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Again With the Ow
2008-02-25, 4:27 p.m.

Day 1283

I have GOT to stop having weekends. They’re making Monday’s way too miserable.

Had a very productive weekend. But it hurts. Of course, it didn’t hurt enough to keep me from spin class this morning, but now my legs are complaining as loudly as my hands, shoulders, back and head.

Cindy had the quite brilliant idea that as long as we were ripping walls apart to move windows, we may as well go ahead and get the sliding door put in too. Me, being a sucker for a challenge (see that piece on bowling & competition about two entries back) figured it was do-able. Plus, I had Zach available for the weekend and as an added bonus, Jill’s Dad was on hand for Saturday’s festivities. He’s an experienced DIY remodeler. His alternative Saturday activity? Shopping with his wife & Jill. Staying at our house and helping with the kitchen was a no-brainer.

You know how some of those big box DIY retailers have trucks to rent so you can haul your loot home? Yeah. Sliding glass doors don’t fit into the back of my MINI van so well. We needed to use their truck. In order to insure we didn’t have to wait for it, and to insure getting the loot home didn’t take too big a chunk out of our day, Cindy and I were on the road by 6:30 Saturday morning. We perused, the doors, picked one, had the lackey’s get it on a cart for us while we also loaded up on drywall (again), underlayment, insulation, and a host of other little odds & ends. While I was signing the paperwork for the truck, the store lackeys were getting the truck loaded. It was a big deal for me to let them load up without me to supervise, cuz hey – I’d like it to be done right. I just paid for all this stuff, and I’d like it to get home in one piece – especially the doors.

As it turns out, the guys did a fine job of loading up. Around 8:00, as we’re leaving the parking lot, I call Zach (It’s only a little illegal to use your cell phone while driving in NY. So of course, I was using it while still stationary in the parking lot. Of course.) Zach isn’t answering his phone. He’s expecting to show up at 9, ready to move a window or two. He’s got no idea we made the pre-dawn run to get “supplies”. I’m looking at trying to unload a 220 lb door, 10 sheets of drywall and another 10 sheets of underlayment and still get the truck returned in less than 75 minutes after we rolled out of the parking lot.

So I called Zach. Left a message. Called again, didn’t leave a message, but maybe the buzzing of his phone was starting to get to him. Just to be sure, I called a third time as I was backing up my driveway. Obviously, he intended to get up at 8:45, get dressed, and mosey over to my house, just at the tick of nine. Bum.

Unloading the door was almost easy. Drag, tilt, slide. Drag, drag, drag, lean against inside of garage door. Disconnect garage door opener. Don’t need a whoops. Unloading the underlayment went slower than I thought. Cindy could easily manage the weight of two sheets, but was uncomfortable moving backwards. Once I figured this out and we swapped positions so I was going in reverse, it was a breeze – even with the much heavier dry wall. Cindy was quite the trooper.

Got the truck back to the store, bought more crap that I’d forgotten. Zach showed up while I was on the road. When I finally got home, we commenced to wrassling the walls again. After a couple of false starts and ANOTHER trip to the store, we got moving. Managed to get one window out intact, re-build the wall to hold that window in it’s new home and get that window put back in. After that, we turned to completely removing and boarding up a second window. Wrapped up for the day around 6pm. Zach talked us into going out for dinner. Wanted to try a local place – a microbrewery with an extensive German menu, but the wait for a table was over an hour. Ended up at Ruby Tuesday’s. Love their salad bar and those little mini burgers. I was one starving dude.

Sunday we started a little later. Well, Cindy & I did. For Zach it was an earlier start. 8am we were once again tearing out walls and moving outlets. Using some of the tricks we learned Saturday, we had the old window out, in one piece before 10. Measured everything 3 times, cut the new opening for the sliders. Got the framing re-built and door set in place about 45 minutes before Zach’s floor hockey game. While Zach went to his game, I buttoned things up. Got the door fully installed, hardware put on and even cleaned up a bit. Again.

By the time Zach got back (with Jill), we had the kitchen serviceable, had just got the electric back on and Cindy even had a pot of chili cooking on the stove. I showered and collapsed on the couch. I don’t know how Zach had the energy to play hockey. We both went like madmen for the entire weekend. Couldn’t imaging skating hard for another hour on top of that.

In a not entirely unexpected go-along, we put a ton (or two) of stuff out to the curb last night too. Lucky for us, our trash pick up is Monday morning. (Oddly, the church behind me gets their dumpster emptied the same morning - go figure!?!) Anyhow. A walls worth of drywall, a hundred sq. ft. or so of pseudo-oak parquet, a couple of 30 gallon cans full of old insulation and busted up 2x4’s and two complete windows – frames and all. Oh – and two tiny bags of weekly household trash. All gone by 7:30 this morning.

Last night, as we were hauling all this assorted crap to the curb, Zach asked me “What’s the limit to how much they’ll take?” My response? “Haven’t found it yet” As long as there’s nothing hazardous – they take it. Now, I still have a fair sized pile of wood in the garage. I’m trying to re-use as much as possible. Most of the 2x4’s and most of the larger hunks of sheathing got put back to use. Some of the moldings will get re-used. It slows things down a little, but we’re trying to take things apart gently to improve the odds of stuff being re-used.

Made another big decision Friday night too. The company that had the countertop material we really, really liked? The company that failed to call me back when they said they would, 3 weeks in a row? The company that STILL hasn’t called me after a visit out there on the 16th, when they told me I’d get a call first thing Monday (the 18th)? Finally kicked them to the curb. We’re now dealing with a very responsive place that’s all of 4 miles from our house. My Cindy spent a couple hours with their Cindy Saturday morning ironing out details.

After a lot of looking, comparing, looking again, second & third guessing, and looking again, we’ve picked Uba Tuba. The sample we have at home (a broken chunk) looks blacker (or a little less green maybe). Unfortunately, a photo doesn’t do justice to the depth. It really looks so much better in person. Also got back splash tiles selected and ordered.

Now my challenge is getting this all finished soon. Cabinets are due on March 5th. It would be sweet to have the walls all finished and ready for cabinets by the very next weekend (8th & 9th) Eric will be home from school that weekend and the extra set of hands will be invaluable. But there’s gobs & gobs to get accomplished by then. At least the worst of the physical stuff is done. No more 200 lb doors to lug around and the ceiling drywall is up. Ripping up flooring (almost last) and doing walls (next to almost last) is cake compared to that.

I also have dozens of pictures of the process. I’ll filter them and toss up a few of the best. Thinking about putting a bunch on flickr too. We’ll see.

Oh – the head pain. Two sources. The minor one I got Saturday. Was nailing in a board. Working about head high. Tapped in a nail to get it started, then swung like I was trying to sink it (well, I was). Unfortunately, I hit it a little les than square and it sort of ‘pinched’ out of the wood. Made a beeline for my face and whacked me right above my moustache, just below and to the right of my nostril. I didn’t think much of it till Zach told me I was bleeding there. I wiped it a few times, it stopped. No biggie.

The big head hurt came Sunday. The guy that owned the house before me was not too tall. Maybe 5’7”. He built some racks in the garage for holding long stock. These racks are suspended under the loft. The racks themselves are made of very solid 2x12 boards. Unfortunately, they are about 5’10” above the floor. I’m 6’ tall. You know where this is headed (heh – I made a funny). I was doing something in the garage, not really paying attention to where I was. Bent over, picked something up, stood up, took a step ans smacked one of those racks with the crown of my head. Dead solid perfect. Damn near knocked me to my knees. Good thing it hit me in the head or it may have done some real damage. Oddly enough, it never bled, but shampooing, drying and combing my hair is now excruciating.

Before you helpfully suggest it, there used to be 6 of these racks in the garage. I’m down to 2. I really, really like and need these two. The others? My head appreciates their absence. The two that are left are on the far side of the garage, where Cindy parks. At 5’2”, they aren’t a problem for her. Lucky.

I gotta go get The Bob’s meds. Poor guy. Dessert’s gonna be a pill cocktail tonight.


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old habits - new tricks