Sunday, January 1, 2012

What's been happening inside the house?

While the framing, windows and siding were being done on the outside of the house, internally we had professionals working on plumbing and electrical.  These tasks ordinarily wouldn't be of much interest to report - running pipes and wires isn't very exciting.  But our contractors managed to give me some material for this blog anyway.

The electrical wiring in the existing house was not safe when we first moved in.  There were exposed wires, old two-pronged outlets throughout the house, no grounded outlets and an inadequate electrical box to manage the power through the house.  Mark worked with our friend Micha, a licensed electrician, to get our electrical wiring up to date and safe.  When the time came to hire a company to add electricity to our addition, we were happy to use the company that Micha worked for, and he was happy to serve as the primary electrician for the job.

Micha's work brought him to our neighborhood often, so when Mark was on leave from his job to build the house, Micha often dropped by for a cup of coffee and a chat before he went off to his job for the day.  He's the kind of friend who has no qualms about heading straight to your fridge and checking out what's there.  We kept Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches on hand primarily for him.  For a few weeks and off and on throughout the next several months, he'd be installing wiring, fixtures and switches at our place.

I was assigned the task of selecting all of our light fixtures.  It was a big job.  I bought most of them at a lighting outlet store in Golden Valley.  The building was cylindrical with no internal walls and an all-glass exterior.  It was the perfect way to display hundreds of light fixtures and lamps.  I marveled at the number of choices as I circled around and around that little shop.

One fixture I found online was perfect for our breakfast nook.  I showed it to Mark, who promptly vetoed it.  Disappointed, I kept looking for something else.  But a few days later I looked at that fixture again and found that the price had dropped by $10.  I decided to take that as a sign that I should buy it anyway.  Until it was installed, Mark maintained that he didn't like it.  Once he saw it hung in our breakfast nook, he changed his mind.

Our plumber, Al, was a hardworking, meticulous German man who thought his work through carefully to ensure that the job was done right.  Some nights he would stay to 7:00 PM or even later to finish up a task he was working on.  A few times we had to kick him out so we could go to bed.

He did make one major mistake, which made for a big mess and a good story.  He was installing pipes in an upstairs bathroom.  To do this work, he had to walk or crawl around on the joists; the subfloor would be put down afterwards.  One afternoon, when Mark and I happened to be home, we heard a big commotion.  We ran to the bathroom on the main level and found Al standing like a cat, holding a glass shelf.  He had fallen through the ceiling and brought a lot of loose insulation with him.

We were shocked that Al survived this fall unhurt and even managed to land on his feet and catch our glass shelf on the way down.  Mark ordered me to go outside, since I was pregnant and shouldn't breathe in the insulation particles swirling around the room.  He did a quick cleanup of the mess while Al apologized repeatedly and told him that he always knew he would fall through a floor like that.  He was just glad it happened at a house with such nice people.

The hole in our bathroom ceiling was covered with a piece of plywood for about four years before Mark replaced the ceiling and walls in that room.  A part of me thinks Mark wanted to keep that piece of plywood there to keep the story alive.

1 comment:

  1. Love the keeps the memory of all of the work that you and Mark did alive!!

    Thanks for sharing.