Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beach Tale: “Then I’ll Do It Myself,” said the Little Red Hen

          You remember the children’s story, The Little Red Hen?  The one where the little red hen asks for assistance but the other barnyard animals don’t want to help?  And what does the hen reply when they refuse?  Come on, I know you know it.  Let’s say it together on three.  One, two, three…
          “’Then I’ll do it myself,’ said the little red hen.” 
          We recently took that mantra to heart.
          With the purchase of our new beach cottage came a two-story detached garage.  The upstairs had the walls framed out and one lone light bulb hanging from the rafters.  The income potential is there, the separate-space-for-the-boomerang-child potential is there, the “man-cave” potential is totally there (plenty of room for leather sectional group, large screen TV,  a pool table or a foosball table, all with access to a full kitchen for cold beer and nacho/chicken wing preparation, and full bathroom in the event a shower is needed…I’m talking man-cave on steroids here!)…we just needed to turn it into habitable condition. 
Having absolutely no home-building experience what-so-ever, our first thought was to turn the job over to a professional.  But the general contractor bids were waaayyy out there, like in the stratosphere, so we had to really think about it.  How much were we willing to spend?  Or would it remain a glorified attic? 
          I suppose by now you’ve figured out where this is going, right? 
          Then, someone (I don’t rightly remember if it was hubby or me) said,  “Let’s do it ourselves.”            Famous last words…
          We gave it long and hard thought.  We really did.  “How hard can it be?” we asked ourselves…and just about anyone one else who would listen.  Think about it…the structure itself exists complete with roof, walls and windows.  It just needed a little work done inside. 
          Okay.  A lot of work.
          But we could do it.
          So off hubby went to procure a builders permit.
          First step, water.  It was then we realized that the water supply stopped at the house.  Yeah, we’ve been home owners often enough to know how to fix a dripping faucet or plunge a clogged drain, but actually installing an entire water-related infrastructure was a bit outside our comfort zone.  Trenches would have to be dug, pipes laid, and the intricacies of providing a water and sewer grid throughout the entire apartment boggled my mind.  Yikes. 
          So with the ink still wet on the building permit, we decided to call in our first professional. 
          Things have been a crazy roller coaster ever since.  But I’m happy to report we are making progress. 
          This is where we started:

          This is where we are, three weeks (and $20,000) later. 

          Can you see the difference?  Not so much, I know.  But there are a LOT of pipes and wires and such.  All of which this will be hidden beneath puffy insulation. I just wish I could SEE more significant progress.
          Needless to say, through the process I’ve amassed plenty of blog-fodder and I plan to share the phases of construction and the lessons learned over the next few posts.  I don’t want to reveal too much, but suffice it to say I am becoming fluent in Construction-Speak, and new phrases have snuck into my lexicon, like “How much more?”  “Why can’t we do it my way?” and “It’s only money.”  So stay tuned!

1 comment:

Ann Yost said...

Very interesting and very funny -- maybe your detective could be involved with DIY home repair in your next book. I'd read it!