Went to the rental station in Arkansas City today. The owners greeted us with “Morning folks, how can I ruin your day today?” With an opening like that, I knew we were going to get along just fine.
We’d come for a little help on a home repair project. You see, way back when we first bought this place, it had a downstairs bathroom, and I use the term bathroom very loosely, that always had a drainage problem. And then finally a won’t drain problem. We have some root infiltration and some plumbing that does not always follow the golden rule of water goes down hill. I guess the obvious is not always obvious to some people. This includes plumbers, sadly.
I knew someday down the line I was going to have to get into the floor and fix things. Well, friends, that someday has arrived. The sheet rock boys have finished the living room and dining room. I need to get the mud room and kitchen re-wired and re-plumbed before they can come back for that.
The mud room contains all the plumbing for the house and needs to have the bathroom replaced, along with installing a tankless water heater, and a new gas furnace. It also has the circuit box for new wiring that we put in when we bought the place. It’s a busy room for something so small. Only 12’ by 14’ and when the bathroom is finally in, quite a bit smaller.
Since everybody was waiting on me, our trip to the rental guy was required. I have a lot of tools, in fact most of the tools to do all the work that this place needs. Really the only tool I don’t have for the coming job was the most important tool for getting the job done. A jackhammer. A turbo 60 electric jackhammer to be precise. 60 pounds of thrust and runs on 110 AC. What’s not to love? My wife, of course, had to mention that I was not a young man any more. Sweetie, why the buzz kill? I asked her if she was volunteering to jackhammer the floor since I was one step from the nursing home. No, of course not. OK, Mom always told me, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, so put a sock in it, ‘kay? It was share the buzz kill love on the trip to the rental guy’s place.
Picked up my new best friend and went home to re-arrange the house, so to speak. Now, when I war game out a project, I make sure to have plan A, B, C and the rest of the alphabet if necessary. No plan survives first contact with reality. The idea was to jackhammer out the cement where I know the plumbing to be and that was pretty clear, because of the new cement in the old floor. If things are going tough and I find my wife is right about me being an old feeble dude, I figured that I could at least get that done. This would be my provisional plan A. There where variations on how extensive or pitiful that plan played out, but that was my going in plan.
Got my new friend off the truck and into the house. Told the Mrs to plastic up the doorway so we were not chewing cement dust with our coffee. Got the bit installed and plugged in. Having run one of these beasts in my youth, I thoughtfully donned hearing protection and a dust mask. Horsed my new buddy into the destruction zone and let her rip. It went through the cement like, well, a jackhammer. In 2 minutes, my plan A was being revised to A+ with benefits. In 20 minutes I had the whole third of the mudroom busted up and I was still riding that bronc. I think I might have even growled a little. Running a jackhammer is a lot of dang fun.
On to the next cement victim. The utility shed had a crappy concrete floor and now that the building was gone, the floor needed to go, too. 20 minutes later, and I was getting a little tired, sure, but still had some fight left in me. In 30 minutes, I had run out of stuff to break and shut her down. I looked back over what I had accomplished and shouted to the house, “Honey, who’s an old man NOW, eh?”
So, we have to pick up all this rubble and maybe my wife will caution me with the I am not a young man thing and, nah, it never works that way when you want it to.
Mamma always told me I’d be bustin’ rocks if I didn’t mend my ways.