Friday, September 9, 2011
Update on the Stairs
Like most construction projects, building a set of stairs has proved to be much more complicated than I initially thought--even taking into account the fact that I initially thought it would be much more complicated than I was initially thinking, if that makes sense. I mean, how hard could it be? You cut a hole for the stairs, make some risers, nail 'em up, and slap a "Finished" sticker on them, right? Wrong. There are all these other nasty little surprises in store for you. Surprises like clearance for your head. You can't just cut a hole in the wall--you need a hole in the ceiling, too. And in the ceiling, there are these fun things called joists, which generally do a good job making sure your house doesn't fall down--except when you decide to cut one into pieces. We had the hole all cut in the wall (and in the floor of the garage attic, since we needed some place for the stairs to go, after all), when we discovered this ginormous, ancient 4x4 beam running the length of the ceiling. It's at this point that I probably would have given up. So there was a hole in my wall. No big deal. It could stay like that quite happily for a year or two, right? But that's why I'm working with a friend who Knows What He's Doing. He cut the beam. The house didn't fall in on itself, I'm happy to report. Something about "load bearing" something something something. I clearly know what I'm talking about. Beyond holes in ceilings, there's other things involved in stair building. Walls for the stairs, for one thing. And cutting the treads the right size. And wiring it for lights, because otherwise you might get eaten by a Grue, as we all know. Oh--and there was practically every single wire in the house that happened to go right through the same spot where the stairs needed to go, and that meant rewiring. A lot of rewiring. While Denisa was supposed to be working online. She had a fifteen minute break, in which we had to cut the power to two different breakers, cut the wires on those breakers, splice in some extra wire to each line, fasten them together safely, and then turn the power back on. Making sure not to die in the process. Who said home construction was boring? I'm happy to say that we pulled it off, and Denisa didn't miss (much) work. And while I'm listing Problems, have any of you ever tried to make something level in an 1841 farmhouse? It ain't easy. In any case, the treads to the stairs are now officially up, and I actually walked up them last night. Nothing collapsed. The definition of success. I do think that I'm trying to do too much, between this, and work, and all my other responsibilities. I woke up with a splitting headache. Feels sinusy. I'm in bed today. The stairs can wait until tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next year. (And did I mention that next week I have to take two trips to Bangor and a trip to Augusta? I'm a busy bee.) Enough blogging. I'm going to go back to sleep.