I am sitting in the bare bones computer room, blogging as a team of Haz-Mat specialists are tearing up the carpet in the dining room and hallway. They are removing the 1970's vintage vinyl flooring, which is impregnated with asbestos, in addition to being truly ugly. (By the way, I exercised great self-restraint this morning by NOT referring to them as the "Master-Abaters". Since they are all large dudes, wielding sharp implements, that was a wise choice on a number of levels.) While my beloved Spousal Unit is experiencing a fair degree of stress associated with having our relatively placid lives disrupted, I have found that the tempo is somewhat akin to life during deployment. Well, except for the rocket and mortar attacks, convoys, and helicopter flights, and mess hall food, and walking several hundred meters to the latrine and shower trailer...anyway, by comparison, this is a breeze! By the way, it's 8:30 p.m. in Baghdad, and it is still 100 degrees, while the temperature here is...65 degrees! Much more comfortable...My spousal unit and I decided about a year ago to have the 20-year old carpet replaced with hardwood floors pretty much throughout the house. We did a lot of research and discussion, and let the idea percolate for nine months...though I doubt that "gestation period" was conscious! After first deciding on bamboo, we finally settled on solid oak, and expanded the project to replacing all of the cheap, hollow-core interior doors and trim with solid hardwood versions, and scrapping the yellow formica kitchen countertop and chipped yellow sink for a nice Corian deck and heavy-duty stainless steel sink. Angie's List yielded a good contractor, the estimate was within our budget.
Once we got the schedules finalized, the odious task of moving most of our belongings from the house to the garage was next on the agenda. This is where being blessed by having some of the best friends/colleagues ever really saved our butts. Last Saturday, these valiant warriors of amateur furniture relocation showed up and we completed the mission by noon...Yep, three hours of hard work, followed by an hour of pizza and beer "after action review" yielded a cleared house. We owe them BIG TIME.
I purchased one of those inflatable queen-sized mattresses with the integrated electric pump, and we spent the rest of the weekend camping out in the empty house, watching TV, eating left-over pizza, and mentally getting ready for the actual kick-off this morning. Spousal Unit packed up the pups and headed out for a day-long exile, while I remain on-site to handle questions. So far, so good! Another friend will be hauling out the 15' trailer I rented from Ft Lewis Recreation Services this evening, which will be parked next to the house and serving as our residence for the next two weeks. Our general contractor just called to confirm he, and a gigunda trash dumpster, will be arriving sometime tomorrow, and the flooring subcontractor starts on Wednesday. If all goes according to plan (and doesn't it always?), we'll be ready to move all our stuff back in the house in 14 days, and resume life in a very different looking home.
I'll post a progress report mid-project, and a final report once everything is back to "new normal".
(Postscript: The asbestos abatement foreman just advised that there's hazmat vinyl under the newer vinyl in the kitchen...we thought that had been removed when the new stuff was installed...good thing they discovered that while the job is in progress, so it can be removed for just a relatively small added cost. Otherwise, the wood floor install would have come to a crashing halt day after tomorrow! Semper Gumby!)