Sunday, July 6, 2008

Marathon construction and marathon cleaning.

For quite some time we have wanted to do some remodeling in our living room. You may remember that last Christmas we tore the carpet out in anticipation of installing a hardwood floor. But before we could tackle flooring, we wanted to remove the fireplace (one of those cheap, pre-fab jobs - not worth having) and put in a set of large windows to give us a nice view of the lovely back yard and woods beyond. But to do that, we had to tear down the chimney.

Bring on the powertools. The boys tore the cedar siding off the chimney on Thursday, and started removing the sheathing.

Sheathing removed, it was time to dismantle the frame and take down the double-wall chimney pipe. Look at that blue sky on Friday! Perfect weather for making a big hole in the back of your living room.
Ben broke up the tile with a sledge hammer, and pulled up the underlying concrete backer-board to get the actual fireplace out.
Unfortunately, Ben doesn't know his own strength, and sledge-hammered a big hole in the floor. Apparently, the chimney had been leaking for a very long time, and there was much rotted wood back there. They wound up having to build a brace under the corner of the deck so it wouldn't cave in. Remember the story of "If you give a mouse a cookie. . .?"
Here we are on bright, sunny Friday, examining the gaping hole in the back wall. There is also a section of roof missing where the chimney used to be, but that's ok, because, I mean, just LOOK at all that sunshine!

Hole in roof:

Oh, and I forgot to tell you, we are having a barbecue Saturday at 1 pm for our Sunday School class. Yes indeed, here we are, ready for a party on our deck.

Here's Mike testing out the first window. It works perfectly, thanks to Mike's amazing framing skills.

Notice how dark it's getting? That's not night coming. It's only 6 pm. That's a storm brewing. We can hear the first rumblings of thunder far away, and a nice breeze is kicking up. Suddenly, we were scrambling like ants whose hill has been discovered by a little boy. Throwing tools in the porch, unplugging saws, finding a big tarp for the roof, duct-taping heavy plastic over the remaining hole in the wall, covering Ben's car window with a plastic bag (long story), pulling up truck windows by hand (another long story). We were piling insulation under a tarp and throwing the last of the tools in the house when it broke loose.

That storm was quite a whopper - wind, lightning, and rain coming down in sheets. We stood at our one new window and watched the rain pour off the tarp - a good sign that it wasn't coming in under it.

Saturday, the day of the barbecue, dawned bright and sunny. That called for an even bigger hole in the wall. I couldn't take any more construction and went to buy food. When I got back at 9 am, this is what I saw in my living room, four hours before company:
Call me crazy, but this doesn't look like a family ready for a picnic. You can't appreciate the amount of dust and mess in there without having breathed it for two days.

However, my husband and sons made a believer of me, and they had the windows in by 12. For the next hour, Abbie and I had two vacuums going, brooms and mops and dusting rags flying and had the place looking downright comfortable when our first guests arrived.
That's Elijah on the couch, trying to rest up for the party to come. Ben spent the rest of the day trying to stay awake.

We have another chimney and useless fireplace in our bedroom which we've always said we would tear out and replace with French doors. We are currently rethinking that plan.

Be thankful ~


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