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February 6, 2010
“You go, Gail!”


Gail installs the higher pieces of drywall any way she can

In our race to obtain an occupancy permit for our mountain home, we have recounted Russell’s progress building stairs – “two steps forward, one step back.”

At the same time, Gail has been making progress installing drywall – “slow and steady.”

Gail went up to the mountain from Wednesday through Friday, January 27-29. Her task was to install some of the larger pieces of drywall that need to go into the walls of the raised ceilings overhead. Fortunately our friend Dirk was there to help her lift some of the heavier pieces (when he wasn't doing his electrical work). During this trip, Gail was able to make progress in both the upstairs living room and the master bedroom.

    
Before and after: The upstairs living room

    
Before and after: The master bedroom

Gail did not have anyone’s help when she went back up a week later on Wednesday through Saturday, February 3-6. Nevertheless, she continued to cut and lift huge sheets of drywall into the walls of the raised ceilings by herself. After successfully fitting an almost full-sized sheet of drywall into the upstairs living room (a 4x8’ sheet of half-inch drywall weighs about 54 lbs.), she exclaimed out loud, “You go, Gail!”

         
Three views of Cameron's bedroom wall:
The original framing was done in August 2008;
The back wall was drywalled in July 2009;
The front wall was drywalled in February 2010


The upstairs living room:
The upper left sheet of drywall was so heavy, it ripped the screws out of the temporary support ledger. When Gail finally got it up and installed, she happily exclaimed, “You go, Gail!”

By the end of the second week, Gail had completed Cameron’s bedroom and the upstairs living room. But it was the non-drywalling events that were the most challenging.

During the week in January, Gail arrived to find a pile of acorns on the floor of the master bathroom. Her first fear was that rodents had invaded the house again. It was not until she went outside that Gail realized what had happened. A woodpecker had been storing nuts in the foam insulation between wall sections. Eight exterior walls had gaps stuffed with acorns.


Gail's January challenge: a pile of acorns on the master bathroom floor

    
An enterprising woodpecker had stuffed acorns into every conceivable gap in the wood. Gail had to pry all of them out, then fill the gaps with wire mesh.

The week in February presented an even greater challenge, when a strong rainstorm system passed through the area. During her first night alone, Gail was treated to downpours accompanied by howling winds. The wind was the strongest she had ever experienced, and she was convinced that one of the sliding glass doors was going to buckle. Everything held, though the entire house shook all night.

Unfortunately, Gail discovered more water leaks in the master bedroom and Joss’ bedroom. During breaks in the storm, she spent hours putting bitumen and trim wood on the exterior walls, then caulking and painting the interior walls. By the end of the week, Gail figured that she had plugged 90 percent of the remaining leaks.


Gail's February challenge: continued water damage from leaks in the exterior walls

    
Gail worked outside installing bitumen and trimwood in the wall gaps, until the wind and rain prevented her from doing any more

The leaks will need to be addressed long-term before Gail can complete drywalling in the two bedrooms. Unfortunately, the only way to know if there is still a leak is for it to rain. And when it rains, it’s too inclement to fix the leaks outside and too wet to caulk the leaks inside.

Gail figures that she will be spending a lot of time up on the mountain over the next several months.


Gail's “drywall bone yard” of leftover scraps. Time to go buy more drywall!

 

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