September 3, 2009

Labor of Love

Materials Witness


We decided it was finally time to have the re-construction materials delivered despite the fact that Jerry was stringing us along with stories of his wife’s, cousin’s, landlord passing a gall stone, or something just as ludicrous. That way, we figured, we would be able to begin putting her back together before a year had passed in our three month renovation.

We waited out on the stoop one warmer spring day in 2003 for the eighteen wheeler flat bed truck to show up. When it pulled in I believe I simply mumbled a fearful ‘um, is that seriously all for us?’ Matt just nodded. I think I saw his eyes well with tears. Mine immediately followed.

That day we had delivered sixty bundles of cedar shingles, 176 sheets of drywall (packaged in twos), twenty rolls of R-19 wall insulation, four packages of R-38 attic insulation, twenty rolls of drywall tape, four 5 gallon buckets of joint compound, three packages of roofing shingles, two 2-1/2 gallon buckets of textured ceiling paint, six boxes of industrial staples, a few sheets of paneling, ten sheets of pressboard, a crate of drywall screws and very likely a slew of other things my brain has purged because the day was simply too traumatizing.

The truck arrived at about 9:00 which means we had risen that day at about 5:30, hit the road by 6:30 and arrived just before the materials were to be dropped.

Total time for truck driver to back in, exit vehicle, get in attached little forklift truck thingie, unload all our stuff and leave? Approximately twenty minutes.

Home Depot doesn’t bring your materials into the house, they forklift the palates onto the front lawn then wave goodbye with their middle finger which they just used to point at the storm cloud moving in, and then they laugh as they peel out of the field.

We stared at this material in front of us, looked at each other, sighed and started moving it all into our storage room. The size of the pile was daunting; it was definitely taller than both of us when stacked on top of itself. We knew there would be no lunch until this was finished but we doubted it would be done before the rain.

Trouble with drywall is getting it wet renders it useless.

The other trouble with drywall is the stuff is insanely heavy and neither of us had built up any real stamina or muscles yet. We had to cut apart the double sheets and carry each individually. For those who are counting, that would be 176 trips up the four front stairs with just the drywall. My calves were rockin’ by the end of that day.

The real trouble was that we had no choice but to secure all of these materials before we left for the day no matter how long it took or we would never see them again.

We got a couple of our tarps out as we watched the ominous storm clouds race across the open sky as fast as we were racing up and down the front stairs.

After about forty sheets we felt a drop. Both of us hustled like maniacs attaching the tarps to the two piles; something we became pros at by the end of the day.

There were at least three separate times when rain came through. At one point we half considered just giving up and saying oh well, that was at about 5:00. We decided that one of us should just run out for food instead.

We ate dinner and felt completely recharged to tackle the rest of the pile. With only a handful of drywall sheets, most of the paneling and all of the cedar shingles left to redistribute to secured locations we figured we were home free.

The last bundle of shingles made it into the basement just as all four of our calves tore away from the bone while we were on the basement stairs, sometime around 8:00 in the evening. We never had a more physically exhausting day than that during the entire remainder of the project; we were wiped out but miraculously Jerry had called and would, by some miracle of chance, be showing up the next day.

In order to ensure he would, we knew it was vital that we did too, even though all we really wanted to do was lie down and sleep the next four months away. Luckily we had a vacation coming up and we were both pushing so we would be able to take full advantage of the recovery time our bodies so desperately needed while we were away in the sunshine.

10 comments:

Tabitha Bird said...

Gosh Jenn, I am in awe. I just couldn't do that. It will look amazing when finished though :)

Almost Precious said...

Home renovations always sound so simple, until the actual work begins.
There's a show on HGTV that shows real people doing their own remolding and it is hilarious. It's not at all like those well scripted shows where a crew comes in and everything gets done and looks great.

Too bad you didn't have a couple of strong friends to help you carry all the building supplies to shelter. It is amazing how heavy drywall is ! And 5 gallons of drywall mud ! You and Matt got a workout and didn't even visit the gym.
I'm almost afraid to read the next installment because if Jerry is returning that event could end up being as welcome as a plague of boils. Hope I'm wrong.

Karen said...

I'm enjoying reading about this renovation so much! I'd have thrown my hands up when the truck drove up. Ugh! Can't wait to see how you survived all of this!

Chris Stone said...

Oh. dear.

I sheetrocked an upstairs room. well. 1 regular room, 2 small, and a ceiling.

It was in East Boston. there were 4-5 steps to the first door, 4 more steep steps to the inside door, 1 flight with a twist at the end to get upstairs.

some things you're just dumb enough to do once.

I think if I were ever faced with 176 sheets, I'd cry.

Chris Stone said...

I admire your telling of it.

I might have thrown out the pics I took of my latest fiasco. Made my brain hurt to see them. If I come across them, I'll write a post.

Rosebud Collection said...

Oh my, that is alot of work. Very stressful, but I bet it will look beautiful when finished.
What a job...

Theresa said...

I love the pic of the interior of the house. I can see why you guys took the chance with it. It looks like it has great potential. I guess I'll just have to wait fot he rest. Hurry!

Jenn said...

@ Tabitha it did come out amazing but even I would have to think long & hard about taking on something this size again.

@ Anna I am totally hunting that show down, how tragically relevant lol. Our friends were amazing & helped with so much, there is a whole chapter on them taking us in so many weekends.

@ Karen the answer is barely! If nothing else it sure brings out the real true personalities of people!

@ Chris oh man, luckily all our staicases were straight shots & since we tore down all the original walls we could go right in. Would LOVE to see pictures & hear about your renovation, I hope you find them!!

@ Roas yup, stress = beauty in renovation I found lol

@ Theresa yup the bones were great, so much original charm & we simply fell in love. Editing as fast as I can lol!

Almost Precious said...

Jenn -
That HGTV show I told you about is called "Renovation Realities" and comes on Wednesday night at 10:30.

The one episode that had me shaking my head and laughing out loud was the one below. I copied and pasted HGTV's synopsis of that program :
"As a single man in a new home, Matt Martin wants to renovate his entire kitchen, but he only has the help of his mom Jan. Hoping to complete this renovation with just $3000, Matt wants a functional space that will also impress the ladies."

Will repeat:
September 23, 2009 at 10:30 PM e/p
September 23, 2009 at 2:30 AM e/p

Compass Roofing said...

Definitely hard work but well worth the effort when it comes out right.