grumpy about the construction project (it’s all coming now)

Monday morning came and I got to greet the carpentry crew for the first time since we got back from vacation. I missed these guys! Olivia Newton Dan-the-Man, Slammin’ Talon, and Erick the Boss. They were all here today, being easy-going and relaxed as they chugged along.

Today they worked on the roof lines to prepare for roof shingles and probably siding. It was all outside work. I think a lot of homeowners would have gotten to the end of the day today and thought, wtf did you three bozos do all day?? But Anthony and I admired their work for a long time as the sun went down. They did a bunch of trim and moulding work right under the roof eave. They also started putting in a false peaked roofline that masks the flatter shed dormer line of the actual roof, along the new edge of the extension. I had no idea that’s how it was done. I’ll try to find a photo to stick in here tomorrow. It’s very cool.

In my opinion and limited experience, this sort of work is painstaking and brain-draining. You can get to the end of the day and feel like you haven’t accomplished much. It takes time and care to do it well and to make it all fit. It looks like that’s what the Kurber crew is doing.

I also got to see first-hand some of the shop talk that goes down. Erick and I were chatting about some stupid question I had (I’m full of them), when Erick paused for a moment to direct Dan briskly: “Can you get the crown and a five-quarter on your horsies.”

Wow. Just… wow.

Anthony and I have formed a habit of collecting all our questions and thoughts weekly into an ad nauseum email that we send to Kristi-the-designer on Saturday or Sunday. These emails are full of garbage and redundancies, but they seem to have a positive psychological effect on me, so I subject Kristi to them without mercy.

Today she came over to touch base with me post-vacation and to go over my latest email laundry list. Some of it wasn’t as stupid as I anticipated, but mostly it was.

We stepped into the expanded future master bedroom. With the extension to the room, the existing ceiling light is practically abutting the new closet instead of sitting in the middle of the room. I asked Kristi, “will that light be moved?”

Kristi looked at me quietly for a two-second beat. “No,” she answered in a firm, but polite tone.


Of course it’s going to be moved, and it’ll be a proper electrical box to support a ceiling fan even if we don’t want the fan, because that’s what code requires and Kristi actually cares about compliance, and perhaps just as important, she bothers to explain it to me instead of thinking I’m a dumb ass housewife who doesn’t need to know those details.

It’s true. I’m not a dumb ass housewife. But I am saddled with a sorry level of building ignorance, compounded by a tiny bit of knowledge and DIY experience. I’m the classic 21st century American homeowner. I know just enough to ask a lot of questions, but not enough to avoid the inane ones. The good news is, Kristi-the-designer and Erick-the-boss seem to be tolerating me with some equanimity. Superficially, at least. I hope I’m not annoying them too much. Also I hope they give me photographs of construction that went on while I was away. (Kristi? Erick? I know you’re reading this. Please can I have photos? And can you please continue to be as nice to me in the next couple months as you have been so far? My kids are taking me over the edge, and I could use an extra lifeline.)

The next couple weeks should be fun. I think the new electrical main (upgrading to 200-amp service) will get done in the next couple days, depending on whether our utility company, WE Energies, comes through. It’s possible that I will have a serious gripe to air here about WE soon, but I want to get more details from Kristi first. Roof shingles are going on this week. Doors and windows are going in. Closets are being studded out. Electricity, plumbing, insulation, drywall, it’s all on in the next week. The tile guy who’s pouring our shower pan stops in tomorrow to interrogate me and make sure I’m capable of doing an adequate tile job.

The kitchen cabinets arrived tonight at about 7:00 pm, 37 cardboard boxes of varying sizes that are now filling our entire dining room. I don’t know when the cabinets will actually be installed, but having them in the house makes me feel like we’re ready to turn the corner from destruction to creation.

Two guys driving a massive truck carried the massive boxes into the house one at a time. The men were exhausted after a full day of emptying shit out of that truck in houses and apartments from Chicago to Milwaukee. We were their last stop, but still they did a careful and professional job. One of them bumped into dangling old electrical wires in armored cable, and it caused a spark. He squealed like a little girl and cursed creatively. Then he started apologizing to me profusely for the language, which made me laugh and laugh as I begged him to stop apologizing. No one should ever apologize to me about potty mouth, obviously. I was more worried about whether he received an electric shock. The other fellow, a little guy with a strong accent, paused after dropping off a box to ask me, “you look Hispanic?” Nah, I answered, half Korean, but I’ve been mistaken for latino my whole adult life. Close enough. It was all very friendly and a nice way to end the day, and it reminded me that a lot of people making shit wages are working hard every day in one way or another to create a dream home for me. I tipped those guys well. I know they can’t possible be paid a living wage.

For all my bitching and moaning, I am as blessed and spoiled as any person could possibly deserve to be on the entire planet Earth. And I surely don’t deserve it.

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