Drink More Coffee Grandma; Lessons In Remodeling

So.  It’s Monday morning and on today’s list of activities are:

1.  The plumber to replace the nearly collapsed tile sewer line.

2.  The HVAC/Electrician to finish rewiring and install the new furnace.

3.  The Carpenter to finish replacing half the master bath walls from the leaking shower tile enclosure.

4.  The Stone Masons to finish work on the retaining wall and flagstone patio and walkways.

Of those four items, the only work I had planned to do was the flagstone patio.  They have beautiful stone here and I love flagstone patios and walkways in a landscape.

The home I purchased was built in the 1940’s and before modern building codes.  It was right after the war and construction materials were still scarce here in the mountains.  When those scarcities were combined with the already deeply entrenched construction materials practice I have now labeled “Scavenger Materials Acquisition”, you’ll find some interesting things when you scratch the pretty patina of an old Santa Fe casita.

Like the coffee can heating ducts running deep in the crawl space.  Rusty Folgers and Maxwell House cans with both ends cut out and duct taped together.  That part of the crawl space was too shallow for either the inspector or me to travel when I did the inspection.  But my cave rat HVAC guy got back there when I had him here to start working on the electric wiring–a known replacement.  When he managed to wiggle himself over into the tight area of confined space, his laughter could be heard–was heard by me–through the pretty wood planked floors above.

“Yuk-yuk-yuk… Heee-haaa-yuk-yuk.  You won’t even believe what I found,” was an approximation of what I heard.

Then there was grunting and banging and clanging and then the sounds of him crawling back out and also the sounds of him dragging something.  I went to the front bedroom where the opening to the space is, and the first thing I saw was his sweaty,  dirt covered face poke out.  There was this huge shit-eating grin plastered on it.

“Wipe that fucking smile off your face, Brother.  I’ve learned that those smiles cost me money.”

Likewise, I’ve learned that here to Santa Fe we say “Brother” instead of ‘Dude”.

His grin widened enough to allow a cow patty to pass his lips and he said, he told me, “You, yuk-yuk-yuk, are NOT gonna believe this one.  Ha-ha-yuk, this one’s goin’ in my book, Brother.  Here.”

And here he passed me a rusty metal tube that turned into a rust, green, gray and red metal caterpillar of old coffee cans.  I pulled it out of the opening in four sections totaling maybe twenty feet in all.  “Fuck me running,” I said, and then I started laughing too.

“Looks like they had the whole family save coffee cans for a year for this one,” HVAC guy said.

Then there would be the actual foundation of the house.  The original structure sits upon a perimeter foundation and then piers and beams that form the aforementioned crawl space.  When you inspect the foundation, you will see several feet of rough-poured concrete, then several feet of stacked stones, then some poured concrete blocks called “prison blocks” (appropriately-named), then some more poured concrete and repeat.  It is as stable as if a continuous concrete pour, but maybe you can get my drift about Scavenger Materials Acquisition.

Whatever we can find to fit the gap in space and time.

Which reminds me of the 2012 Republican President-Vice President platform.  Except that the gaps are filled with scavenged lies and reality is an immaterial building product.  Hell, in today’s paper the Mallard Fillmore cartoon even retold the lie that claims President Obama said that small business owners didn’t build their own businesses.  That out-of-context fabrication is so fucking stupid to me that I still find it difficult to see why the righties keep at it.

I want to think that they are so desperate that this is all they have.  But my gut tells me that their base is so fucking bigoted and stupid that it plays straight with them.

Which brings up another point.  Whereinthefuck is the mainstream media on all of the lies and swip-swapping of Etch-A-Sketch moments by the R Boys?  Even AP news, likely the most dead-center of all mass media, reports Romney’s contradictory statements on consecutive days without comment.

While I think Walter Cronkite was a cranky old shitball, at least he would have asked what is up with this?  And of course Edward R. would have skewered all politicians for the state of their business.

Which reminds me of something else.  I had to climb on top of the house yesterday and I discovered that Honor the fucking cat has been using the gravel on the flat built-up roof as her litter box.  When I got down I started bitching and going on about the fucking cat to anyone who would listen.  I guess the Squirt had heard enough, so she said, my little puppy told me, “Hang on, Bwana Mooner.  Did you buy her any cat litter?”

“Uh, no,” my reply, “I didn’t even get her a cat box.”

Squirt giggled at me and said,”Scavenger Materials Acquisition, my ADHD-addled boss man.”

She was right and she is totally fucking adorable when she giggles.

Manana, y’all.

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4 Responses to “Drink More Coffee Grandma; Lessons In Remodeling”

  1. mel says:

    Whoa! Sounds like you have got your hands full! You have to love human creativity…coffee cans? For real? I mean, I guess its been working all this time, right? I was just saying the other day that I can’t wait to move. Then I read this. I thought for a moment, and then I remembered that we have agreed that my husband will be staying in the new house for a few weeks making it all nice before we actually move in. So he will have these problems, not me. Passing the buck.

    And you NEVER forget the kitty litter!

  2. Squatlo says:

    Okay, your new place sounds a lot like my old place. My EX (marks the spot) and I bought a pre-Civil War money-pit about thirty years ago, thinking that I would be able to fix up most of the minor shit that was falling apart. Probably a lousy plan from the jump, since I’m least handy person on the planet. But even more lousy was the fact that whatever I COULD fix was built on a foundation so poor it was a futile endeavour.

    The house didn’t have a foundation, actually. It was just stacks of rocks holding up the frame of the place, just high enough for feral cats to play under at night. The electrical wiring was a hodge-podge of add-ons and Oh-why-not splice jobs, the insulation was non-existent, and the plumbing… well, the plumbing was done by a sadistic sumbitch who knew some poor over-matched bastard like me would have to dig it all up and redo it someday, and he’d be sitting with the Hooey Gods watching that happen.

    It was like trying to bail out the ocean with a colander. You couldn’t fix one thing without three more things falling down around the fixed one. I don’t even want to think about the roof troubles we went through.

    Good luck, Brother Mooner. You’ll need it.

  3. Squatlo says:

    One great substitute for kitty litter is a Doberman. Just sayin’…

  4. Mel. That’s what I’m doing here now–getting things ready for habitation. I am both buck passer and the passee. As for the litter business, Honor has a huge garden to use back to Austin and I, a first time title holder of a fucking cat , have never bought cat litter in my life.

    I’m starting to think that Squat has the right idea.

    Squat. Thanks for the encouraging words. I can always count on you to see things as far worse that at present. Maybe I’ll Photoshop pics of you with one of the high school cheerleaders you photograph and send them to Mz. Dangerous. Fuck you.

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