Monday, February 25, 2008

Up from the Ghetto

Remember this?

Yes, it's Missy's closet-crib, our version of her "bedroom" in the back hallway closet.

Yes, it's ghetto. Yes, I know, it's Britney-level trailer-trash lame putting the poor little ex-orphan to sleep in a freaking closet. In the back hallway. I am pretty sure that it will turn up around page 23 in the "Mommy Dearest" tell-all book she will write about us twenty years from now.

I can live with that.

What we couldn't live with was the inconvenience of living out of poor Missy's "bedroom". So the last month or so we've been talking about yet another home improvement project - converting the back hallway into this airy vision...

Still working on the part where the whole house gets transported to Aruba. Hmmmm...

So. Friday the nice people from Portland Garbage & Recycling dropped of The Skip at the curb and the demolition commenced
Probably my favorite part of these DIY projects is the demo. This probably says something awful about my personality or the effect of a Y chromosome in general, but getting to attack your own home with a sawsall and sledge?

BIG fun.

The plan was to just rip out all the interior (closet) partitions AND the exterior drywall down to the studs. We're still working on what to do with the low ceiling and how we want to open the exterior wall up - i.e. windows - but the initial demo plan was pretty well fixed.

We didn't count on the Mad Carpenters.
Every time we do something to this house I end up ripping and cursing the former owners, whose notions of interior construction varied wildly between "let's save the insurance money on this and blow it on mojitos and Hooters girls instead" and "We must build this to stand long after the Cascades have eroded to mere nubbins."

The closet wall construction was done in the latter, an incredible, fortress-of-solitude-like massiveness that would have looked more appropriate had it been made of mud brick rather than dimension lumber. Look at the photo above (Peeper for scale) and picture that as the corner post of the hallway closet. Look at it! These people welded SIX two-by-four studs together. Ten inches of solid wood.

With that much wood you knew somebody was gonna get screwed.

Here he is, one of the screw-ees, toting yet another dense hunk of lumber off to the skip.

Saturday morning and early afternoon was devoted to sawing, ripping and tearing. Load after load of wood and drywall came out, across the sideyard and down the front steps to the skip.

Finally the major work of demolition was pretty much done and the kids were feeling neglected (and making that feeling very clear) we stopped work and had a little fooling around time.

At Mojo's wise suggestion, this involved doodling on the to-be-demo'ed drywall with sharpie pens. She and I and the Peep made all sorts of grafitti, from abstract art (the odd thing below and right is Peep's picture of a dead baby - vicious little rascal, sometimes...) to tic-tac-toe.

Finally we celebrated the nice sunny day and the hard work with a trip to "Mommy's Ice Cream House" (Dairy Queen).

Sunday dawned a little grayer with a lot of sore muscles and aching joints.

Also a few less tolerant children. But the last closet remained to be attacked, and the exterior drywall. So Mojo entertained the masses while I tore into the still-inexplicably-monstrous walls of Troy.

We swapped off duties regularly, with Mojo doing some of the yard work - hey, we've got a ginormous skip, who cares what goes in it? - that she's been putting off for so long.

Again, the real bonus was the nice day. The idea of repeated trips to the curb loaded with junk - in the pouring rain - makes my giggy hurt. Ugh. But no problems, mate! Missy and I toddled around in the lovely sunshine while Peeper refused to dress and insisted on remaining motionless in front of the television watching God alone knows what mindless crap.
Finally about one p.m. the tumult and the shouting died...

The topboards of the old closet walls remain in the ceiling, mostly because we're afraid to tear them down before we can figure out what's above the drywall...the freakish wiring - don't get me started on how the Former People did interior electrical wiring! - dangles in the open space...and the nasty linoleum floor is in place.


The biggest part of the destruction is complete.

It was time to put the baby to bed.

Actually...the Peeper and I went to Columbia Pool where he played in the water until his little lips were blue...then to my office so I could do my timesheet and some work I'd put off...then a hearty dinner of fast-food curly fries (Peeper ambrosia!) and home to Mojo and Missy (who had been, uncharacteristically, the Toddler from Hell. Lesson learned - neglect your adoptee for home improvement at your peril), tub and snuggles and bed.

A long and busy weekend, but a good start to the future Missy's Room and (in the far future) Mommy's sewing room and sun porch. Sometimes our family does pretty decent work as a team. Sometimes...

Next up: the Hard Part - windows and ceilings


walternatives said...

BRAVO! That corner post leaves me speechless.

I'm truly looking forward to seeing what comes next, team Extraordinnaire.

atomic mama said...

Whoa. That's a big project! How very cool. Glad the weather was cooperative to start. And gotta love the mermaid on a missile...

Mrs. Vandertramp said...

I'm tired just thinking of all that work, although maybe that's because we've been through some of that ourselves. It'll be worth it!

wzgirl said...

"The Other People" - yeah, we know about that. Like, filling cracks with liquid nails and "texturizing" the walls/ceiling with that cottage cheese stuff to hide cracks.

You guys rule with the tenacity!