Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sheet Rocks!

Sometimes you are money ahead by paying the pros to do their job quickly and efficiently. We decided to sub out the insulation and sheetrock. We could do both jobs ourselves, but insulation is just about the ugliest job..ok the second ugliest job. The ugliest job is crawling under the house to fix a sewage leak...but I digress.

Two guys showed up to insulate the downstairs garage and upstairs apartment. It's summer here, and while summers are normally mild, we are currently having the worst heatwave in recorded history. They went right to work. Wearing sweatshirts taped at the wrists, beanies, dust masks and goodness knows what else, they worked like madmen all day. They finished the whole thing in one day. Amazing.

The first thing I noticed was the difference in sound. Sounds are softer, and it doesn't sound like you're talking in a warehouse. Because the walls are more defined I also get a sudden sense of the actual size of the rooms.

Chuck-the-Building-Inspector came out and gave everything the seal of approval, and we called the sheetrock guy and gave him the go-ahead.

Three hours later, a big crane truck arrived in the driveway with a load of sheetrock.

"Gosh," I thought to myself, "I hope they know there aren't any stairs to the upstairs part."

No worries. Two guys jump out of the truck and run up the ladder into the apartment. The truck driver gets out and gets up into a jumpseat for the crane and starts pushing buttons faster than a 12 year old boy with a video game.

He scoops up a big stack of sheetrock and swings it over to the window opening and takes it right up to the very edge. Then the two guys inside start hauling the 12' long pieces of sheetrock inside and stack it up. Twenty minutes later, they were all done and gone.

Monday morning bright and early two more guys show up to start putting up sheetrock. Within 3 minutes of the truck pulling in, they are slapping that stuff up and screwing it into the studs like nobody's business.

Now it's hot...really hot..Monday hit 103 and muggy, and yesterday was 106, a record. Those two guys worked like demons the whole time.
But it's all done. The garage looks so good, even before it's taped, that it'll kill me to park the car in there.

The upstairs has been transformed. The sheetrock on the barrel ceiling makes the room. It didn't come out clearly in the picture, but when you stand at the entry door, there is a sweeping sense of openness and space..even waves, because the barrel sweeps from west to east.

Now don't think Ed was sitting the shade sipping a cool beverage while this was going on. Oh no! That's my job! No, he was out on the roof, in the sun, which put the temperature where he was working at about.... oh,,, 110? getting shingles in those teeeeny corners. No big's a small space to get done, right? Guess again. There is nothing to stand on except searingly hot shingles that are melting. He's balancing at an angle on a steeply pitched roof. Each shingle has to be measured, cut, and nailed, all without dropping a tool, raising blisters on asphalt, or falling off the roof. By the second day he made a board to lay over the shingles for footing. The board was covered with heavy plastic liner fabric so it would reduce slipping. Did I mention heat stroke? It was a brutal day..actually three days. My guess is..he was ready to go back to his day job.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On Your Mark, Get Set...

Ed finished the Trex deck two weeks ago, and I forgot to post a picture. That darned stuff is really heavy! Hopefully it will last forever, especially since it is on the "weather" side of the house.
Things are starting to ramp up now that the holiday is over. There will be a delicately timed string of events sometime at the end of August and into September. We have to finish the apartment, still without stairs. The doublewide has been sold and will be moved. At that point we can build the stairs to the apartment, get the rest of the interior finished, and move in. While all of this is going on, we will be living in a 5th wheel, generously lent to us by a neighbor.
In a perfect world, the apartment would be all done, painted and finished just like on one of those home improvement programs on TV. I'd just have to show up with an overnight bag and toothbrush and just make myself comfortable. In the real world, the mad scramble has begun and won't be semi-normal until almost Thanksgiving, which is the four year mark since we moved up here, and 18 months since we started the garage/apartment phase.

The other night we made a to-do list and time-line. Wow...what a reality check! We're in a time crunch and we haven't even started the clock!

Sheetrock, order wood stove, removed deck from doublewide
Install front window, choose tile, paint, flooring
Prime/paint interior, seal/stain interior wood trim
Finish electric fixtures
Install flooring/tile, buy fridge
Measure for cabinets, install bath fixtures,buy countertops
Balcony rail
August 25: Doublewide moved!
Build stairs
Install cabinets,countertop
Install kitchen appliances
Sit on deck and enjoy fruits of our labors

Ed retires mid-August...thank goodness!

We spent most of Tuesday cleaning up in preparation for the insulation guys this next week. All the old bits of wood, sawdust, wrappers, empty soda cans, plywood cut-offs, all had to go downstairs, then into various trash/recycle piles.

After all the sweeping was done, things looked pretty good.

Downstairs, in the garage, the same thing had to happen. Almost everything had to go down to the barn, and Ed's 71 Boss 302 Mustang, actually had to go....eeek...outside! Everybody worked together to get it all straightened out...well, almost everyone.
Yes, Mittens and Midnight, scourges of the rodent and bird populations, killers extraordinaire, were exhausted by all that mousing and stealthing. Poor things.. it's a tough life...

Removing the deck from around the doublewide is primarily my job. I had taken down some of the rail already and I started on the floorboards. It is nice cedar decking, so I'm taking out all the screws and stacking the wood. I have the floorboards that border the spa off, and will work on the frame this afternoon.
I am irrational fear of wasps, not so irrational when you've had a nest of those bombers from Hell swarm over you! Ohhh yes...I've seen them hovering about, trying to look innocuous! I'm not fooled by their casual and seemingly uninterested demeanor. Anyway, I take off a few boards, peek around looking for a nest, take off a few more boards, peek get the picture. I'm pretty sure they either have a nest inside the spa (unused) or between the spa wood and fiberglass. Either way, I don't want to stress them out, so I work pretty gingerly around
the area.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

All Hands On Deck

We were having a house full of company for July 4th, so one of the priority projects before that was to clean up outside. Boy, does the stuff accumulate at a jobsite! One seriously full pickup truck full went to the dump. The dump, like everything else, is an hour away.

Then since the grass was growing faster than a baseball player on "performance enhancing supplements", Ed wanted to mow it again before fireworks. That always takes a day and a half.

We had a fallen tree to saw up and get out of the edge of the pasture, then split with the log splitter, and stack. I think we have enough wood now for the next two winters.
Poor Ed...his mind and heart were on the construction project, and the other chores kept getting in the way.

Before Ed could resume shingling he had to build the deck at the back of the apartment, which meant he had to construct a drain pan to drain to downspouts, then put up Trex deck over that. Still can't put up the rail because the deck is still our only egress.

He is also going to drop the soffits (!?) down to be the same level as the balcony so that the lower porch/patio..whatever..ceiling is all one plane. Does that make sense?

Then back to shingles. My son in law, Dan, arrived before the holiday and the guys couldn't stand to sit around when there were nails to drive, so up they went. They got all the outlooks hung, which are stained cedar, and got the shingles completely done on the one side. It is a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, it is also the side that is hardest to, the scaffolding is still up.

In the interests of time (and the fact that insulation and sheet rock are not fun), we decided to sub out those jobs. Insulation guy comes next week, and we've been taking bids for sheetrock. In real life that means that pretty much everything has to come out of the garage.
Once that is done, things are going to go in fast forward and I'll be going crazy. Plus the doublewide is sold and I have to get everything out of that by mid-August. Part of selling the doublewide is taking down the deck that surrounds the west side. Busy busy busy!