Saturday, December 9, 2006

Could there be a Mike better than Mike Holmes?

My brother-in-law Mike is the handiest guy that I know. He has a huge air compressor in his rural garage, every power tool you can imagine, and he drives a pickup truck. He is also the quietest guy that I know. A man of few words, he works hard and gets the job done right. When he first met my sister back when I was in University, he was keen to make a good impression, and he moved me several times without complaint. Twenty years later, I know that I should not take advantage of his kindness, so I save him for when I really need him. So far, he has not been involved in the Money Pit, except for naming it that. He always teases me about giving up the carefree condo for this time waster we call home.

When we started this kitchen reno, I thought that if we got into a situation that we couldn't tackle ourselves, we'd just call our handyman Ben. When I did call him, I found out that he has gone to Spain for several months. So, we've been trying to do it on our own. But replacing the subfloor -- how the hell are we going to do that?? Even all the illustrated reno books from the library don't give me enough information to really handle this. Now that the insulating, electrical and plumbing roughins are done, we are eager to get the floor back in, ... but how? Alas, Mike to the rescue.

Mike worked a midnight shift at General Motors last night, where he is a Millwright. He finished work at 6:30 a.m., drove to his house to load up the truck and then drove the 1+ hours to our house. He arrived at 9 a.m. without sleeping. While he was here, he did not eat a bite nor drink even a drop of water. But he had his photo taken more than on his wedding day.

Mike cut 2x4s to reinforce the pieces of plywood subfloor that we had cut out to allow for insulating the crawlspace. Then he really impressed me by going UNDER the floor in the 22" crawlspace to secure the 2x4s in the inaccessible spots. We laid down some old bath mats and down he went. The photo above shows him lowering himself into that tiny space, while the one on the right shows him "in the hole". Now that is dedication. Just like Mike Holmes, my Mike likes to do it right, but he's much less self-righteous.

It wasn't enough for him to borrow a portable compressor, bring it here with a pneumatic stapler, a compound mitre saw, the coolest angle drill that I've ever seen, and many other cool tools. He also drove me to Home Hardware to buy the 5/8" plywood & 1/4" Luan sheets. There was a CRAZY amount of hammering to try to get the one big sheet of plywood to fit the tongue into the groove. Mike & Dan hammered the crap out of a few 2x4 pieces while I was jumping up and down on the adjacent sheet of plywood, trying to get the sheet to move even and 1/8 of an inch into the groove. Three tries and we did the best we could. (I should have bought the neighbours a chocolate factory. That box of chocolates seems insufficient now.) We secured it all down with dozens of #8 1-1/2 inch screws and then moved on to laying down the 1/4" smooth layer.

Mike didn't leave until 4 p.m. We now have a secure and level subfloor, plus he fixed our eavestrough! Renovating is full of highs and lows, and this day is certainly a high. Being able to walk on the floor again is a huge step forward. Mike, I love you. You have made my year. When I asked him how I could repay him, he said that this is the way it should be: people help each other out, but we are all too busy. So, I guess that I'll help him out by taking care of his two daughters. I look forward to taking them to the ROM and the Art Gallery, etc. But does that repay him for crawling under my kitchen floor and climbing on the roof of my house? Probably not, but it is a good start.

For more on the other Mike, read my post on the house that Mike Holmes built.

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