It's not about the house.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Still Crying, Man

At the beginning of the beginning of the end of the beginning of this kitchen thing, the idea was that it wouldn’t take too long, wouldn’t be too difficult, and wouldn’t cost too much money.

So far, we’re on track with the money thing. We had Home Depot gift cards to buy cabinets with. We had a big jar full of change to cash in for buying drywall. I even won $300 at Restoration Hardware from PW, so that will take care of the ceiling fan. But we’ve encountered a few hang-ups regarding the long-and-hard.

First off, we discovered that the range hood wants to vent directly through a wall stud. Which is – according to the laws of physics, anyway – not technically possible. But Super George came to the rescue. He says he can finagle something for us with a weld – move the hole in the back of the machine two inches to the right or so, to go around. Which is fine with us. We haven’t gotten around to it yet, exactly, but we will. We’re perfectly okay with that cockamamie solution.

After all, why should we do things properly around here when nobody else has, never, not one time?

Exhibit A:

That, presumably, is where the back door used to be. And this:

Is how they dealt with the sixteen-on-center issue when they moved the door.

I swear to god, this house was pieced together from whatever happened to blow down off the tree in the back yard. If the 2x4 you’ve got is not quite long enough, just jam in some other little bits until they meet. Provided every piece of wood is actually touching some other piece of wood (or at least gets very, very close), then there’s no need to worry about support that will hold up through the ages. Because, as we discovered on the train, tomorrow never happens, man…

Here’s how our thoughts progressed on this issue over the course of the week:

1. We’ve got to pull that hot mess and replace it with a real stud.

2. But the light switch – the light switch that we put in, on the other, new side of that wall – is mounted on that mess, so we can’t take it down without re-wiring that switch and messing up the plaster (you see? you see what doing things the proper way will get you? instead of just punching boxes through the drywall like some people I could mention?).

3. Wait, though, that did used to be a doorway. So it must have been originally constructed to bear weight without that 2x4. That 2x4 is only necessary now as a receptacle for drywall screws. So who gives a poop about the acey-deucy?

4. Except, um, look at those photographs again. Does that header look designed for weight-bearing to you? Johnny says the fact that the house is still standing at all must mean that it was originally a weight-bearing door.

5. Crap.

— and then here’s where I got brilliant —

6. Hang on, hang on, hang on… When we put that switch in – when we did the back room – we pulled down the other side of this same wall. At that time, everyone – Johnny, Andy, Yeto (our brilliant and meticulous carpenter), Paulie (our shifty and irresponsible contractor), Art (his asshole helper), my dad (an assessor, who knows about these things), two electricians, two plumbers, an insulation guy, the Building, Electrical, and Plumbing Inspectors, plus assorted sundry other ball-scratching, spitting types – all saw that hot mess just the way it was. And not one of those people had a problem with it then. So who are we to wanna care about it now?

And you know what? Johnny agreed.

You gotta call that love, man. That’s what it is.

I’ve gone on too long to start in on the electrics, but I will tell you that whole tale tomorrow. For now, know that it involves a teeny bit of indecisiveness on my part (big shocker), a night spent in total darkness for fear of flipping a switch and blowing up the house (ho hum), and this final result on my lovely bedroom wall:

It’s all the same f*cking day, man…


su said...

All of this was built before codes. Anyone could build anything anyway. Certainly architechts and engineers knew what would work and what would not, but cities and towns did not regulate. So the whole washer, dryer, sorter, dumper mentality took over. Folks boutht books and talked to others and did it themselves. Sometimes it was grande.. other times not so. Gramps rewired the cottage...... Jeesh what a mess that is. Roofed the spfld property in a deal with a neighbor we each help each other and that worked fine.

Amalie said...

Whatever-- at least yours looks halfway flush. The filled in...ahem, "framed in"-- door we found in our kitchen, an entry to a former butler's pantry, was reinforced with studs that were too thick. That's right. They just threw some faux wood paneling (everything in the kitchen was "faux," btw-- faux tile backsplash, faux tile floor, faux wood paneling) over the whole thing so there was a big lump in the wall. It's not like they needed to attach drywall to anything; there was no drywall anyway. Then on the opposite side, they cut a big piece out of one of the studs...for...a cabinet? an old fashioned hot water heater vent? putting somebody's head through when they made stupid decisions regarding a faux something? Who knows.

Stephanie said...

Regarding item 6: Yes, dear, but those are all men. If the focus of the day was not whether or not the former-door bears weight, then it was not even on the radar for seeing or thinking-about. It's the whole hunter vs. gatherer thing.

Robert said...

I gotta ask. Do Art and Paulie read your blog? If so, I urge them to comment. This could get really good.

EGE said...

I doubt if they READ, period. But Art and Paulie aren't their real names.

Although, if somebody decides to make my life into a Paulie Shore movie or something, and they happen to see it, they will know who they are...