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A Hole in the Wall

We are happily continuing our work at Bill's place. Most of Friday, Saturday, and then again, Monday have been spent making the place better. Not only do we enjoy it, but it's a help to both Bill, and Bruce. Bill--for obvious reasons. Bruce--ditto.

Before Bruce became a project manager extraordinaire, he was a carpenter. Today everyone thinks they are a carpenter until they see a trained one in action. It took him four long years to learn the trade. He's done a lot with his knowledge through the years, including teaching carpentry. However, and that's a pretty big however, for years now, his skills have not been utilized. But, guess what? He seems not to have forgotten a thing.

It must have been Friday, the days are kind of running into one another, that he put the new windowsills in what will be Bill's temporary bedroom. I was painting, so I don't know exactly how you get one to fit, and wrap around the outside, but obviously, he does.
Not the greatest view out the window, but it won't be long before the blinds are put up. Unfortunately, the off the rack blinds are just a wee bit too narrow. Meanwhile, his tile setter Bobby, has been getting the shower tiled. Bill has an obsession with stone. 
I've been painting the living room which has not been all that fun. The walls are heavily textured plaster with so many nooks and crannies that I can't wait to be done!
Not to mention that it is quite large! One of the things you noticed, when first walking into the living room, were two weird poles. Who puts poles in the living room? Why, someone who takes down a wall and can't think of any other way to keep the ceiling up, that's who. Although still not great, I thought to at least paint them, improving their appearance ten-fold. Down the way he will do something creative with them (think stone), but for now the goal is to at least get the living room, the kitchen, one bedroom, and bathroom, done before he moves in on February 17. The clock is ticking.....

Not only are there weird poles, but the kitchen view was grim. I mean, grimmer than anyone can imagine. I cannot tell you how much this weighed me down. Until, sometime in the last week or two, as we were coming home, I asked Bruce about the possibility of flipping the kitchen around, and cutting a hole in the long living room wall. He said it could be done. Calling Bill with the idea, I explained the notion, and he was speechless. So, how grim was the view? This grim:
What pray tell are you looking at? Well, of course all the cabinets are now removed, so there's that. Adding insult to injury, before they were removed by Bill, some spindles in it!!! As if they could disguise the hideousness! The previous owner added a second floor over the garage, put the stairs alongside the house, and enclosed the whole thing. That, my friends, is the stair rail, and the carpeted steps!! Not to mention the unattractive fence. I told you it was grim.

So, here's the fix:
How did Bruce do it? With a very little help from me. He began with laying out the kitchen. Next, lots of measuring to get it right, followed by chalk lines. The saw came out, and here's where yours truly came into the picture. Holding the shop vac just on the other side of the blade to suck up most of the dust. The operative word is most. Good grief was it messy! The kitchen dry wall was cut, then he beat it out with a hammer, followed by cutting out the studs. Lest you worry about stability, he re-installed all sorts of pieces of wood around it.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. I wondered how he would cut the hole exactly on the other side. Now I know. Cleverly, or at least to my way of thinking, he drilled holes on each corner, which we then chalked on the living room side. If I thought the kitchen side operation was messy, it paled in comparison with the plaster side. Sparks were literally flying! I had on some safety goggles and a mask, but what I didn't bargain for was my hair. My poor hair. As if getting gray hair weren't bad enough, I am now abusing my hair left and right. Last week it was a crown of paint, this week a crown of plaster dust. Now I know what I will look like when all my hair turns gray! I will say, it washed out much easier than the paint.

Since he had out all the tools anyway, he then cut the room opening larger, another big task:
Please forgive me for the darkness of these photos, the days were so dreary that the light was not good. Of course this will be refined later, but prior to the cutting, this area held a pocket door. Funny how people once wanted to close the kitchen off, and now they want it open....

Herbert, God bless him, pulled up all the old flooring, and there were many layers, with a crowbar. Nice to be only 41 years old. What you see above is what's called the subfloor, which will of course be covered in stone before too long. Speaking of which, Bruce fashioned a work table from one of the crates the stone was delivered in.
Everything was damp and cold from the incessant rain. Then it went away. Sunday, the market was lovely. We went from one extreme to the other in two days--46 in the middle of the day, to Sunday's temp of 86. I did not complain!

Instead of sweatshirts, yesterday we wore shorts to continue the work. How to get rid of the old hole? Ask a carpenter, or follow along and you shall see.
Getting the hand saw ready beside the big fat mess of the old floor. Thank gosh Bill has another dumpster coming tomorrow before someone gets hurt.

Here's what he did--made a box to fit the opening:
Love that sunshine!! Almost there...
And now he is:
I bet these photos warm the hearts of my boys, seeing their Dad doing something he loves. Not that he didn't like project managing, but there's nothing like going back to your roots. When I wasn't helping him take down the cabinets, or putting on drywall tape, I continued the miserable painting. The ceiling, however, is not going to be done by me. I draw the line somewhere.

The drywall installed:
which he followed by mud, and what have you. Before long, actually when he gets back from Miami, that nasty black stuff you see in the middle will be covered with stucco mix. Bruce surmises that when the latest round of kitchen cabinets went up, they yanked off the plaster. Couldn't have been a trained carpenter.
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