It has been decided, by Honey and I, that the whole basement requires a makeover. Walls are coming down and there will be a new configuration. We are making it DIYUID project. That is an acronym for do-it-yourself-until-it’s-dangerous. It may seem odd to take on a renovation job, considering my health situation, but paying someone else to do it all is not feasible, and I currently have time on my hands. Also, the excessive damage from ground-water seepage this spring and previous years, had done damage that needed to be addressed.
The upside to doing construction in the basement is that no one lives there. If it weren’t for the freezer and the laundry, we wouldn’t go down there. The space is only used when we have guests, and we aren’t having guests anytime soon. The other advantage is that the area that I am renovating, I built twenty-five years ago. Aside from mould, there is nothing there I haven’t seen before, including the cracks in the concrete that allowed the water to penetrate, that I just covered up the first time. Okay, my bad. Won’t happen this time. The head contractor, aka Honey, is a bear about the details and I be a-scared of her!
The first step to any renovation job is the demolition. I don’t need Honey to tell me how to do that, I’ve been breaking things for years. The end-game is to re-do the entire basement, but a total gut job will probably take more time than I have, so it has been decided to divide the basement into areas. The most paramount subterranean region to get work done to will be the rooms where we have seen water over the years. Therefore, I am demolishing two bedrooms, a bathroom and the stairwell leading from the backdoor. If I was to guess, I would say that this particular segment represents about 60% of the total basement, with only the rec-room being left untouched during this phase.
Ten years ago, this would have been a weekend job. I have been demolishing for the last month! I manage to get one wall torn down, the gyprock, insulation and studs all removed and put in the back of a pick-up truck and that’s it for me. I’m’ done, I’m toast, I can go no further. I must rest, and I’m not talking a 30-minute coffee break, I’m talking the rest of the day, and depending how I feel when I get up, the next day too! A day of work, a day of rest, a day of work, a day of rest, it’s a good thing I had nothing to do with creation!
The lack of strength and stamina are one thing, but the biggest problem I face is pain from extended posture. Meaning, that if I stay in one position too long, some part of me starts to hurt. I’m talking, being stabbed repeatedly by a dagger that is fresh from the fire kind of pain, not just an ache. The ache comes once I move, and stays through the next extended posture pain, and gets joined by the ache that that pain produced. After only a few hours I move like a robot, with absolutely no fluidity of motion. After only a few hours of demolition, people in wheelchairs are more mobile than I am! I have to continuously think about moving arms and legs, not subconsciously, but right up front in my brain, sometimes I have to tell my leg to move verbally! “Straighten up, you piece of…” I’ll scream at it, followed by “Ow, ow, ow,” when it does what I say. I’m glad I’m working alone.
Am I frustrated? Absolutely!! But unless I am willing to take enough pain meds, as to teeter on the brink of overdose, this is the way it must be. Killing myself by overdose would be a little counter-productive, I think. The good part is that much like our recent road-trip, this renovation can be done at a leisurely pace. I can ‘meander’ through the reno. It is not referred to as ‘meander’ in construction, it is known as ‘puttering’. That is the pace that I am keeping with this renovation, I am ‘puttering’ about. Remove a nail, put down the hammer and go have coffee. Sure, it is why it has been five-weeks of demolition, but from my perspective, I still have ten fingers and ten toes, and only three wounds that required a bandage. One of which was caused when I took a bandage off a wound while the adhesive was too sticky, and it took skin with it!
So, now you know what I’ve been doing instead of writing for your entertainment. I have been methodically removing 60% of my basement. Demolition is now complete, well almost. There is still a piece of wood here and there that has to come down and be disposed of. But they’re more nuisance than obstruction, and can be dealt with during the reconstruction. That’s right!! It’s time to ‘putter’ it back together!!
It might be a while before you hear from me again because step one involves cement, and probably more painkillers than is healthy…