The Writer's Cramp 5/24/20
2020 travel plans included a trip to the hardware store, the paint store, the lumber store, the home improvement store, the window store, and the most exciting trip of all, the emergency room.
We decided that our bedroom was too small and hubby’s office too big. This is the perfect year to switch the two rooms. We would now be able to walk easily around the bed and have a decent closet, while he wouldn’t have unused empty space in an office. A win-win situation.
But remodeling during a pandemic is a challenge. Who wants to come into your home? No one. You have to do all the work yourself. That means all the electrical, the dry wall, the insulation, the plumbing rework, the heating ducts, the floors, the window installation. All that has to be done by you, the home owner. My hubby is reasonably handy. He can do most everything with my help.
So we start on the day the governor says “Everyone stay in their homes. No one leaves the state for any reason.”
Step One of staycation - Draw a plan. Every vacation involves a budget and plan of attack.
The square feet are measured and planned. The materials are planned and budgeted.
Step Two of staycation - Start demolition. We start on the journey. Best part of this trip is we don’t have to pack or take a passport. Tearing down walls and the ceiling is like purging your soul. Out with the old, prepare for the new.
Step Three of staycation - Build foundations for new construction. We have to build new frames for the new windows. A new closet needs framed. But once it’s done, it seems pretty small. I want one as large as I see on the home improvement shows. Wait - my whole bedroom is smaller than the closets on those home improvement shows. I get my attitude adjustment from hubby.
Step Four of staycation - Install the new windows in the new bedroom. They look nice. But you have to take the siding off the house, make sure all is level and plumb and boy! They sure are heavy sons of guns. We call in for the first time some outside help. We know a guy, from church. He is a wonder. He fixes the siding, he helps with the window. I watch them.
Step Five of staycation - Insulate the skeleton of the new room. Spraying in foam insulation is interesting and cheaper when you do-it-yourself. Of course, your husband looks like he’s working in a biohazard lab while you’re just standing in normal clothes. Can that be right? Air quality instantly changes from tolerable to toxic. But we save about a grand. Good tradeoff.
Step Six of staycation - Hubby found an old heating vent in the basement, and wants to use it instead of the existing vent. This change involves a new heating duct. Now we have to move the duct to a new place in the wall. Well, you know you can’t just move something when you do construction. You have to move lots of things. So we have to move some water lines because the bathroom is on the other side of the wall. Hubby tries, now there is a leak. Now we call the second person in to help. The plumber comes, solves the problem. Another person comes and solves the problem of the heating duct. We now have had three people in the house. We are in the middle of a pandemic. We are to be sheltering in place. In isolation. So much for that idea. Step Six is complete.
Step Seven of staycation - Drywall will be tricky. This is an old house with tall ceilings. We need ten foot drywall. We find some and now we wait for man #1 to have time to come and install.
Step Eight of staycation - While waiting for drywall, we order the paint. A battle it seemed that I was destined to lose. I thought a calm blue, but hubby thought a mild green. Blue versus green. The battle raged on for a week or so. I conceded after reading on the internet that a light green is a good bedroom color.
Step Nine of staycation - We receive the drywall. The drywall company delivers it to the garage. So it sits until man #1 can come, screw it in, the apply the mud, and then sand it down. Man #3, the heating man, comes back and installs the ductwork. The vent will go in after the drywall and paint. Wood for molding that was specially ordered arrives and sits beside the drywall in the garage. Hubby wants to stain it that special color for which only he knows the formula.
Step Ten of staycation - While waiting for man #1 to do the drywall, hubby and I wander a few miles out of town to go fishing. We figure it’s okay to be outside. We are social distancing by being away from most of society. However, hubby promptly falls when walking from rock to rock while fly fishing. We end up at the hospital, the emergency room. Since we are in a pandemic, I am not allowed in there with him. So I wait in the car, for about three hours. Have you ever waited three hours in your car after having been away from home all afternoon fishing?
Step Eleven of staycation - Hubby is now laid up with a cast on his leg - compound fracture with pins. He will be out of commission for a few months, it seems. The entire project now rests on my shoulders. I am nursemaid, sub-contractor, and payroll clerk. But hey, I can do this. I am a mother and grandmother.
Step Twelve of staycation - I inform hubby A-1 Construction is coming tomorrow. They’re finishing the project. It’ll be done in a week. Under budget. And then I’m leaving for a spa vacation once his cast comes off. Alone.