Tuesday, February 14, 2012

But it's still better than renting

OK, so: front entryway ceiling in need of replacement, estimates obtained, work scheduled for two appointments including a three-or-four hour block on Saturday to take down the old ceiling, put up new drywall sheets, and mud over the seams, to be followed after a few days of air-drying by another two-or-three hour block to put up a second coat of mud. Fair enough.

Or so we thought, going into this past Saturday morning. As mentioned yesterday, the baby didn’t sleep well on Friday night and neither did her parents, but we managed to rouse ourselves out of bed and go downstairs and have breakfast by the time the contractor showed up as promised at our house. Since the work was going to involve a fair amount of dust and debris and power tools and whatnot, all in the area of the house adjacent to the front room/living room/play room where we would normally while away a Saturday morning, we decided the best course of action was to hide out upstairs for the duration of the work. The little guy has nearly as many toys in his bedroom as in the play room at this point, our master bedroom has cable tv and a dvd player, the little girl would hopefully take a mid-morning nap … how hard could it be?

Not hard if everything had gone according to plan, but of course nothing ever does. The contractor was at our house until some time after 5 p.m., so about nine hours and change total. My wife, who had previously made plans which weren’t anticipated to overlap with the ceiling repair appointment, actually left the house, had lunch, went to a wine tasting, and came back, and the work in the entryway was still going. I herded the kids downstairs for a quick lunch and then got them back up out of the way again. By late afternoon you could barely walk flat-footed in the little guy’s room, for all the cars and building blocks and jigsaw puzzles and books and other diversions strewn around his bedroom/confinement cell.

Fortunately, the contractor called it a day right before we reached the breaking point. He did manage to do everything that was supposed to be done in the first appointment, so we’re still on schedule for the overall project. And I’m optimistic that the second visit will hew closer to the estimated plan than the first, because according to the contractor the thing that really slowed him down was the sheer amount of random crap littering the space between the upstairs floor and the entryway ceiling, making the whole clean-as-you-go aspect of the take-down-the-old-ceiling step significantly more difficult. I’ve seriously lost count of the number of times (both here on the blog and in real-life conversations) I’ve lamented the half-assed home maintenance habits of the folks we bought our house from. There’s still no denying they were very much a slapdash-it-yourself couple, but the contractor’s revelation about construction debris in the innards of the house makes me wonder if the entire property isn’t somehow cursed. The previous owners didn’t build the house with their own hands, after all, so we’re talking about two separate and distinct groups of people who made structural contributions to our home with very little foresight in evidence, who set things in motion that I have to deal with later on, either in working around them or losing entire days to letting professionals work around them. I can hardly imagine what other mad discoveries we’re bound to make the longer we live there.

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