Progress Report #5
August 25, 2003

We have been keeping ourselves very busy working on the beach cottage.  It's hard to believe that it's been three months since we published our last report.

Here's some pictures of the kitchen



And now, for the effort involved.

Since we started traveling 5 years ago, Mitch and Max have been "road-schooled".  Now "home-school" takes on a new meaning. Follow the blue text throughout this page for the real purpose of this project and our philosophy about human development.
In our last report, we were had just finished the framing.

Here, Mitch is preparing the wiring at a switch box before we cover with the drywall.


Max is installing the doorbell transformer in the attic.
We have read books and listened to tapes about real estate investment as we drove around North America.
Before we had a refrigerator in the house, we'd take our lunch break at a neighborhood cafe or deli.  One of our favorite spots is Voltero's, and it's just a three minute walk from the house.  Ok, back to work!

I connected all of the drain fittings together in the final configuration, but used only one inch lengths of connecting pipe.  I told the boys they would have to figure out the actual installation.

It was sure nice having the boys work under the house.  I thought I'd have to do most of the work by myself.   Can you see the trench Mitch is laying in?  I had to dig trenches so that I could fit beneath the girders and low hanging pipes.  There's only about 12 to 16 inches of crawl space.

The drain lines are looking good.

Here's Mitch soldering the cold water lines.  Max did all of the hot water lines.  Max had one leak that burst!  Mitch had two small leaks that sprayed. 
The boys are used to hearing us talk about real estate projects we've done, but wanted to do one themselves. This little house has worked out to be just what they wanted.
After electrical, plumbing and insulation, we hung the sheet rock (drywall.)

I let the boys do the small bedroom by themselves.  (Although they may dispute my use of the word "let.")
Mitch and Max are at an age where kids start to move into adulthood.  Throughout history, children their age take on adult responsibilities. Boys would hunt with the men, become an apprentice, work in dad's store or in the fields. Girls would care for siblings, prepare meals, gather food, make and wash clothing.
Taping the drywall -- everyone's favorite; NOT!

Time out to watch the Abraham Lincoln pull into port in San Diego after returning from Iraq.
The human DNA is programmed over centuries to take on adult responsibilities in the early teenage years.

Floor clean-up and painting

The new heater is on the back wall and we are installing the flooring.
Our modern society no longer requires teenagers to take on adult roles for the survival of the family and community.  Unfortunately, our genetic composition is programmed to develop adult responsibilities during this age (12 to 17 years old).
Max is installing the switches.  Both boys learned how to wire three-way light switches as well as single switches, standard outlets, and GFCI outlets.
Max assembled and installed all of the ceiling fans. 
Without real adult responsibilities at this critical age, kids may grow up to become irresponsible, lazy, and dependent on their parents, friends, and society. (Do you know any?)
After the long, tedious effort of hanging drywall, taping, and painting, everyone enjoyed assembling the kitchen cabinets.
Cabinet installation.
"Apprenticeship."  A single word that best captures the purpose of this beach cottage.

Max is working on the counter top.

Mitch is installing the hot water tank.
Our child labor laws protect America's kids from labor abuse, but has it gone too far?  Who gets the blame for our irresponsible young adults?
The appliances arrive.  No room for the delivery truck in the narrow alley so they unloaded in the middle of the street.  Max snags the empty refrigerator box.
Lunch break at our favorite pizza restaurant at the beach.
Mitch is cutting the granite tiles for the kitchen counter with a wet-saw.  They were amazed how I could touch the moving blade without getting cut, yet the diamond blade would go right through the hard granite rock.
Do after school sports, video games, television, and hanging out with friends provide the developmental challenges the human body is programmed for?
I'm placing a piece of granite edging into position.

Max testing the garbage disposal.  Ha-ha.
Television is not bad -- our schools are not broken -- cruising in a car or playing video games are not destructive to human development, yet all of these activities get blamed for society's problems.  We believe that the lack of adult style work, i.e. apprentice-type activity with real importance for family and community, is the root cause of today's problems.  Kids, (12 to 17), need to join the men for "The Hunt", and take on important daily work to mature into a young "man" or young "woman."
Time for new windows
Kids often ask for responsible activities, only their words are not clear and their requests may go unrecognized. Often adults think that a task is too difficult, will take longer, or that the kids will get in the way if they "help". Kids don't understand what is happening.  They simply say, "I'm bored."

Staining and cutting trim.  Or in Cocoa's case, watching another bird fly by.

Suddenly they find themselves
 * 18 years old;
 * haven't been expected to perform like an adult when their pre-programmed subconscience wanted to;
 * just graduated from high school, (maybe);
 * skilled at video games, watching TV, talking with friends on the phone and in chat rooms;
 * and now it's time to step out on their own -- to go to college or get a job, (other than fast food), and start life as an adult on their own.

For many, this transition to adulthood starts at the age of 18 or 20.  Starting at this late age can take years to recover.  Many "kids" may be 25 years old, or even older, before they develop or regain a sense of "adultness".

For some, the journey requires hitting bottom and starting over.  "Hitting bottom"?  A term I use to describe a "total" breakdown in the relationship between a young adult and their family.  Although the family is continually trying to support and help their child, this "help" actually sustains a dependent, childlike state.  Once the family, and even their friends have had enough, and "totally" abandon the irresponsible young adult, can the adult inside finally begin to develop.  This can be a long and painful process for all involved.
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