Thursday, November 15, 2007

Building a better box

The other night was kind of typical of our weeknight routine:

Arrive home after work. Feed cat, check messages. Eat unexpectedly large snack. Change into battered work clothes.

Begin clearing out kitchen of breakables and exposed foodstuffs. Bring in ladders, mallet, hammer and chisel, two sizes of wood screw, battery drill, other drill, circular saw, workbench, level, square, pen, Sawzall, Skil saw, goggles and gloves.

Remove last ceiling joist but not before dealing with junction box screwed to it. Measure existing short studs where the new top of the wall will be. Go outside, find used 2x4s from the beam project, clean them up and cut them to length so they'll sister with the old studs. Bring them inside and realize half of them need to be recut. Recut them. Chase panicked sparrow out of house. Standing on ladders, countertops, and refrigerator, with drop light clipped to rafter, attach main rafters to beam and topplate; clean up gnarly blocking with various power tools; shower sawdust all over kitchen. Discover dead termite in tiny hole in one piece of blocking.

Start screws in sister studs and then attempt to fasten to old studs while holding perfectly plumb and flush with topplate of wall so as to provide nailing surface for drywallers. Gaze around a lot at trim, electrical rerouting, and other miscellaneous tasks that will need to be done, some other night.

Begin cleaning up just after 10. Straighten up, put tools away, sweep floor and bring breakables back into kitchen. Open beers and heat oil for leftovers. While dinner warms up, measure ceiling and wall area for ordering beadboard and drywall next day. Eat. Brush teeth. Bed.

- Erika

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