Day 39, and I’m still reeling from the quantity of things that got done today. First, a roster of people working at the house today: Dave, Eric, Frank, Brad, Matt, Josh, Caleb and J.J. (I’m out of breath just listing them!) Second, a list of things they worked on: sinks, faucets, toilets, refrigerator, dishwasher, wall ovens, cooktop, trim paint, door jambs, shower tile, door removal, stair sanding, floor sanding, clean-up and reorganization. (Phew!) The project just went from plodding along to full-throttle in the span of a day.
Day 38, and man, am I tired! The house was a hustlin’ and a bustlin’ today, with various Teams staying here as late as 7pm. We had Team Carpentry working the cabinet install (wall oven unit and fridge/pantry area), Team Tile working the shower, floors and thresholds (they worked like fiends today!), and Team Brad working some more electrical install (beginnings of wall ovens and an errant outlet that needed to be done before I covered it with a pile of boxes). So much was happening, and while I had to sneak out to run a few errands, I definitely sensed that change was afoot.
Day 29 and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Sunny, breezy, warm, but not too hot – spectacular. And it came just in time. The dreary weather had taken its toll on the Team, leaving them listless, tired, and just plain exhausted. Yet they persevered, rallied, and managed to turn out a day full of detail work, full of intricate measurements, and full of hauling themselves up and down ladders in search of a finished exterior. Success! Despite the stain (which we will apply), they finished the exterior! Brad finished his exterior electrical (save for the last doorbell – hey, a potential movie title!), and Dave and Eric finished shingling around the windows (including moving some fragile, antique shingles from one part of the house to another for continuity’s sake), and painting the trim on the new windows. What a relief to have one part of the job wrapped up! I know they needed the sense of finish more than we did (we’re no where near normal inside, so we didn’t so much mind the exterior as it was), and the knowledge that they got it done was not unappreciated. Good work, dudes!
Day 28 and the rainy gray weather just wouldn’t go away. But, Brad managed to do his outdoor electrical work without any trouble (I even “assisted” by standing at the foot of the ladder, and by holding a light while he wired it). We had planned on re-wiring the post light, but when Brad took a look at both the post, and the feed for the electrical, he discovered that the wiring was relatively new, and could be saved (hooray! savings!). The ground wire hadn’t been tied into the outdoor outlets, making them a bit scary to use, so he fixed that up, rewired the box, and voila! Safe outlets! Brad’s main work for the re-wire is almost done, which means that the next phase we’ll see him for is Finish! Within a few weeks, we’ll have outlets, lighting fixtures, appliances and switches energized and buzzing with power. I can hardly wait!
Day 25 (Friday) was long. For everyone. The sanding continued on the densest floor known to man until after lunchtime, taking longer than had been hoped for (so it seemed). No matter, though, as the Team managed to get a coat of stain on the floor! Likely the only coat of color, the process will continue with at least 3 coats of polyurethane to seal and protect the floors. The process seemed the most physically taxing on the guys – so much crouching, bending, squatting, being on their knees on hard surfaces, reaching, scrubbing, you name it – but it also seemed to elicit a different kind of excitement. An excitement at seeing the early stages of a finished room? Perhaps. Excitement at conquering the antique floors? Possibly. Let’s just say, the enthusiasm poured into their work, and the floors came out beautifully (from what I can see from the doorways and the outside porch – we can’t walk on them yet).
Day 24. Day twenty-four. For some reason it seems like a long, long time ago that we started. We are almost at the end of five weeks of actual, constant work, and six weeks with no kitchen. Here, at the (almost) midway point in the renovation, I can start to feel the shift toward finishing. We’re sampling floor stain colors, talking about logistics — where to move our furniture, when to move our furniture, making space in the garage for a workshop — the final flooring phase of the project, discussing plans for a maybe-sometime-next-week cabinet delivery (!), and hoping to get to bathroom tiling started early next week. Things are starting to feel final, pieces of the puzzle are slotting into place, and the house is starting to feel like it will be finished.
Day 23. And. We. Have. Floors! The guys did a tremendous job, working at a steady pace all day long, blending the new floors with the old, and making the space feel truly whole for the first time ever. It’s amazing. The only hitch we had was when Ke$ha came on the radio, and I had to insist that they use the iPod Touch we have set up for them (we use it to play Pandora internet radio for them, even though Dave and Eric resist at every turn). Our musical tastes don’t always match, but I draw the line at teen pop when floor nailers and saws are running. I think, in the end, they were happy to have the music changed (David Bowie station today), though I don’t even think they noticed the horrid “songs” that were playing for part of the day. Shudder.
Day 18, and I’d like to say that the drywall install went down like a wild west showdown. Screw-guns slung, tape at the ready, spurs on the little drywall shoe/stilts that they wear, whistley-western music encouraging them… but, it wasn’t quite like that. After a brief interlude where Eric injured himself (merely a flesh wound!), work cruised along at a calm pace. The music selection was pleasant and soothing (it was, in fact, somewhat western, for most of the day) and everyone was focused on the task at hand. The humidity had blown away overnight, so the mud dried quickly, as had been hoped for, making prep for the next coat even better. All in all, a successful day.
Day 14, humid, sweaty, rainy, done. Today was a simple day with simple needs: get inspected and pass. The electrical inspector DID show up today, and did give us a passing grade! Woo hoo! The plumbing inspector also showed up, early, and waited in his car until the appointed time (I thought he was being polite). Turns out HE was being stood up by the electrical inspector who was supposed to meet him here! The electrical inspector had already come and gone by then. Well, the plumbing inspector wasn’t too pleased, but he was able to remain rather pleasant to me. We have to add some sort of “future vent” in the basement, but other than that, things are looking good! (If I get more information on what exactly a future vent is, I will let you know.)
Day 13, and now I’m superstitious. Ok, not really, but the electrical inspector stood us up. Didn’t call, didn’t send flowers, just never showed. After three calls (and a few HOURS waiting) we learned that he was “really busy” that morning. How nice for him. How nice for him to make an appointment and then totally ignore it. Grr. He’s supposed to come tomorrow. We’ll see about that. I’m sure this humid, sticky, return-to-summer weather isn’t helping our patience. At least the electrical is ready to be inspected (high five, Brad!).