glass half full… of nails

if i had to use one adjective to describe myself, it would be “optimistic.” i just can’t help myself — there’s a bright side to every shitty situation and i’m that person who not only notices said bright side, but comments on it, often before i’ve even realized i’m going to say something. i also “persevere” — so convinced am i that the bright side will reveal itself, even when it’s clear that a situation is an undeniably bad one. the basement is such a situation.

IMG_2498i — optimistically, naively —thought the basement demolition would take me an afternoon, maybe two. how hard could it be to pull down some ceiling tiles and free some drywall from studs, revealing what was sure to be (in my addled mind) pristine brick and secret treasures? i’ll admit, the thought that i might even find money in the walls entered my mind, but only because friends of friends discovered $25,000 in 1920s currency hidden in their ceiling tiles last summer.

never mind the fact that our neighbours found a tombstone labelled “mother” when excavating their yard last summer. nope, if pierre and i were to discover anything in our basement walls it would be money, not dead mothers. that’s just the way my mind works. (and i’m glad of it.)

but back to the original question. how hard could demolishing a room be? very hard, as it turns out. having done very little “renovation” work and a whole lot of “redecorating” work — as pierre is now pointing out very emphatically — i actually had no idea how many pieces of wood and thousands of nails are required to hold a room together. now i know.

IMG_2499i’m in a bit of a jam. i’ve started, so there is no choice but to finish. the pile of construction debris that has to go somewhere, half-revealed hardwood floors, and dangling electrical wires are testament to that. but the demolition — i was always under the impression it was easier to tear something down than build it — is not the work of a single afternoon.

but, bright side: whoever would have thought there’d be original hardwood underneath that terrible tile?!? yes, i’ve just signed us up for hours of painstaking work ripping up tiles, removing rusty nails, sanding, and refinishing, but… super old hardwood floors! in our basement! real hardwood (with grooves) not a subfloor, for all you people that were going to try and smash my dreams just there.



IMG_2496there was indeed brick behind the drywall and it’s not parged, though it’s also not what you’d call pristine. but this means i can clean up, prime, and paint (bright side) and make it look really nice without even having to debate whether i should leave it or paint it. on the kind of gross side: you can probably imagine what kinds of insects were calling that cozy place between the drywall and the brick home for the last 80 years.

i continue to see the potential good in this space, even though construction debris is starting to close in on our laundry room. i should have been more methodical about the demolition and, maybe i’ve finally learned my lesson here, known that nothing home renovation-related can be achieved in a single afternoon.

here’s the demo still-to-do list:

  1. ensure tetanus vaccination is up to date
  2. remove remaining drywall pieces (around the window), shudder, then shop-vac all spiders
  3. remove remaining ceiling braces, try not to get whacked in the head with a light
  4. saws-all remaining studs and add to growing pile of debris
  5. secure hanging wires (tuck into space between joists)
  6. pull up plywood/tile floors and remove all nails from hardwood
  7. serious shop-vac of everything, twice
  8. buy bagster / rent dumpster and haul all debris to driveway

hoping to get to the end of this list before christmas, when i’m taking two weeks off work, so i think it’s safe to say we’ll be starting 2014 with a gutted basement.

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