Sunday, March 4, 2012

We have walls!

Our second floor linen closet, lounge room and a peek into the baby's room prior to the installation of drywall.
A view of our kitchen and breakfast nook from the dining room, with sheetrock installed.

The sheetrock was installed in our kitchen, dining room and throughout our upper level by Juan, who had worked with our electrician friend, and some of his friends.  This contractor landed on our list of those we do not recommend.  The nicest thing I can say about them is that they were inexpensive.  We learned the hard way that generally it's worth the money to hire a contractor who is known for dependability, communication and attention to detail.

Mark had to finish the framing of our pantry, master bedroom closet and other places before we could have the sheetrock installed.  We had planned to have our contractor work the weekend of Thanksgiving, while we were visiting my parents, so we could avoid the dust.  Unfortunately, the pieces that Mark needed to finish before we headed to my hometown of Pierre didn't get done.  He notified Juan that we'd have to push the project out another couple weeks.

Because Juan did this work with some friends as a side business, he found it more challenging to line up enough help to work on the project on the weekend that we were ready for him.  On that Saturday, they arrived later than we were expecting and left earlier.  They returned the next day, but again, it was later than we'd hoped and fewer people were able to work.  The house was a dusty mess.  We weren't happy.

This task was taking longer than we had hoped, which started to cause me and my eight-months-pregnant belly some serious stress.  My goal was to have a functional kitchen before we brought home our newborn.  For that to happen, the sheetrock needed to be installed and painted; and hardwood floors, cabinets, countertops and appliances all needed to be installed.  I was beginning to lose hope that any of these projects would be completed, much less all of them.

After the sheetrock was installed,  the equally-messy job of mudding and sanding began.  Juan and his buddies came over on a couple of weeknights and again on the weekend.  The compound had to dry, then be sanded, then another layer had to be applied and sanded.

On that Saturday, Mark and I made plans to be out of the house for the full day to avoid the dust.  But first our contractor needed to arrive.  We waited, called Juan, waited some more, called again, saw a car pull up, then saw it leave again.  It was Noon.  I was furious.  We called again and finally Juan arrived, alone, at 3 PM to work.  I was still furious.

Once the sheetrock was installed, I called in reinforcements to help with painting.  We owe a huge debt to my Uncle Mark and Aunt Kathy and cousins Emily and Katie for painting the main level of the house and to my mom and sister for traveling here from South Dakota to  paint the upstairs.  Because I was pregnant, I didn't want to be exposed to paint fumes, so I babysat Emily's son Adam and stayed out of the house.  We couldn't have done it without all of you!  Thank you so much!

My Aunt Kathy and cousin Emily putting primer on the walls in the kitchen.

My mom painting our baby's room green, the safe color we chose because we didn't know the baby's gender. 
My cousin Katie painting walls in the master bedroom. 
My sister Elizabeth working on walls in the master bedroom.

Uncle Mark working in the dining room.

When the painting was completed, Mark was able to begin installing the hardwood flooring in the new dining room and kitchen areas.  Two projects down, four to go before our baby was born.  Would it happen?