Monday, October 6, 2008

Renovation is not a dinner party

Chairman Mao famously said: Revolution is not a dinner party. Well last night during a candle-lit dinner party on upper Montrose, I proposed that we should make t-shirts of Chairman Mao holding a reciprocating saw with the tagline: Renovation is not a dinner party. Of course, we thought this was brilliant, but how many t-shirt wearing, renovating sinophiles are there, other than me, of course?

Well, cottage industry aside, it was time to get the floor out today. I was supposed to be off at the end of the week, but asked my kind boss this morning if I could switch with today so that I could help Dan (somebody has to remove the wiring), and my kind boss said yes! So I was free to make dozens of trips up and down the stairs with heavy loads of rubble to the almost full Rhino Bag decorating our front lawn.

After a few pilot drills, we realized that the two layers of subfloor were both 5/8" thick. Many of the screws would not come out or were hidden by tile grout. We had torn out our kitchen floor with relative ease just two years ago, so as always, I underestimated how difficult this would be. I guess that if I thought it would be hard, I wouldn't take it on. It's like some women with childbirth: they know it is going to be difficult, but they do it anyway. I guess the new bathroom is like my baby. I just hope that it doesn't take 9 months!

After several passes with the circular saw, and many hours later, we had an opening 16" across and about 24" long. It allowed us to see the ceiling below and the bulkhead in the kitchen, where all the plumbing passes. After about 30 minutes of gawking at the damage and admiring how strong and sturdy the existing floor is, we thought that we should leave it at that and let the plumber tell us if he needed more floor removed. It was time to walk up the street for a shower and to vote at the advance polls. I may be a sinophile, but I also enjoy the benefits of democracy, so it was my honour to exercise my civic duty.

I think that Chairman Mao would have been proud of my three days of hard labour. It has certainly reformed my thoughts about civil society, but I had the luxury of a hot shower at the end of the day, after a short march north, so it wasn't really that much of a revolution -- just the start of a long renovation.

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