Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Renovation 101: Avoiding Electrocution

You will be pleased to know that despite the ludicrous potty-training situation that we had gotten ourselves into, it wasn't too long before we got ourselves back out of it and were able to come out of hiding, everyone clean and fully clothed.  Naturally then it was time for more renovations.  Well, it was my time for more renovations.  It was Tommy's time to be very, very sad.  Because I have to take care of a baby who still likes her mama best ya know, and because I, as you may have heard, am a total klutz, so trusting me with power tools whilst babies (dog and human) scamper around willy-nilly is likely to turn into a national anti-crazy-people parenting case, or at the very least a trip to the emergency room.  Or so I said.  Which means I took on my most loved role: Master of the Universe, while Tommy took on his most abhorred role: That Grunt-Work Dude.

"We can just do it real quick."  Ever since the following project, that's the phrase we are (I am) not allowed to say anymore because every time one of us (I) says it, the project always takes at least 8 days longer than expected, costs a minimum of an additional $375, and results in our children learning all sorts of fancy new words.  That project, of course, was the other half of the kitchen.  It seemed simple enough- tear down walls, run wires for new electrical outlet and phone jack, recess pantry into basement stairwell, hang drywall, paint, install the.....okay, fine.  When you write all down like that, I guess it doesn't seem so simple.  But we (I) thought it was going to be so simple, especially after we (Tommy) had already done the real part of the kitchen, with all sorts of success.

First, there was the small matter of the asbestos sandwich, which the boy was all too happy to help me with because, as it turned out, he recognized the crowbar from a certain Spongebob episode in which a certain blow fish boating instructor goes totally bonkers ballistic because of some insert-totally-annoying-thing-here.  "You're just wike Mrs. Puff!" he cheered.  Why thank you.
Our first delay was that the paneling that was on the wall was not a sheet of paneling.  Instead it was individual pieces of wood fitted together with a tongue-and-groove joint, so each piece had to taken down individually.  But they couldn't be taken down individually because somehow they had been installed before the floor and ceiling.  So the floor and the ceiling were all smashed up against them in an evil, smashy manner.  The only way to remove them then was to cut each piece in half first using a jig saw.  Yes, if we had a reciprocating saw, we would have used that, but we don't so we couldn't.  So there's Tommy, going at the paneling with the jig saw, the plugged in, electric jig saw when he saw this:
 And do you know what this is?  No!  Not another snake skin!  It's a live electrical wire leading to nothing!  For real.  A fat wire coming up through the floor, between the studs, draped precariously over a random nail that was live which had been narrowly missed by my dear husband and his jig saw.  Take that, electrocution!


Once we had gotten the paneling off (and run wires for new electrical outlet and phone jack and moved the light switch and fixed the insulation), but before we installed the new cabinets and counter tops, Tommy recessed our new pantry into the wall....

 and rested it on a platform that he built in the stairwell leading to the basement.  He is so smart!

Tada!  After only 8 extra days, an additional $375, and a whole bunch of fancy new words later, the other half of the kitchen was complete.

 I am sitting at that table right here, writing this to all of you.  Yes, we still need to put up the trim, and yes the ceiling and light fixtures are a hot mess, but my goodness....can you believe the difference?  It absolutely blows my mind that we have a kitchen like this.  Man, if we can do that, we can do anything.

8 comments :

  1. No wonder taking up the hall floor is "women's work." It's payback, isn't it? ;-)

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  2. Oh yeah....I've definitely got it easy compared to him!

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  3. Yes, quite the difference and you lived to tell about it!

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  4. Oh, those evil smashy thingies of home renovation. I hate 'em!! But you guys have done an incredible job...I've told you that before right?

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  5. This makes me want to re-do our kitchen soo badly!

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  6. i loved your storytelling and how proud you are of your accomplishments with your husband :)

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  7. Exhausting! I've always said having to decide what to do when building/remodeling their homes would make my brain explode. And it's been months since i've electrocuted myself....

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