Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lift and tote

We had a dumpster party this weekend. If you haven't heard of a dumpster party, and there's absolutely no reason that you should have, it's where you have some friends over and fill up a dumpster.

I'd gone permit hunting the Monday before. In Washington, DC I'd be able to get some signs from the police to put on posts and trees saying "emergency no parking". Anyone who parked there could be ticketed or towed. No such luck in Baltimore, where even basic street cleaning is a luxury we don't have. No, you can have the police block the street off for you, or you can try your luck. It's advised you get three friends with vehicles to park there and you all clear out when the dumpster arrives. On Friday morning I had me, my car, and a lightly populated neighborhood on my side. And a little bit of me going up to people and saying "there's a dumpster coming. Could you park somewhere else?"

On Saturday Yummy and I got up and got on the job early. Two of the expected four friends who said they'd come showed up later. Technically, it was the friends that came and the family that bailed.

The demolished room upstairs and a pile of bags in the basement were full of plaster that had been knocked off of walls and ceilings. The bags were barely filled but weighed in the general neighborhood of 50 lbs each. Some more, some less. Then there was the wood panelling. It splintered nicely for easy moving and simple jamming into the carpet. Then there was the basement debris that Norman had collected. Yummy and I had sorted through that back in October or so and bagged up much of it. Those six bags made a huge difference to the basement and we were just getting started.

A guy I'm gonna call Metal Mike stopped by, grabbed some metal out of the dumpster and asked if we had any more. He went away with drop ceiling frames, pipes, aluminum siding, and a window air conditioner that was likely older than me and heavier, too. I've got his number so he can come back for new stuff and the bucket of metal I have at my house.

Since things were going so well, we started some new demolition. The living room ceiling came down. So did the upstairs hallway. Then all that had to be bagged and hauled out. And we had to clean up so that Yummy and I, who treat this place as our weekend house, could walk around freely. One cleans that level of debris with a snow shovel. And, you know, when carpet gets saturated with enough dust it becomes fairly easy to sweep. Like, with a broom. The dust is still there, but the pebbles and gravel go away.

Then we sat around in pain for awhile.

Sunday was slower. A few bags from Saturday night's clean up had to go out. And there was more in the basement to sort out. We found some lovely hardware for Yummy to clean up and reuse. Lots of tools. Some Christmas ornaments we plan to close up in walls just to freak someone out in a few decades. Paint and chemicals galore. We've got a wing dedicated to those now. They'll all be gone at the next city hazardous waste disposal day. Some wood and some concrete and a bit of sweeping and we've got ourselves a basement again!

We raked the street (no street cleaners, remember). We pulled weeds and picked up some garbage from the alley. We're going hard core on that in mid-April. The whole damn neighborhood!

Finally, we went back inside and started on the bathroom. The tin ceiling gets to stay, but the rest has to go. Wood paneling covers the upper half of the room while the lower half has textured cardboard covered with paint. And then plaster and lath under most of that. The lath is still in place, but the rest went in the dumpster. It wasn't easy. There's a toilet, bathtub, sink, and radiator that all had objections to us taking the moulding, covers, and plaster.

Next week we're going hard core on the electrical and plumbing!

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