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July 10, 2010
Gail vs. the ceiling


Gail, Steve and the drywall lift all work together on the downstairs ceiling

We are freshly back from a family vacation. This year we made a driving trip to Southern California over the July 4th weekend. Our week-and-a-half adventure included ATV riding at Pismo Beach, Disneyland, Universal Studios and an invitation to the mysterious Magic Castle. A splendid time was had by all.


Cameron, Russell and Joss with a friend at Disneyland

We returned with an extra half-week still ahead of us, so Gail and Russell decided to spend it up at our mountain home. We drove up on Wednesday, July 7, joined by our friend Steve.

It’s been said that for any task, you could find someone who loves it so much they would gladly do it for free. During our time away, Steve had actually made two day trips up to the mountain by himself. He drove two hours each way just to whack weeds and spray poison oak. He is happy to do it, and we are happy that he is keeping the terrain looking so fantastic.


Steve vs. the weeds, some of which have grown more than five feet high

Gail’s task this trip was to continue drywalling the downstairs ceiling. With Russell’s shoulder still healing, Steve volunteered to keep himself available to help inside.

One of the many things we underestimated in selecting an octagonal home was the amount of work it would take to drywall the ceilings. Each wedge-shaped section has to be individually measured – no two are exactly the same – with odd-shaped pieces cut to fit like a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece then has to be lifted ten feet into the air. Fortunately, Gail is using 1/4” drywall for the ceiling – much lighter than the 1/2” material she used on the walls.

         
Three stages of the ceiling above the front door: bare, insulation and drywall

Gail ended up getting the alternating help of both Steve and Russell. The heavy lifting was helped by the drywall lift. In addition, for the first time Gail used a portable scaffold she borrowed from our ex-building inspector, Dennis.

Even so, by Saturday morning Gail’s frustration finally led to a nervous breakdown. The last straw was the large section next to the stairwell cavity. Because the space is trapezoid-shaped (like every space), the piece can’t be slid into place horizontally – it must fit in exactly vertically. However, the vertical access is blocked by two bracers that Russell had installed to support the upstairs joists.


Gail uses a borrowed scaffold to measure the most challenging space. (Note the small piece of bracer wood behind her head.)

Gail was so burned out after three days of drywalling ceilings that she literally collapsed into a puddle of tears. Fortunately, Russell justified his presence, helping to measure, cut and install the challenging piece. We were able to get it into place by bending it slightly (only possible because we were using the thinner drywall).

So it was on a less-frustrating note that we departed the mountain on Saturday afternoon, July 10. For Russell, his two-week vacation is over and he has to go back to his real job. For Gail, the downstairs ceiling is about half done and she still has to do the other half.


The most challenging piece of drywall, finally in place. (Note the two bracers on left and right.)

 

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