Monday, March 15, 2010

There Were Times....When I Bit Off More Than I Could Chew

We were busily destroying the front entrance when Ol' Blue Eyes came on and Mark said "I guess you could say "I did it my way on this, right?"..... yes, honey, you could say that. Apparently, the technical term is "R and T"....rip and tear. Lordy! What a disaster. Mark discovered, as he always does when we get into these projects, that things are not as they seem, or as they should be. He had hoped to get down to the lath and plaster then overlay it with drywall but a contractor friend mentioned the possibility of the lath not being even, the thickness may vary. Sure enough the walls had "wows"; the lath would have to go. If you're not familiar with the lath-and-plaster construction of old houses, it looks like this. Narrow strips of wood, nailed on to the 2 X 4 studs, which in a house this old are actually two inches by four inches. Then, they smooshed plaster in between. This is the back side of the frontroom wall after we removed the lath off the entry side. The dust is phenomenal.....this is what Mark looked like. Imagine, if you will, what that dust does to the house, even with that plastic sheeting blocking the doorway. And all that pounding drove things on the otherside of the wall to fall to the floor. Will it never end?! At least we can insulate it before putting up drywall.

To be honest, I'm often not usually in the mix of these jobs but not because I'm not willing. They tend to only progress on Sundays and by the time we finish lingering over pancakes and Mark gets up to his ass in wood or dust, I have to work on Sunday dinner to feed the masses. This week, I'm on vacation and I hoped to make hay on the entrance so my job, would be pulling carpet off the stairs. Freaking carpet tacks! I pried. I pulled. I cussed a blue streak when the tack strips found tender skin. I started wondering about my last tetanus shot. Gloria would be juicing the lemons for dinner; my hands were not in any shape.

We're not sure why the stairs had so many colors of paint and in so many widths but we are seldom surprised at what we find in this place, even when we discover that the doorway had been widened and the supports for the house were cut to do it. There is no header over this doorway into the front room and those vertical studs should stretch from the floor to the ceiling joists. We're not sure who did it, the Gray's that built the house or one of the subsequent owners who weren't completely knowledgeable about anything they did. Mark isn't likely to cover it back up now that he knows what lurks so we're pondering the shape and size of the doorway and will be bringing the front room even farther into this project.Once I was done with the stairs, I moved on to the floor. Mark continued on with the walls, until we decided we would need some bolstering if the job was to continue. Here are the favorite tools of a woman doing heavy rippin' and tearin' - a Superbar and a Brown. And at the end of the day, we were still smiling and Mark had over 500 pounds of plaster and carpets to haul off to the landfill.But in the morning light, there was this to contend with.

4 comments:

kymk said...

The dust squares are part of my regular decor.

beachcomber said...

I know what you mean, Kym. When we lived in the desert, dust was just another surface and window sills had to be vacuumed regularly.

Fred said...

You should probably be wearing a dust mask, at the very least. There might also be asbestos in those old houses.

Indie said...

Very very sweet photo of you two, working together. :) Good luck on the home improvement.