DIY renovations progressing

We’re busy with some remodeling now. We want to finish our attic and put in a bathroom, and make the remaining space into two small rooms. We decided to be our own contractors and just hire out the plumbing and electric work, and do everything else ourselves so we could stay within a very modest budget and still do a major upgrade to the house. We’ve done some preparatory work, primarily demolishing a wall, creating a new doorway, and building a new wall through the master bedroom in order to create a separate entrance to the attic. I didn’t want people going through one of the bedrooms that is being used by our family every time they came in to do work, which is why I wanted to do this first.

(In case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t know how to do all of this stuff before I started. But the library has great books, and I checked out a bunch of them and read and read until I started to understand some of the things I was reading. I started by putting in a kitchenette in the basement for my mom, with my ds13 as my working buddy. That turned out well, so we were empowered to go onto the above described new attic entrance. And so it continues…)

Finally, we are up to the bathroom itself. Dh framed most of the bathroom so the plumber could do the rough-in, and the plumber spent the last couple of days here doing that. He’ll be back on Sunday to finish putting in the water lines. He is a terrific plumber, and I have a lot of confidence in him. Unfortunately, with all the noise in the house, my baby has not been able to nap at all. So the last couple of days have been hard on him, and everyone else, too, since he spends most of the day needing to be held and very out of sorts.

Ds13 has been a huge help to dh in doing the framing, and was a big help to me yesterday. Dh didn’t totally complete the framing, though most of it is done. He left some things undone that he felt could wait until after the rough ins. Well, ds was watching the plumber, and came down to tell me it was going to be a problem to complete the framing after the pipes were in, and took me upstairs to show me what he meant. He was right – the pipes were being put in differently than dh had expected, so there was going to be a major problem if it weren’t addressed right away. I asked him if he thought he could complete the necessary framing, since dh wouldn’t be home in time; it needed to be done right away. I felt very fortunate that ds knew what to do, though I quite honestly get very nervous about him using a power saw – even though I sat there and watched him cut every board. Something about the sound of it, or just the thought of it, I don’t know, but I get really nervous about power saws.

Today the electricians came to do the electrical rough-in. Let me tell you, I’m much less thrilled with the electricians than I am with the plumber. When the electrician first came to give an estimate, I was quite impressed by him. The problem is that he sends out plumbers he hires to do the work, but they have nowhere near his experience. It never occurred to me to ask about that when we spoke about all the things I wanted done. After clearing my schedule for the morning, they arrived three hours late (and when I clear my schedule, it’s not just a manner of speaking – I literally had to postpone a bunch of things). Then they didn’t know what work they were supposed to do. Then they told me they would need to reopen the ceilings, after I already repaired the holes from the prior work they did – “Oh, we didn’t realize we would need those holes to stay open.” Then after less than 2 hours, they decided to leave for the day because they had a question and I had gone out for ten minutes to drop off my son at his tutor. They said it will take at least three days (and based on their past work, which was all part of this same contract, I’m wondering how many days more it will take them to actually get it done right). They plan to be here 7:30 in the morning to get started again. The only good thing I could say about the day was that thanks to their delay, I was able to put the baby in for two naps before they arrived, and because they left so soon, he was able to sleep right after they left. And that’s no small thing to be grateful for. We all really appreciated the difference between him today and yesterday – everyone had fun with him again! He really is a very happy natured baby, and I hate seeing him so miserable.

I finally got to the end of the day (after coming home with all of the kids very late from a lovely family party we were invited to), and thought I would post something here. But Blogger has updated something and I couldn’t get into my account. I kept at it until finally I was able to log in, and honestly, I just felt lucky that it finally happened. I really dislike these system wide upgrades that mean everyone has to re-register, nothing works the way it’s supposed to, etc. Have you ever noticed how these things never happen when you are feeling energetic and eager to face some challenges? LOL . Life on life’s terms, as the saying goes. :)


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