Thursday - Day Four:
Lest you become misguided by the high points and start to believe that home renovation is a fun new hobby that will bring couples closer together, let me share with you last night's renovation funtimes.
As we began work at 7pm last night, the remaining tasks on our renovation list included:
- Prep and paint all the walls
- Lay the new floor
- Build all the cabinets/cupboards
- Install all the cabinets/cupboards
- Build a new kitchen table and built in bench
- Dance with delight
Even the most amateur of renovators will see the folly in a list like this one. A list that entirely fails to mention things like: pry off weird old gate attachment inexplicably painted onto wood door frame, then repair resulting holes; or unhook ancient gas line from one tonne ancient stove and move stove to "more convenient place" for the purpose of laying floor underneath. A list like that is also dangerous in that it assumes an order in which one would do things, and sometimes even the loveliest of couples disagree on that order. Shocking but true.
Last night was a night filled with disagreement and small tasks that stood in the way of big tasks cropping up all over the damn place. You see, in our house we have some roles we each play: I cook, Martin does dishes; I deal with paperwork and finances, Martin mows the lawn; Martin drywalls and lays floors, I paint. And on it goes. As the primary house painter it is obvious to me that painting the walls before you redo the floor is optimal. If you're going to redo the floor anyway, who cares if it's covered in paint splatters right? Right. As the person who lays the floor and is conscious of the fact that until the floor is laid there will be no rehooking of the stove (required for morning coffee among other things) or installation of the cupboards or reinstallation of the sink for that matter, it seems quite obvious to Martin that rooms get painted all the time with their final floors installed. And, he's right. But so am I. And honestly, the night would probably have progressed a lot better if we could have both admitted that. But we didn't. And he won. And I started putting primer on the hot pink wall so that we can paint it can become light blue, and then Martin went to undo the gas line on the stove to move it out of my way, which was rather nice of him.
Undoing gas lines is not an easy thing on the nerves. Especially if you're a nervous person who envisions all worst case scenarios immediately. And I am. But, the shut-off valve worked as it should and the stove no longer lit. Good. And Martin grabbed a wrench and started to undo the bolts on the pipe connecting the stove to the main gas line. Bolts that have almost certainly not been undone since the stove was installed 65 years ago (something we can almost certainly verify as it seems every single element of this kitchen is as it was first installed in 1940). And guess what? They didn't come off easily. And trying to literally wrench apart the various tubes and things that attach your gas line, keeping all that gassy goodness inside the line and not inside your lungs: not so easy on the nerves. Many conversations about hiring a pipe fitter to do it for us were had (inside my head) and eventually after many different wrenches were tried he succeeded. We were however left with a very mangled connecting pipe. And it was now 8:15 and we had accomplished the following:
1 argument about what order to continue the renovation in
1 gas hookup removed
1 coat of primer around 1 light switch on 1 wall
I left Martin to finally start installing the floor, which he had clearly been aching to do since he first stepped in the door and set off for the hardware store to get a new connector pipe. As we know from previous trips to the hardware store, often replacing parts from a 1940s house are not particularly straightforward. Nevertheless, I marched into the pipes and plumbing isle (where gas stove connectors live) holding my manky, sticky, dirty old pipe out proudly in front of me. I stopped the first guy I could find near the isle and asked him to help me find a new one. Now here's where an already long story could go on forever, so I'll cut it short. The bolts on my stove connector are no longer the standard size. The new standard size is 5/8" ours are 1". After much rummaging and measuring and eyeballing of parts a specialist was called back from his break and after what felt like forever we cobbled together the bits I needed. I was then given a very charming lesson in the use of teflon tape and low-fi ways to check for a gas leak (put soapy water on the joints and see if it bubbles) I ran down to the electrical aisle and bought a natural gas meter just for good measure.
Arriving back home, Martin was well on his way to installing the floor and after hooking up our new and lovely gas monitor I got to the task of priming the hot pink wall. When we were done, it was after 10pm. After 10pm and we no longer had a stove to heat food, leaving us with the options of cereal, toast (if we made it in the livingroom) or Martin's suggestion of going out to find nachos. It seems that renovations leave you in a mood for pub food. We found some nachos, ate them in record time and came home where I went straight to bed. And, as I type that last sentence I'm pretty sure I know now why I had weird dreams last night.
Tonight: I'm sanding the walls where drywall repairs have been done and then headed to a friends house for what will be a most deeply appreciated home cooked meal. Martin is going to attempt to finish the other half of the floor. Nothing like a Friday night!
It should be a fun weekend.