Saturday, October 06, 2007

This Olde House - Part 5

So the next big project is the floor in the kitchen / dining room. Liam is modeling the existing tiles. By themselves, they aren't bad. But the grout lines are nigh on an inch wide, so they collect dirt like stink on a pig. Combine that with the fact that we've removed the wall between the two rooms and plan to unify the flooring in both of them, and the inevitable conclusion is: the tile has to go. And of course, I am the one doing it. With my charming assistant: Boo Bear.

The empty spot Liam is standing on (above) was formerly a cabinet. He's facing where the wall used to reside. With such a massive gap already leering at me, I started there.

Liam fired up the camera and snapped a couple of action shots as I began the adventure. It is a bit blurry but that is how it began: a twenty year old weight belt cinched around my waist, knee pads bearing my bulk, and a thirty five pound jackhammer chattering away in my fists.

At first, it was really really cool. I love power tools. And I absolutely love the personal application of destruction to the world around me. High carnage means high energy from me. I gnawed through the first dozen tiles in fifteen minutes. Last weekend, it took me and my father together almost an hour to do it. Today I'm doing it by myself in minutes.

I'd knock up several tiles. And as I'm shifting around the floor, Liam hops to it. He's picking up the big pieces and throwing them into the wheel barrow. He's pushing smaller pieces into a pile with the broom. He's snapping pictures. Answering the phone. It's amazing. And I actually have a problem keeping up. At least for the first hour.

By the second hour, my charming assistant was running out of steam. I was holding my own, but the buzz was beginning to fade as the bones in my hands began to grow numb. We started to figure out shortcuts to help ease the burden. Liam grabbed a little shovel and filled up the wheelbarrow in scoops rather than one piece at a time. And I started to get a feel for the proper angles for the hammer.

By the third hour, we were half way done. But Liam had jumped ship. He put in a good couple of hours and was an enormous help. So I let him head to the front yard and play with the neighbor kid. But one last photo before I fly solo. Notice the diving line Liam is straddling? And the shovels? And the full wheel barrow?

When I had to do it all myself, I would hammer up an entire row of tiles, fill the wheel barrow, haul it outside, and shovel everything into the dumpster. It took about half an hour per row. And there were six rows to do.

Around the last hour, Mom came over. She bathed the kids and took them to dinner. With everyone out of the way, I pushed through and finished the whole kitchen. But I could barely move by the end. My hands had no feeling, my arms were like rags, and I could barely aim the hammer. I think it took me half an hour to do the last six tiles. And Mom came home just as I was shoveling the last of the debris.

Then she dusted for two hours.

And then Cindy came home and dusted for two hours.

And then I had a stiff drink and prepared to sleep like the dead.

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