Those of you who have been reading "At Home...." for awhile will remember that we had a flood at the end of last August. I had been out of town and was driving home the day the Farmer called and said, "There was a horrendous storm last night. The electricity was out and the sheer amount of water overpowered the back up sump pump."
"Did you fire up the generator?" I asked.
"No, I slept through the whole thing." he answered
"OK, it was the storm of the century and you slept through it?"
"Yeah, well anyway the basement is flooded and I'm going to work. Just call somebody to come and clean it up when you get home."
"Okay. Un huh."
He figured there was nothing he could do and that I could simply call our friend who operates a disaster clean up business. Unfortunately there were thousands of other homeowners in the same spot and the waiting list was up to six months. Yeah, we're just going to let the water recede and watch everything turn into a giant science experiment.
It was after I returned home and determined that the cavalry wasn't going to come and help with the clean up that I had the first "we are capable" moment. I determined that the Farmer's Son and I could handle the job. Maybe.
First the remaining water was wet vacuumed out of the carpet. Then I called and arranged for the biggest dumpster available.
"It's as big as a BUS," the lady told me.
"Haven't you got anything larger?" I asked.
We removed the carpet, threw away everything that was damaged and demolished the drywall up to four feet above the floor.
We hired a designer. Isn't she cute? The Farmer's Daughter was hired on to design and manage the project. It only cost us the price of a college education. She's working it off one project at a time!
We used a heat gun to remove tile. It was tedious.
Not as tedious as what came next. I personally scraped an insane amount of carpet glue off the concrete floor. This involved chemicals and alot of back breaking boring work. I am patient. Remember the fishing lessons? Each three foot section contained at least 2 lbs. of carpet glue! The former owner must have gotten a deal on it and he went a little crazy.
We swept and scrubbed and disinfected and scrubbed some more. There was lots of plaster dust to contend with.
We know when we're not capable so we had someone update the lighting and hang the drywall.
The Farmer's Son replaced all the ceiling tiles.
We swept drywall dust for awhile and ordered 4,000 lbs. of porcelain tile. No more carpet down here!! No way, no how. The guy who delivered the tile promised that the garage floor would not crack under the weight.
At this point the project came to a standstill because we were getting quotes for the installation of the tile. The quotes were quite hefty, much more than the cost of all the tile. It was at this point that my sister and my best friend assured me that laying tile was not brain surgery and that we were capable of doing the job ourselves. Choose your friends wisely because they will lead you down some interesting paths.
But here's where the Peter Principle might come into the picture. If you're not aware, the Peter Principle basically says that you rise to your level of incompetence. In other words you'll continue to progress until you reach a level when you are incompetent. So my suggestion to you is, if you're feeling capable, take a walk around the block and the feeling will pass. Or in other words, when faced with a really large task, think twice.
We've started the tiling. It's possible as long as you have a working knowledge of geometry, know how to snap a chalk line and the isoceles triangle test to confirm the walls are square. You lay one tile, and the next. Every new tile adding to the foundation already set. This represents one evening and two afternoons of work. It also represents approximately 1/5 the of the tile to be laid.
Take a deep breath. Collect your thoughts, reaffirm your capabilities and dive back in. What else is there to do but continue?
Thanks for following us along on this project. Please, please let me know we're not in this alone. Surely there are others who felt themselves capable and got in deep.