customer, so it was just me & Dude. We got the lumber off the plywood, I moved the van so it was nicely lined up with the plywood, we shoved the plywood in the van. At about five sheets left, Dude says ‘let’s take a break, we’re almost done’. I collapsed, rather dramatically I admit, onto the last of the plywood.

… I think I worried him, because when Morgyn called me to come check on their work, he shoved the last five sheets in real quick before I could make it back to help.

I moved the van, we shoved in lumber. Banter occurred. He asked what I was building. I told him what size shed you can build without a permit in Alamosa County. He allowed as how home despot was considering putting in a store in Alamosa proper. I cheered.

(The next one west is in Durango. The next one south is in Santa Fe. The next one north is in Wyoming. This one basically serves the entire southeastern chunk of the Rockies in Colorado.)

(They really, REALLY need one somewhere in the San Luis Valley. I could go on about the reasons.)

He also noted that he’d worked at home despot for a while now, & this was the largest curbside/pickup order he’d ever seen. I mentioned that I guessed mostly people getting that much stuff were contractors & had Other Ways. Apparently something called ‘will call’ exists? Anyway you can sign up for the pro desk thing at home despot for free, even if you’re not a contractor, & you get DISCOUNTS, you get will call, you get Stuff, I need to do this


(I am Old & trying to be MIGHTY HOUSE BUILDER too much more will make my arms fall off, but the thought is nice, isn’t it?)

So anyway in a moment in between bouts of lobbing wood into the van, I noticed that Loiosh had awoken from his chimken-related slumber, & stationed himself at Frank’s drivers side window, thence to be pitiful. As Intermittent Assistant had returned again, I declared that I was Done With This Loading Thing, & fetched forth a boy, who was unanimously declared to be adorable & also I got to hear everyone’s best cat stories.

In the meantime Morgyn had worked wonders with the ratchet straps, we’d all decided that thirteen HUGE ASS bags of insulation was probably as much as we could usefully stack on Frank, & I’d tossed the last of the little bits (a buncha mending plates, two SMALL rolls of housewrap THANK YOU do i LOOK like I can wrangle a NINE FOOT TALL ROLL OF TYVEK WITHOUT ASSISTANCE, that takes AN ENTIRE CONSTRUCTION CREW & my construction crew consists of ME, TWO BUSTED PEOPLE & A CAT

… & a gallon of screws)

(okay that parenthetical aside got maybe a bit out of hand)

so ANYWAY by the time Loiosh had been sufficiently petted, all of the lumber & the last three bags of insulation had been stowed securely in the van, which Loiosh immediately tried to occupy on account of that’s what he’s used to, but he was NOT going in there with ALL THAT WOOD so I chucked him back in Frank & closed the door.

In the meantime Dude gave the van a concerned look & asked if we were SURE we could make it up all those hills with all that in the van? I explained that Tyrava (which I’d already mentioned) was probably heavier than all that wood, & also, that the van would make it, Because I Said So.

He offered to pray for me, which I glady accepted.

& then we set out for home!

I followed Morgyn for a while, to make sure the van was doing okay, then passed them & hit the gas, because I usually drive faster & also Frank was a LOT lighter. But then I hadda stop, because the bungee net we’d brought but not used had come loose from where we’d stuffed it. & then I hadda stop AGAIN because one of the MASSIVE bags of insulation had decided to start slowwwwly sliding backwards.

So there’s me on the side of US 50 going up the canyon, standing on top of one of the rear tires, trying to spread the bungee net over a pile of insulation that was STILL taller than me. I got all the ends of the bungee net attached to things, which required me to climb both back tires repeatedly, & then hang onto the ratchet strap to keep from falling right back down, while using the other hand to haul various bungees to where I needed them, then repeat the process on the back bumper, which at least I could stay on without additional help. Finally, having fastened everything in place, I gave it the ritual tugging, & the intonation of the traditional invocation: ‘yeah, that’s not going anywhere’

& it did not.

& then I spent three hours driving home, got there after dark, ate like six granola bars, & went the hell to bed, the end.

supporting materials:

insulation pile, sufficiently strapped


[The pickup’s bed, seen at an angle from behind and to the side. Only the top two layers of insulation are visible, though there’s clearly a third below. The stack is four bags across. The entire pile is held down by a bunch of ratchet straps and a black and yellow bungee net. It still looks kinda precarious.]



[The van, both back doors open. The stack of plywood at the bottom is probably two feet tall. Above that is a layer of various lumber that’s probably another foot thick. On top of that is three more bags of insulation. ]

one(1) gallon of screws


[ A large plastic bin of three inch screws rests in Frank’s back seat. It may or may not be a gallon precisely, but it is definitely twenty-five pounds of screws. ]

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