[Worldtrippers home] [Mountaintop home]
Joss, Cameron and Russell offload stacks of MDF molding from the loft
We have finally reached the physical limitations of our bodies. We had expected to return to our mountain home after weeks away with renewed energies and spirits.
Instead, one week after our vacation, Gail broke her toe while goofing off with our son, Joss. Her shoulder is still in constant pain. Furthermore, she has been diagnosed with Dupuytrens Contracture. This genetic disorder inhibits the tendons in the hands, reducing their flexibility.
Conversely, Russell aggravated a hernia during our first week of vacation. He is scheduled for surgery at the end of May, and is not supposed to lift anything heavy in the meantime.
All of this affects our to-do list for the mountain home, which still includes drywalling the second-story ceilings and installing rails on the stairs and balcony. The drywalling is a particularly large job, as it involves 1,000 square feet of vaulted ceiling situated 10-15 feet above the floor. Due to the octagonal shape of the house, there are numerous compound angles that need to be cut around corners and rafters. After much deliberation, we made the difficult decision to outsource the drywalling to a contractor. Gail simply doesn’t have the ability to do it herself anymore.
Costs aside, this decision doesn’t let us off the hook labor-wise. In order for a contractor to do the job, we still have to move all of the furniture from upstairs to downstairs in order to provide access to workers and ladders. Fortunately, our two sons have college spring break at the same time. Cameron and Joss both consented to come up with us for the weekend to move furniture.
We left early in the morning on Thursday, March 29, arriving before lunchtime. The first thing we noticed was that we had caught five (!) mice in our various traps. Unfortunately, the dead mice over a period of several weeks also attracted a huge number of ants. Gail devised an ingenious mouse trap using a bucket; in the future that should eliminate any ant problems.
Building a better mousetrap: The bucket has a small, baited platform that spins on a wire hinge. The mouse runs up the shim ramp, tries to get the bait, falls into the water and drowns.
With our sons doing the heavy lifting, we spent most of Thursday bringing a massive amount of “junk” down from the upstairs and the loft. This included hardwood floor slats, MDF trim molding and stair railing materials. Frankly, we were amazed at how much stuff had accumulated up there. We ended using the portable scaffolding downstairs as a storage rack.
Cameron and Joss load floorboards onto the scaffolding.
It took an entire day to bring all of the floorboards, molding and railings downstairs.
On Friday, the boys dismantled all four of the upstairs ceiling fans. But the bigger challenge was to remove the lights over the stairwell. This necessitated reconstructing a platform over the stair hole. We left those materials handy in case the contractor wants to use them when installing drywall over the stairwell.
Joss and Cameron had to unwire and dismantle all four upstairs ceiling fans, then bring them downstairs
Our biggest challenge of the weekend: Cameron and Joss had to construct a platform across the stairwell.
This enabled Russell and Cam to take down the stair lights.
On Saturday, we finally got to the point of moving actual furniture. We stacked things in various piles downstairs, leaving especially heavy objects upstairs for the workers to shuffle around.
The master bedroom: before and after.
The upstairs livingroom: before and after. (Any furniture that was too big to move was just left in place for the contractors to shift around.)
Cameron’s bedroom: before and after. (We left the futon frame.)
Joss’ bedroom: before and after. (We left the bunk beds and stuffed them full of mattresses from the other rooms.)
We also met with Joe Novasel, the contractor we have chosen to install the drywall. Joe brought his friend Eric Linneman, who will be doing the actual work. Eric pointed out several instances where there was inadequate backing for installation; he would have to figure out how to reverse-engineer all of that. We already knew about the general challenges of all of the compound angles; after hearing from Joe and Eric we were even happier that we have contracted out this particular task.
Joe Novasel and Eric Linneman scope out the work ahead
We departed on Saturday in time for lunch at our favorite all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant. It was great to spend a weekend together as a family, even if it was mostly work. The contractors plan to start their work as soon as Monday; the next time we come up, we hope to see all of our ceilings finished!
The downstairs: before and after. (So that’s where all the furniture went!)
[Worldtrippers home] [Mountaintop home]