Deconstruction, House and Acreage Restoration

Mother’s Day


This was not a typical mother’s day for the Pedersen’s. The day started off a little chilly, but hopes were high. Maybe…just maybe…we thought….we’d get all the rooms gutted and the the false ceiling out. Then we’d just be left with some odds and ends….walls to tear down and the lathe and plaster ceiling.

I wasn’t all too excited to return to my lathe project. The kitchen needed to be de-lathed. I worked on lathe (and cellulose) for ten hours on Saturday. I just wanted to plow through it and get it over with. However, my hands disagreed with this concept. While I slept good and hard on Friday, Saturday night was not so pleasant. My hands ached and ballooned.  Throughout the night, I would wake up with my hands forming a tight ball, a clenched fist, if you will. I would painfully pull my fingers apart and try to keep my fingers straight by holding my hand or putting my knee, or leg, or pillow, or something ontop of my hand. But, eventually, the pain would subside, I’d fall back asleep and the whole process would repeat. Muscle cramping…a clenched fist…writhing pain. I don’t know how the fella slept through it all-I guess if there was a natural disaster I’d have to wake him. Still today (Monday) I can’t fit my rings over my swollen fingers. I no longer have lovely, delicate piano hands. But I imagine they’ll return once I’m done with the lathe process.

Tyler says my hands are unaccustomed to the vibration of using tools and so I’m dealing with beginners’ carpentry problems. Apparently. So, no rings for this gal until my hands return to normal. I imagine they are just gonna balloon every time I think about lathe.

The mother’s day demolition was suppose to go smoothly. We’d already been through enough troubles with the addition of removing lathe and plaster AND drywall. And once we had the main part of the house (from 1900) almost demolished, Tyler’s thoughts were that the little addition with the mudroom and bathroom would go pretty smoothly. It was added years later, so we wouldn’t likely have to deal with lathe and plaster.

Umm…he was partially right with his guess.

That damn little addition ended up being the WORST part of the entire house to tear apart. When we started in on that room (early afternoon) I pulled out some newspaper that was stuffed below the windows. November 6, 1967. So, we could verify the edition did not exist before November 6, 1967 (or was at least in the process of being constructed during that year).

So lathe wasn’t used at that time. But do you know what was used? Blue board. Blue board and plaster. Ironically the Landlord had just explained what blue board was the previous evening when I was getting the lowdown on how lathe and plaster functioned. Blue board is a type of heavy, blue board (naturally) that is used to frame the walls. Plaster is added on top of blue board. It is the best way to get smooth walls. This board is EXTREMELY heavy. Because the plaster doesn’t break off of the board, you have to remove the blue board/plaster combo simultaneously. And, furthermore, the corners where the boards are connected are connected by these metal dohickeys that are nailed with dozens of nails.

Even my gorilla-warrior husband was struggling to get the walls down. It took HOURS and HOURS. It took the WHOLE DAY.

The ceiling was such a bear (trying to sledge hammer in an upwards motion is not really effective-I think it has something to do with physics), that he climbed into the rafters and removed the ceiling from the top. Don’t worry, I got this on tape!

Amendment: I have just been informed that Youtube has blocked the audio. Apparently, because I had the radio on in the background and a song by Journey was playing while I filmed this, the video is automatically muted. So, you can’t hear the clever and witty conversation between the two of us while he is jumping up into the ceiling. You also miss the incredibly loud hammering, coughing and generally construction noises that help explain how much effort is involved in the removal of the ceiling. If you ask nicely, I will show you the video on my computer/ipad or iPhone sometime so you can hear the witty banter. Had I realized that youtube would censor my video because of the radio, I would have just turned off the radio. (No offense to Journey or any other musicians trying to claim copyright on video posted on youtube-I wasn’t aware this was a “thing” as I was trying to tape what Tyler did and said and not what was on the radio in the background).

So, we moved onward thusly. Slowly. Very, very, very slowly. With my sausage hands and the blue board plaster walls and the lathe and the cellulose….I almost felt as if we were deconstructing the house under water.

But once the addition was done, the false ceiling beams came out. Thankfully, that was successful and didn’t involved any surprises.

And then, we just completely ran out of steam. I decided to try aspirin last night. That was a good call.


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