Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fun With Home Repair

Since I was home sick yesterday, I got to experience first-hand what the contractors are doing in our apartment (and, by sound, what they’re doing to our downstairs neighbours’ apartment, too).

They were supposed to be there at 8:00 am and leave at 5:00 pm with a functioning bathroom (i.e. one in which we could use the toilet and shower) in their wake. They didn’t show until around 10:00, which was fine, as I was working through a fevered sleep and a half-bottle of bismuth at the time, but it was less convenient when I was still begging them to finish up at 6:30, before my colon exploded. There was a tense period where I thought I’d have to decide between getting an assfull of dirt and plaster dust, or trying to clean off the toilet seat and possibly re-plastering the walls with my own special brew, but I made it just in time.

The toilet and shower do work – although I immediately had to clean them, and the plastic sheeting draping them makes attempting to shower feel like being slowly laminated. The walls are… well, let’s just say they’re olde-timey. As in, the slats and horsehair plaster have been exposed, then most of the plaster disintegrated, leaving a frontier bathhouse sort of feel. On inspecting the condition of the plaster (look! It’s got hunks of actual horse hair in it!) and wood, I suspect they haven’t been touched since the building was built, sometime around 1900. Layer after layer of plaster and paint had just been slapped on top of them for the last hundred-odd years. No big surprise considering the shape we’ve found the rest of the place in.

While I don’t think horsehair plaster is as evil compared to sheetrock as this guy does, he’s got a point in that it’s incredibly messy. I doubt the contractors had much trouble removing ours, considering its deterioration, but the dust is pernicious. Even with plastic sheeting everywhere, we were hacking and sneezing all morning, and the cats, once roused from the protective flanks of their Mommy Who Would Defend Them From The Strange, Noisy Men, quickly became coated. That’s the most troubling part to me, so if you hear I’ve become rich after inventing a claw-proof filter mask for pets, you will know the inspiration. As it is, they won’t even stay out of the piles of debris when we try to isolate them. (“What’s this? Some kind of chemical-soaked rag? I must roll in it!”)

At any rate, with a much improved stomach and most of the dust hacked out, getting to work was actually something of a relief this morning, considering I have the detritus of sheetrocking to look forward to tonight.

Until I discovered they are doing construction on the office next to mine.

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First Nations said...

oh yes. horsehair plaster. 50% of every damn place i have ever lived has revealed geological epochs of that crap. i think it's halflife must have come up in 1985 cuz everywhere that had it, had it calving off the walls in huge kamikaze bergs. gaaah.

youare doing the right thing.
you are doing the smart thing.
actively cutting out the extraneous stressors in your life is sane. soldiering on selflessly until you collapse in the traces like a drayhorse (and the poor race foreward with pots and straight razors a la WWI berlin) is the very definition of
1. stupid
2. slavery
3. all of the above
hint: there is no wrong answer.
it took me five years of extremely expensive therapy to learn to do what you are doing instinctively.
so there.
please think about visiting the west coast sometime. we have a spare room and all. bring the mrs.

Da Nator said...

Aw, thanks FN. And really? Shucks, between you and Walnut, I'm setting up a regular tour of folks to leech off of -- I mean, visit on the West Coast. Maybe we can all take a road trip together down to SF and forcibly extract some of Jamie Hyneman's sperm for Mrs. Nator's WonderBaby! It could be fun!

claire said...

oh, god. what a nightmare. though, i have to say that i am infinitely jealous of you having your bathroom redone because i am in desperate need of the same thing.

and if they can get it done in 8 hours, i would pay them a skillion dollars.

BigAssBelle said...

yuck. i detest having working people in the home. so much trauma.

(1) heat & air guy turned into a bully, was going to carve up my wonderful matching deeply paneled hallway doors for an air return. only the appearance of a penis in the form of the husband prevented it, then a single firm "no" fixed it. i hate men sometimes.

(2) electrician & crew left with one of my antique purses and a beautiful filigree inlaid silver & turquoise lipstick case.

(3) plumber offered to swap plumbing services for pussy, taking off his shirt and flexing his (hairless, thin) chest.

(4) carpenter guy left with MY drill and circular saw.

(5) various crackheads have weed whacked an entire stand of lilies, a rose bush i grew from a stick, my whole cutting garden.

i feel for ya.