18 July, 2008

Basement Demolition and Black Boogers

Yesterday was a black booger kind of day. On a scale of one to ten, with one being light housekeeping and ten being working in a coal mine, it ranked about an eight—right on par with an afternoon of sightseeing in Ho Chi Minh City (and believe me, I know what I'm talking about). Yuck. It was the kind of day where you blow your nose and all sorts of grit comes out.

Well, I hope you weren’t eating breakfast or lunch, or whatever it is you were snacking on in your part of the world. But c’mon. Home improvement is messy, and some projects more so than others.

My cousins Jason and John came by yesterday to help me and Ted pull down drywall in the basement. I have the bestest cousins. Really. I mean that. Jason actually volunteered to help us tear out stuff when he heard we wanted to demo, and recruited John with the words "Do you want to go to Jo's house and break stuff?" Honestly, who could resist that? John's reply was, "You had me at break stuff."

The guys started by pulling down the drywall in the laundry room. I'm too short to reach the ceiling, so my job was to drag out the large drywall pieces to pile in the yard and keep empty boxes rotating to toss the nails and smaller bits into.

To tackle the first wall, they had to carry the old garage doors back to the garage. Unfortunately, the boards in the door are not the same size as the boards used to build the garage roof, as I previously thought. So the doors will sit there at the back of the garage until I can figure out another use for them.
We all wore masks while working, not the cheap dust ones, but masks rated for drywall. They were absolutely necessary, as the opposite side of the drywall boards, particularly the ceiling ones, was coated in a thick layer of black, black dust and grime. Our best guess for the composition of that dust is coal dust from the old boilers. Anybody else ever encounter this? The air was thick with dust the entire time we were working. Even with the masks, my nose was filled with grit by the end of the demolition.

In all, we pulled down about 60% of the drywall in the basement. There are some walls/ceiling sections we left intact because we want to take down those sections and drywall them all in one weekend, so don't want to tear apart those rooms until we're ready. This includes our offices and the storage areas. We don't want to leave those open for gosh-knows how long.

With the cousins here, it didn't really seem like work. We took frequent breaks--after all, the four of us will all be turning the big 4-0 within a year of each other, starting with Ted this fall. No sense in wearing ourselves out completely; we're not as young as we used to be! Here's what the basement looked like when we were done.

Yikes. As careful as we were, that's still quite the mess. We celebrated with not one but three pizzas from Lou Malnati's (The Lou, a thin crust cheese and sausage, and a pepperoni pan, in case you were wondering, Marilyn). Jason's mom was here, too, visiting from Arizona. It's always a treat to see my Aunt Sheila.

After everyone left, Ted and I stayed up until about one in the morning to do the clean up. Neither of us really, really wanted to do it, but we also didn't want to face it the next day. Here's how it looked afterward:

All of the drywall is now in the garage. I read in a magazine a few months back that there was a place in the Chicago area that recycles old gypsum boards, but I'm having trouble tracking that down. I'd like to be able to dispose of all of this waste and not feel guilty about it.

Anyway, tune in tomorrow for some detailed pictures of what we discovered behind the wall boards--there were a few surprises!


Marilyn said...

Great (but gritty) job, but why must you taunt me, Joanne, why. My kingdom for a Lou (or two, or three)!

Joanne said...

Aw, Marilyn, I didn't mean to taunt you. Just thought you'd be curious. *grin*

Andy said...

1. I prefer Giordano's to Lou Mal's myself, but Lou does a good job...the sauce is just a bit to sweet for me.

2. I lucked out when tearing the drywall off the ceiling...there wasn't a ton of dust up there, and none of it was the black sooty kind. I thought for sure though that I was going to find piles of it.

3. Do you rent out your cousins? :)

Joanne said...

Andy, maybe I should start a rent-a-cousin side business to help pay for the renovation here.

Despite the mess, it was fun tearing out drywall and gaining a better understanding of how the house is put together. (For some of it I'm thinking "Really, that's all that's holding it up?")

Jean Martha said...

I'm engaged...but...dang...cute cousins!

Joanne said...

Jean--Yeah, they are a couple of cuties. I used to have a crush on both of them when we were kids. :-)

Anonymous said...

Those cousins are SEXXXXXXXXXY! You're very lucky to have them come down and break stuff.

Disclaimer: this message was posted by one of said cousins.

Joanne said...

Hey Cuz--anytime you need some work on your place, let us know. We'd love to return the favor. :-)

us said...

I am definitely going to start rating projects by their resulting booger shade.

Joanne said...

Just be glad I don't feel the need to photograph everything!