My Dear Sword of Damocles

Poor Moxie. I check on her a dozen times a day and she looks so uncomfortable. The later she goes, the more worried I get. I tell myself that my sense of impending doom is merely due to all the other stresses going on in my life.

Yesterday after checking Moxie I started the day by building a new platform for a propane tank delivered last Friday. Due to the weeds and the yellow jackets, the gas man had installed the tank at the edge of the house, where it was visible as one drove in. I figured the easiest way to get the tank moved further past the corner was to set up the new spot myself. I hauled dirt to level the ground, hauled #2 stone for drainage, and set up and leveled identical pavers I had on hand. The work took an hour before breakfast but it was done. When they arrived, the men moved the heavy tank in less than a minute.

(The paint on the garage has been scraped preparatory to the entire house being painted in a few weeks. The sewer pipe is a clean-out that Allen and I installed in 2009. Once the building is finished, I will cut it down to just above ground level.)

Meanwhile, see this mess? This was originally an orderly, very large pile of boxes, most of them filled with books, moved by me from the mudroom. Unfortunately, in the last few weeks of rush to get things out of the way of the builders, various other items have been thrown on top.

The outside doorway into the basement is similarly blocked with “stuff.”

All of it must be moved in the next two days, to make room for a water heater plus various other items to be brought in.

I have thought and thought about how to scaffold all this labor. I hope my plan will work.

I have stumbled upon a sweet, lanky 16-year-old, also named Nick, who is willing to be hired to help me with this move. What a stroke of luck!

Back in March when I was moving all the boxes to the basement, I planned ahead and left a two-foot-wide path around the giant stack. Yesterday young Nick and I fastened furring strips along the Fox Blocks lining the basement walls. Fox Blocks are the styrofoam forms into which the concrete walls were poured. The blocks have nailing spaces between the concrete about every ten inches. By attaching the furring strips to the block wall with 3″ coated deck screws, we have created a frame on which to hang sheetrock.

Someday the basement will be a finished space, but given the dollars involved, not any time soon. For now my goal is to hang 8 sheets of drywall in this northeast corner to smooth out the walls.

The Fox Blocks website says that the concrete should cure for a year before sheetrock is taped. This is convenient for me, since I don’t know how to tape.

Once I get the sheetrock up, I will line the walls with some of our two dozen bookcases. Then I will start emptying cartons onto the shelves. Though DH and I like our books to be grouped by subject, for now I will just get them out of boxes, to clear the space.

Yesterday young Nick and I carried ten bookcases from the garage (where Kyle and I had stored them in 2015) around the house and down the rough slope to the basement. We carried four more inside for the office.

Here is Nick trimming the back of one of these latter office shelves so it will fit tight to the wall over the molding. Long experience has taught me that the best way to keep a teen’s attention through a long day is to give him access to a power tool.

Meanwhile Lucy and Amanda have been helping me with bathroom decisions. Last night I rushed to the lumberyard 20 minutes away just before closing and picked up samples for the molded vanity top (less expensive than separate top and sink). Here is a sample of the flooring tile, a piece of white trim matching the plain vanity cabinet, a white subway wall tile, and two “faux granite” options for the molded top.

After I check Moxie I have to drive the box of samples back. I have to order the vanities this afternoon, cut and hang the eight sheets of sheetrock, move bookshelves into position, carry four more shelves down the stairs of this house and into the basement, and start emptying boxes.

If I have any energy left, it would be good if I could prime the mudroom ceiling tonight.

And perhaps Moxie will calve today!

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2 Responses to My Dear Sword of Damocles

  1. Elaine Murphy says:

    Have the inspections been done on the electrical and plumbing? In NH and ME we cannot move in until you get an occupancy certificate.it’s too bad you couldn’t move in the apartment over the garage until everything is done. Murphy’s Law is always in play when everything comes down to the wire!

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      It would definitely be convenient to be able to move into the apartment! Unfortunately when I agreed to rent it back in March, I thought we would be able to start moving into the house June 15. If need be, we can camp out (with the dogs) at the cabin. I am trying to stay calm.

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