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the home stretch

Tilly says - 'red is best'

With a brief break in the weather (from rain and an actual tornado warning – seriously), we managed to get the closet doors outside and bust out the red paint (Behr – ‘Brick Red’).

Is there really anything better than that first brush of rich colour on a plain white surface?  Delicious.

And thank god we actually found the energy to prime them earlier in the week or there’s no way we would have had the time, or the weather, to finish them.

The weather still wasn’t great, and the wind blew a variety of foliage on the wet surfaces, which was totally annoying, but luckily nothing stuck too much.

So with that out the way, we were ready to commence with:

Learning to Cut Baseboards.

As previously noted, Tiff didn’t even own a level, much less a saw (or workhorses, hence being weather/picnic table dependent), so she called up her amazing friend Dave and asked to borrow his table saw as we were going to try and install baseboards.  Well, luckily Dave both a) knows we’re kind of idiots and b) ignored our saw request, and brought over his chop saw instead.  Oh, riiiiight…no one ever said this wasn’t all a little bit technical.

After asking us how we planned on nailing them to the wall (um, a hammer?), he just laughed and then went to get his air compressor and nail gun.  Oh wow.  So here we were with two pieces of scary equipment (well, to us) that we had no idea how to use.  I thought Tiff was savvy with a chop saw, and she thought I was.  Wrong on both counts.

But we also had other more immediate things to worry about.  We had decided to try and replace the light switch and the electrical outlets. They worked, but frankly, they were gross.

The light switch was pretty straightforward (I just had one panic call to Sam in Halifax to double check – well, more like ‘hey, miss you, love you…by the way, if you were going to change a light switch…’), but the electrical outlets looked crazy wrong, even to our amateur eyes:

Ignoring the spray foam fiesta (also wrong, being highly flammable), there was a proliferation of wires, the silver ones just didn’t look right, and the whole thing was basically just very confusing.  Unfortunately, as we had disconnected almost all the power in the house – being ultra respectful/afraid of electricity generally – we couldn’t even google the problem, which is our usual source for answers of the  ‘how to’ and ‘what the f is this?’ variety.  We were too afraid to turn the power back on, as who knew what might happen?  Well, probably nothing, but we weren’t 100% sure.

So, Dave’s arrival with saw and nail gun was ultra fortuitous as we could actually ask someone who knows things (Dave is a professional renovator/house flipper).  The metal wires (Dave informed us) are aluminum (though a lot of you probably already knew that), which are bad news (and a lot of you probably knew that too), though not on an epic scale.  As Dave talked, the hamster in the back of my brain (where all my inaccessible and incomprehensible knowledge is stored, like math and french, and how to fix a car or play piano), started to whirl around the wheel, and I remembered our home inspection and the existence of one aluminum wire in our fuse box.

‘Pigtailing!’ I exclaimed like a crazy person.  Obviously I only remember technical electrical terms when they seem mildly cute and even somewhat silly.  Basically (and anyone with any electrical knowledge, please look away now while I make an ass of myself trying to explain things I don’t truly understand), pigtailing involves joining copper wire to aluminum as aluminum wire is BAD (could burn the house down) and copper wire is GOOD (will not burn the house down).  That’s the gist anyway.

Dave called his electrician to get the official low-down and sent us off with a list of what to buy.  We rambled idiotically in the electrical isle of Home Depot before being condescended to (probably quite rightly) by Bob, the resident Depot expert, who thankfully gave up trying to ask us what exactly we needed and eventually just took the list and tossed some things in the cart.  He then sent us on our merry way, but not before making us promise that it wasn’t actually going to be us who would be doing anything electrical.  Who us?  Don’t be silly Bob!

So back at the house we left the electrical stuff for Dave’s return and focused on finally getting the baseboards done.  We found an outlet that hadn’t been switched off by safety Tiff, and with a deep breath, started to cut baseboards…

And you know what?  It’s actually pretty easy.  Easier, certainly than painting f-ing stripes, though the chance of losing a finger is, obviously, higher.  But what a sucker I was all this time leaving the power tool stuff (well, most of it) to Sam thinking it was harder than painting or drywalling.  Ha!  No wonder most men are obsessed with power tools – they’re fun and they often get you out of doing the shitty jobs.  A revelation.

So here’s some proof:

Please ignore hair (couldn’t find elastic band) and sunglasses (ditto to finding safety goggles).

And a very satisfying before and after:

Well, ok, taken at different times of day on different walls (we were busy), but you get the point.

This was even more dramatic:

We removed the old, and were told, useless phone box.  We also ended up disconnecting the phone.  Whoops.

But apart from that little mishap, I have to say that there is nothing like cutting baseboards, solving electrical issues, using a nail gun, and then taking a quick break to change a diaper to make you feel like a superwoman…

An epic day all round.


2 responses »

  1. You did an amazing job!!

  2. You guys are amazing to tackle what you did! And with Foreperson Tilly overseeing you both – I see a Butler nose there!


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