A day in the life of an inexpert rehabber

Our story so far: We built walls and hired a plumber as we made progress renovating a 126-year-old Methodist church into our home.

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Chapter 17

How does a member of the construction crew who doesn’t know anything about construction contribute during a renovation project of this magnitude?

Three ways: Odd jobs, errands and laundry.

Laundry probably doesn’t need much explanation. The clothes we wore were often dusty and sweaty by the end of a day, and someone had to wash them. That someone was me.

As for an odd job, I was uniquely suited to measure for the faux beam order Tyler wanted to place. Uniquely suited because I still had my own, natural-born knees and was light enough to climb the scaffolding in the great room.

scaffolding high
The scaffolding looked a lot more appealing from the bottom, I’m not gonna lie.

Fifteen feet off the ground I realized I’d forgotten the tape measure. I was seated on the platform, sweating and nauseated, and now I had to put my hands in the air to catch a moving tape measure.

I did not catch it. Tyler had good enough aim to land it on the platform. But I still had to measure for the beams. Above. My. Head.

Let’ just say we got the measurements down to the foot, not the inch. And I got back on the ground in one piece.

Odd jobs also included communications. Print this quote. Find this business card. Track down this phone number. Respond to the salesman working up a quote about his proposed shower base color.

Also, opening mail. Nearly every day, some guy from FedEx, UPS or USPS stopped by with a package, which would have to be opened to determine the contents and then, if required urgently, delivered to the church. And someone had to crush cardboard boxes (or they’d never all fit in the recycling bin).

One day, the guy from Brown left an enormous box on our front step. By the time I got the door open, Brown was already in his truck.

“Hey, the box is open!”

“You can accept or reject. What do you want to do?”

“Um, I’m pretty sure these are one-of-a-kind leaded glass windows. They’re fragile.”

“Accept or reject? The box opened when I picked it up.”

“Did you drop it?”

“Accept or reject, that’s all I can do.”

“I guess I’ll have to see when I open them.”

Brown drove off.

Disgusted, I carefully dragged the enormous package into the rental house, and called Tyler to inform him.

“Well, open them to find out if they’re broken.”

damaged leaded glass
The box was labeled fragile but it should have been labeled “one-of-a-kind leaded glass windows inside–do not drop, ram, tip or stack haphazardly.” We paid $118 for shipping what was essentially decorative trash when we received it.

Twenty minutes and five layers of cardboard, plastic, foam, bubble wrap and tape later, I still couldn’t get a good enough look at the windows Tyler had found on Craig’s List to determine if they were broken. (Two days later, Tyler dove deeper and determined they were. One of a kind and broken.)

And errands. I got very good at errands. If I could work Starbucks into the route, I did it. Drop off another load of scrap metal? Yes. Find a glass retailer who could do replacement glass for the light fixtures? Sure, I’ll bring him the light fixtures to see if he could do it. Need some tile samples for the shower? Home Depot, here I come.

Meanwhile, Tyler was calling the HVAC guys to get an ETA (again), building walls for the refrigerator and the pot filler behind the stove, directing St. Johnny to pick up the yard, burning brush and checking over the plumber’s work.

We made a good team.

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Chapter 18: We weren’t only building. We were buying, too. Read it here.

3 thoughts on “A day in the life of an inexpert rehabber

    • Oh, that’s a story. They were insured, but right now, Brown is insisting on taking back the windows in order to pay the insurance (to throw them away, I guess??). We want the insurance money to repair them. Stay tuned to see how it plays out.


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