Thankful for Steve

Steve visited us again the week before Thanksgiving. He was actually here for two weeks, but he spent the first week cat sitting for us while Sam and I were in Houston for an early Thanksgiving.

We were greeted with beautiful sunny weather (albeit very cold) when we returned. It seemed like a good opportunity to get back to siding.

Steve and I set up a peeling station inside the apartment, which is now equipped with a wood stove! (Look how straight that chimney is!)

No one likes stripping in the cold! You have to wear the thinnest of gloves for the task, so it was nice to have a heat source while we stripped the plastic film off the panels. Again, there are no words to describe how terrible the film is. Steve was a bit slow on the first day, as most new peelers are, but by day two we got into a rhythm and doubled our productivity. I worked on the edges and intricate corners while Steve did the grunt work. By the end of the day, Steve had the mark of an experienced peeler- ruptured blisters!

We couldn’t slow down though. In addition to peeling, Steve and I punched the panels at the appropriate fastener locations and delivered the prepped panels to Sam and Carlos, our new helper. Sam and Carlos spent all day outside on the scissor lift. They installed panels so quickly that Steve and I could barely keep up. Even with layout measurements and window trims to slow them down, we couldn’t strip panels fast enough. The bottom row was complete in no time!

On day three, the finger tips wore out on yet another pair of gloves, and I too suffered from a bleeding blister. I had to take a quick break to dress my wound and find a fresh pair of gloves. By the time I put the bandaid on, Sam came in to alert us he was waiting for another panel!

Our hard work paid off! With four people, we installed panels faster than ever! We had three record-breaking days in a row and completed the entire West side!

All of us were ready to tire out some different body parts, so we turned our focus to the attic floor. We still had three bays (of seven) left to go, and the last bay was still in need of floor joists. We dusted off the nail guns, dug out the remaining Simpson brackets, cut a few boards, and hung the joists.

Finally, we could resume flooring. Douglas, the carpenter, returned for the completion of the project. The four of us divided tasks and had somewhat of an assembly line going.

Sam maintained his position as the main sawyer.

Douglas maintained his kneeling position, aligning the boards and tacking the ends down.

I held on to my screw gun.

The cats continued sniffing the pine boards and doing cat things.

And Steve helped everything run smoothly by carrying boards, measuring, and installing some missed screws.

This too, went so much faster with four people. Only once did Steve run into trouble extracting a bad screw. He tried to remove it with all sorts of tools- a driver, vice grips, you name it. The problem was resolved fifteen minutes later when I discovered the driver was not in “reverse”. We all had a good laugh and carried on.

We reached the end! The attic floor is complete!

Don’t mind the giant hole in the floor. That’s for another day.

After an exhausting and fun week with Steve, he went back to LA. It’s a good thing we got all that work done because the dry weather left too.

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