Monday, June 29, 2015

Let's tear up the only room we have fixed and 1st grade test results...

Last week I posted a picture of my "new" kitchen. Apparently, it looked way too normal and functional for us,  so we started messing it up.   

The kitchen has a dropped ceiling, we assumed plumbing pipes were hiding in there, we just didn't know where they went to, half bath?  upstairs bath?  upstairs kitchen?  We were somewhat reluctant to disturb this ceiling but it has to be done at some point.  If we had a dollar for every conversation about what to do in this room we would be able to buy a new appliance.  As I've mentioned before, this room is only a temporary kitchen, the new kitchen will be in the addition, but we will use this as a kitchen during construction.   Do we tear out all the plaster, put in drywall only to re-do the walls once we move the kitchen?  Do we leave this room as is until the kitchen is relocated?  We seem to change our mind about this every other day.  But for now we did agree that the ceiling needed to come down.  
a nice, smooth ceiling....hate to mess it up!
At first, it was easy.  Cutting out Sheetrock.....this won't take long!

Once the sheet rock was opened up you could see the old wallpaper that used to be on the walls. 
wallpaper above dropped ceiling
I remember this pattern, just can't remember who had it!

We did find that the dropped ceiling was hiding trim on the top of the cabinets.   Peter found a ladies shoe on top of the cabinet, it would be interesting to know how that got there. 

trim on the top of the cabinets is now visable

As we took the ceiling down we were perplexed.  There were only a couple of pipes in between the ceilings, why put in a dropped ceiling for that?   It is not like they were opposed to having pipes on the outside of the walls,  the kitchen and living room both had pipes running on the interior of the room.   We thought maybe the plaster was too difficult to repair?

the beautiful plaster hiding behind the sheetrock
dropped ceiling is removed

We quickly learned why they had gone to all the trouble to install a dropped ceiling.  Basically, because anything would have been easier than taking down that plaster.   It probably would have been easier to tear the room off of the back of the house and rebuild.  
The plaster repairs in this house were obviously done by someone who hates people.   They install heavy duty wire mesh, not chicken wire or something you can easily snip through, but heavy duty wire on top of the wooden lath.  Then, they spread their "plaster" mixture which is basically just concrete.  Concrete that you could take outside and use for a patio, or as footers for a new building.  You can swing a hammer with all your might and it just bounces off, shock waves reverberate down your arms, through your body, to your toes.  It is a beast. 

wire mesh underneath the
Peter came up with a method that worked but it still wasn't easy.  Using a crow bar and hammer you wedge it between the wire mesh and lath and start pulling down a large section. Then start snipping the mesh with wire cutters and cut out a whole section at a time.  You have to be careful to not cut too big of a section or it will pull you off the ladder once it breaks free.  We may or may not know this for a fact rather than pure speculation. 

We weren't able to finish the room in one day but we made good progress.  Peter is good about getting the work area cleaned up before leaving.  I'm more inclined to climb off of the ladder and walk straight to the car.   But it is nicer when at the end of the day you leave the project looking like this.  
after a full day working on the ceiling

Thanks to Peter the floor isn't covered in rubble when we leave!

the kids, relaxing and snacking while we slave away in the next room...

My back decided it had had enough and went on strike.  I spent several days looking like Quasimodo as I struggled to move from the couch to the kitchen.  Ever try to cook with your head laying down on the counter?  It is challenging.  Fortunately, my kids were as helpful as they could be and relatively sympathetic, even when it took eons to fix dinner.  My sister and mom came up for a day to help out. I was mostly walking upright by that time but they were able to help catch up on several days worth of chores. 

This was the first year Wythe had to be tested for school.  I was nervous because when you homeschool this is your test as well.   We've had our ups and downs this year, for sure!  This winter we never got into the rhythm I wanted, we struggled so much with the basic subjects that I felt we were missing out on the fun stuff.  I constantly alternated between feeling like we were way behind where I thought we should be, and remembering that part of the reason we homeschool is so that we can change our pace and customize the education for his particular needs at this time.  But, I was nervous, afraid that he would be one of the only children to completely fail the test and then we would be put on probation with the state and that would be extra pressure...etc., etc., etc.   But he was amazing.  He stayed focused and tried his best.  He struggled with the reading portion, as I knew he would, but he kept trying even though it is so hard for him.  He flew through the math portion, successfully completing problems he has never even encountered before.  I realized during the test that we need to fast forward through his math a bit, that some of the resistance I am getting must be because it is boring.  I was very pleased with how well he cooperated with the test and was even happier when we got his test results back.  Despite how hard it is for him, he still scored average for reading, slightly above average overall.  I was so happy for the progress we have made this year and I'm hoping that since things have started to click with him next year might be a little smoother for him. 

"I tried really hard!"

'til next time...

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