Monday, July 20, 2009

Another Project Begins

I woke up Wednesday morning and hung around waiting for the cable TV guy to come by and splice in a line for a cable connection in our garage. I want to be like the other guys in the neighborhood and have a TV set turned on in the background that I'll never watch while I'm out there. I think it's a status thing actually. I don't know that any of the locals are sporting a flat screen yet so maybe I'll be the first and raise the bar.

Splicing the connection was less than a $30 charge from Charter and I figured for that price it wasn't much more money than had I done it myself considering the amount of cable he had to use. Plus, I was able to have the tech check the strength on our internet connection to make sure the extra splice didn't noticeably degrade our connection any. It didn't.

I'd been waiting for a call from the guy who was to hang the sheetrock for us but it was midweek and he didn't appear to be in a hurry to get back to me. I grew impatient and got a number from a neighbor for some drywall guys she used and gave them a call. We met Wednesday morning and agreed on a price. The guy I wanted to give the job to finally called on Thursday but I had to tell him that I'd already hired another crew to do the work next week. He understood. It's beyond me how contractors can be so slow to return a call especially when there isn't an over-abundance of jobs to be had.

I didn't expect to have the sheetrock scheduled to go up so quickly so I had to get busy to prepare the space. Hanging insulation and covering it with sheets of 4 mil poly as a barrier against the elements would be my job. I used the rest of my Wednesday to clear out our garage. I'm pretty good at keeping useless stuff to a minimum but I could be better about it. I'm finally parting with a desk that Keith gave me over 17 years ago when I first moved into our home. It's supported a few boxes and my bench grinder in the garage for years. I brought it down to the bottom of the driveway and Tammy made a couple 'Free' signs for it. We get very little traffic on our street so it sat out there for a couple days before I took the time to put it up on Craig's List.

Keith came by later on Wednesday so we could go over his plans for our cabinets. He also ran some electrical outlets to better service the workspace and for some under-cabinet lighting he has planned as well as a couple outlets for other areas in the garage. I don't do electrical, mostly because I don't know how. Here are the plans: back wall, left wall and overhead view.

I spent all of Thursday and Friday hanging insulation. It was a lot more work than I thought it would be but then I'm real particular about things that are unimportant and maybe I was being too careful when I should've been just throwing the stuff up there knowing it would be covered with sheetrock and nobody would ever see it. Trust me, I've got the nicest looking insulation you'll never see. I'm quite sure the work would've gone considerably faster had it not been for the nearly 11 foot ceilings I had to work with. I was literally up and down the ladder hundreds of times balancing 8 foot lengths of insulation and tacking them in place. I could tell my patience was wearing thin when I'd find myself cursing because either the air hose had gotten caught on something and wouldn't reach where I needed it to or the gun would run out of staples at an inconvenient time. Two days of non-stop insulation work takes its toll when you're not used to doing it.

By Friday night I still hadn't taken time to buy the sheetrock and this was beginning to nag me. I needed to finish most of the work in the garage as I didn't want to have to be stepping around it. The guys hanging it said it would be quite a bit cheaper if we bought it ourselves and they prefer 12 foot sheets. I've only handled sheetrock a few times and never a 12 foot section. What could be so difficult? I called Home Depot to see how late they were open and if they carried 12 foot lenghts as not all places did. 10:00pm and yes they do. We had two hours to get the job done and it was only going to happen if their rental truck was available. Fortunately is was.

We were on the road with the first 16 sheets by 8:30 but I was having doubts that we could get it offloaded and repeat the process to have the truck back before 10:00. Tammy made a good effort with the first sheet but I could tell she'd never make it through all of them. We improvised by putting her end on a wheelbarrow. This is where I have to pause to confess that I didn't want to drive the fully loaded truck on our driveway for fear of creating a crack in our relatively new concrete surface. We'd have to haul them into the garage from the street. We had the truck offloaded and back for our second load by 9:05. We called ahead and they were waiting for us with our next 16 sheets. The next 16 were considerably heavier than the first as they were 5/8" thick for the ceiling instead of the 1/2" used for the walls.

We were offloading by 9:25 and feeling a bit desperate after watching the first sheet crash to the ground after slipping from Tammy's grip. Not to be deterred for long, Tammy suggested we use the 'Free' desk at the bottom of the driveway as an intermediate step off the truck and onto the wheelbarrow. It worked beautifully. We were back on the road with a little less than 15 minutes to gas up the truck and get it back. We had 5 minutes to spare.

I hope we're not left with several sheets of drywall when this is all over but by my estimates we have maybe 6 sheets too many. I used 1200 square feet of poly to prep the walls and ceiling but I've got over 1500 square feet of sheetrock sitting on our garage floor. All I know is I don't want to have to touch the stuff again.

So, I was back at work yesterday after a week off and sitting in the sector enjoying that I was finally able to simply sit still. I'd gotten a ton of work done over the past week and a half and I was feeling good about that. You could almost say that it was nice to be back at work but I don't think I'd go that far.

Oh, and the desk is still available if anybody's interested.


Jackie said...

OK,now I am exhausted just reading about it! I need a vacation!
Looks great though! You are too much but I know exactly how you feel the more you get done the more you can relax. Why are we wired that way when other just take it in their stride?

Kevin said...

I get a nagging feeling that won't leave me alone when I've got things to do. I'm pretty good about taking time to play too so I try and keep it balanced. I suppose I should fine room for more down time in my schedule but I can do that when I retire...I hope.