Prepping for drywall

Week 51  (Joe)

Once the insulation crew began work we gave our drywall guy a call and scheduled him to start on Tuesday.  We knew we had some small jobs to take care of before drywall, but we wanted to get the drywall finished soon so that we would be able to work in the house over our spring break.  Spring break could be a great opportunity for us to put a dent in wallpaper removal, plaster repair, the floors, and other projects in the next phase of our renovation.  We haven’t really firmed up our plans for the next stage.  To be honest, drywall has been a goal for so long that we just haven’t come up with our post-drywall plan .  But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here…

For the past 5 days Amy and I have been putting in long, long hours at the house.  Almost every project we have done in the past year has had a few lose ends that were waiting on a final decision, some more research, or just unfinished because of other priorities.  The day had finally come when ALL of those items on the list needed to be taken care of quickly.  All these projects seemed so small and doable…  no problem.  Except that every project takes longer than you think and as soon as we checked one item off the list another one would be added.

We cashed in babysitting favors from both sets of grandparents.  One of those babysitting nights was actually a much-needed “date night” for me and Amy, which meant we went out to dinner…  and then went right to work on the house.

The mood at the house has varied drastically in recent days.  Just a few weeks ago it was cold, snowy, and difficult to do anything.  Now it is much warmer, the days are longer, and progress moves with a much stronger sense of urgency.  To illustrate here are two vastly different scenes occurring within 24 hours of each other:

1.  Picture a loving couple working together on a beautiful, warm spring afternoon with sunlight streaming through the windows and a gentle breeze coming through the open doors.  Music fills the house as my wife and I work, each enjoying the thought of wrapping up our first year of our big endeavor together.  Occasionally we stop, try to imagine what it will all look like when we are done, and look at each other with a smile and loving glint in our eyes.

Then this happens….

2. It’s getting late and it’s dark outside.  The kids are with us and  Aiden isn’t exactly happy to be watching Lucy.  A movie is playing on the laptop for the kids as we feverishly move around the house, knowing that the clock is ticking way too fast.  Every 5 minutes Lucy feels like she has to get up and find mommy.  This sends Aiden into an unwarranted panic that Lucy is going to fall down the stairs.  Everyone is tense and unhappy.  Our work is slow.  People are cranky. We have one ladder, but both of us need it.  We each get frustrated at the other person for moving the tools we need and not being able to tell the other where we left them.   There is no music.  There are no loving smiles.

Don’t worry…  We don’t have the kids with us at the house very often, we don’t regularly plop Lucy in front of a screen, we never let her anywhere near the stairs by herself, Aiden does actually love his sister, and my marriage is just fine.

Despite our long hours over the weekend, we still weren’t done.  Monday night was the deadline and we still had so much to do.  It’s hard to describe all the jobs that needed to be completed.  Here is a very quick and incomplete pictorial of just a few of the projects:

Finish making and installing furring strips in the kitchen…

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Remove nails from ceiling joists…

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Cut old steel pipes and studs that were protruding below the ceiling line…

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Extend the new ceiling joist down to the correct ceiling height AND install and wire one last recessed light…

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Make a few small additions to the stair framing…

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Re-install siding above Lucy’s door, fill in missing gaps, shave away some insulation to make way for necessary blocking…

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Scrape away more insulation and add necessary blocking for the angled ceiling…

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Remove the floor plate in downstairs bathroom doorway…

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Add blocking for the medicine cabinet we are salvaging and reusing from the original bathroom…

20150316-DSC_0333Add framing in a corner of Aiden’s room

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And, see this little bit plaster and lath that is overhanging the framing?  It had to be removed so that the drywall guys have a flat surface to work with…

20150314-DSC_0290Unfortunately, this was located in a top corner of the room that is above our stair case.  It was impossible to reach from the loft, awkward to handle with a sawzall from the other side of the wall, and an impractical location for a ladder.  This was my solution:

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(Amy would kill me if she knew I did this…  don’t tell her)

Those are just the projects that I stopped to document with my camera.  Amy finished making up all the boxes, ran one more cable, and double checked that all the electrical worked before it gets covered up forever.  Other items on the list included:

Installing and wiring a light in the upstairs shower, wiring in bathroom fans, removing a temporary plywood ceiling from the vestibule, cleaning up edges of plaster that would be joined with drywall, adding spray foam to the loft window, placing and wiring the boxes for downstairs bathroom sconces and taking down the gimbal lights and temporary ceramic light fixtures.

One last thing remained…  to clear EVERYTHING out of any room that is getting drywall (which is all but one).  This meant carrying every window sash, window pane, tool, electrical supplies, scrap lumber, and many more odds and ends upstairs.  By the time I was done (around 12:30am) I had worked through all my frustrations and became surprisingly very calm.  At least it was done.

Tuesday finally arrived.  [Edit from Amy: And I spent all day in anxious anticipation of seeing DRYWALL!! I really needed a nanny cam so I could watch the progress happening. The day couldn’t go by fast enough.]  We drove straight over to the house after work to check out the progress.  Amy was excited.  I was nervous.  Turns out both of our emotions were unwarranted.  No drywall on the walls…  anywhere.  Just stacks of drywall on the floor in each room.  Amy was really disappointed.  I was strangely okay with it and not really surprised.  This is construction we are talking about here.  When does anything start on time?

At least Lucy was excited.  She enjoyed having something new in her room…

Yay, drywall!

Yay, drywall!

Hopefully tomorrow there will be cause for a little more excitement from me and Amy.

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