Archives » July 14th, 2003

July 14, 2003

Misadventures in Renovation

Okay, I promise I’ll get back to computers soon. This site isn’t called the Remodeling Vet, after all. But I write about what’s occupying my brain. And this work we’ve been doing at the house has put computers on the back burner for a while. So bear with me.

At least we’re finally done. Well, “done” is a very loose term. If you were to walk in our house and see the plywood floors in the living areas and nasty carpeting still in all the bedrooms, you’d hardly call it done. But our immediate goal has been achieved, so we’re able to take a breather. The living room and dining room carpets have both been torn up. The plywood floors have been cleaned, polished, and slathered with Kilz. And then the furniture was put back in place, the clutter was boxed up and shipped out, and everything was given a nice polish. That was our goal, and we reached it. It took a week of sleep deprivation to get there, but we have prevailed. Next comes the part where we save up money to put new flooring in.

The most adventurous part of the experience had to be Thursday afternoon. Our garage had slowly been filling up, since it was the dumping ground for two bathrooms worth of demolition by-products. Then we started tossing carpet into the garage, and things were reaching a breaking point. Our cars were in the driveway because there was too much trash in the garage. So when my brother-in-law came down on Thursday, we needed a plan. Renting a dumpster from the trash company was right out, because that would eat up most of our budget. Borrowing a pickup truck might work, but it would take ten or fifteen trips to the dump. So we rented a U-Haul. America’s moving company became our trash removal company, and one of their 17 foot trucks was quite ample to hold everything we needed to get rid of. So we went to town. We threw in bathtubs. We threw in cabinets. We threw in shower doors, drywall scraps and a nasty old couch from the backyard. We threw in bent bicycles and oily matresses that my old roomate had left behind. Rusty exercise equipment, an old tire, acres of cardboard, shattered tile, and ripped linoleum all went flying into the U-Haul. We filled it to the brim and capped it off with the carpet with a triumphant flourish. Slam went the back door, and the three of us were off to the dump in the late afternoon.

The dump is about twenty-five minutes from our house, so we had a nice jaunty ride, cruising around in the U-Haul. We got it to the dump and saw the sign advertising the hours of operation. 7:30-5:00. We looked at our watches. 5:30. Crap. I never knew there was a distinct feeling you could get from realizing that the U-Haul that’s due back in an hour and a half is still full of garbage with no way to empty it, but we felt it that day. We considered our options. The gate was still open, so we could drive right up the hill and dump it all anyway. That scenario would probably end with us in handcuffs, we supposed, so it was dismissed. There was a transfer station in Dayton, another fifteen minutes down the road, so what would it hurt to check that out? We set off back down the highway, hauling our fetid cargo further into the desert. Through Mound House, home of warehouses and whorehouses. Through Dayton, home of people who wish they could afford to live in Carson. Past Dayton, past the Smith’s supermarket, past the new Landmark Homes subdivisions, where the ground water is contaminated with every chemical known to Man, thanks to a century and a half of run-off from the Virginia City mines. Finally we reached the Sutro Transfer Station, where garbage is collected and hauled to the dump at marked-up prices. We looked at the sign. “Closed Thursdays and Fridays.” Crap!

After that our spirits really were at the bottom of the barrel. We drove through a nearby construction site, looking for a big enough dumpster. We thought about dropping everything off behind one of the half-finished houses and letting the construction crew sort it out in the morning. We even though about finding a nice illegal dump site situated somewhere amongst the sagebrush. But all of those plans came back to the aforementioned handcuff scenario, so we dismissed all of them. We finally decided to park the U-Haul somewhere in Carson and let a good night’s sleep sort everything out. Which is what we did, and which is why I was at the dump at 7:30 on Friday morning, by myself, tossing couches and carpeting and cabinets and rusty exercise equipment and oily mattresses and ripped linoleum and shattered tile into the morning air. U-Haul apparently was very understanding, since they didn’t charge us any late fees. Our little foray into Dayton was rather costly, though, at 59¢ per mile. But in the end everything worked out well. And really, isn’t that the moral of the story?

So anyway, the carpet’s gone, the floors are white, the furniture is back in place, and at my birthday party last night my well-intentioned mother-in-law got me a book all about how to raise your son to understand that a woman’s place is barefoot and in the kitchen. Gosh! What fun! (You’ll be hearing more about that book later, trust me. She thought she gave me a book; she really gave me fodder.) And what’s on the agenda for this week? Nothing. A good deal of concentrated, deliberate nothing. It should feel good.

And maybe I’ll be able to write about computers for a change!