Monday, November 3, 2008

Termites and Gopher Wood

Nothing—and I mean nothing can try the patience of a carpenter—or even a semi-carpenter—like termites and gopher wood. Some years ago we discovered dry rot in a window sill and decided to replace the window unit in its entirety. Well, guess what! Dry rot in a window is just the beginning of problems for a house. Three years and every wall in the house later, we had totally remodeled our home except for one room. We really had no idea what to expect when we started this project!

All the sheetrock that we took out of the ceilings and walls was considered half inch thick, but the same size sheet weighed much more than what we put back up. Something had changed since the original house was built in 1951. We discovered other changes when we tried to measure and replace studs and other pieces of wood. It seems a 2 x 4 is no longer truly 2 inches by 4 inches—if it ever was. That means that all measurements that we made were more like guestimations. That has been so much fun. And, of course, over the years the house has settled a bit here and there. Even after the floor was leveled from underneath, I still think we lean toward the lake.

We are down to the last few strokes on that last room this week. The new wooden walls are up and we no longer wobble when we walk after the varnish finally aired out of the house. The laminate floor is laid and the trim is almost finished except for the side where the door goes. A door! Sitting here shaking my head and wishing I had held out for a beaded curtain! Anyone who has ever put in a door—pre-hung or otherwise—needs a medal IF he or she has managed to put one in without shouting, using barnyard language, or otherwise threatening the carpenter’s helper. To top it off, the black and white termite we call a dog was in the house today. Fang put something on the chop saw table and knocked off the carpenter’s pencil. I don’t think it even hit the floor before that darned dog ate the thing! Tonight we informed the youngest son that he owed us 39 cents for a new pencil. He wanted us to put it on his tab. Figures!

We finally sawed off enough on the bottom of the door that a full grown possum could walk under it, so maybe tomorrow we can get the door up and the final trim put in place. But first we have to find a drill strong enough to drill into gopher wood. It could be oak. Or it could be bois d’arc. Whatever kind of wood is in the top of that door frame must have become petrified or something. We visited Sutherland’s this afternoon and the lady at the counter wanted to know why we even bothered to come over there since we NEVER buy anything under $5. But today we bought a couple of good drill bits in hopes of drilling holes in that door frame. Maybe we could put that black and white termite on a ladder and let him CHEW holes in the door frame!

Sitting here wondering if Sutherlands and Fang are going to be able to adjust to not needing each other. Hmm. Maybe we can start on landscaping…


Anonymous said...

As much as I helped with the house about how much I want to help with landscaping.

Carla said...

Congratulations on nearing the finish of this enormous project! Have you decided how you will celebrate?