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T-Minus 4 days and counting

September 25, 2006

Four days to complete this house.    As they said in Apollo 13, “Failure is NOT an option.”

It’s one thing to be your own general contractor, and just manage the schedule, the budget, and the subs.  It’s entirely another matter to try to do that, and be some of the sub contractors.   The amount of fill in, and finish work required was completely outside what I would have ever imagined when I started this project in earnest 20 odd months ago.  Were it not for some very special friends, my fiance’ and devoted family (soon to be in law), this project would have collapsed months ago.

 If you are doing the work, the impact on you physically, mentally, and emotionally is unprecedented in magnitude and duration.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but each thing I’ve worked on in the house, the tile, the electrical, the block, concrete forms,  by themselves are larger that any project I had previously tackled.  Placed sequentially, it becomes a demanding endurance event rivaled by something like the Idatrodt or the Iron man.   Physically, my joints hurt, I’m cramped from dehydration, and I’ve lost 15-20 lbs.   Emotionally, it’s been a roller coaster of hope, jubilation, anxiety, and fear.   Mentally, the wear is almost as discernible as the physical.   My short term memory is a mess.   Case in point:  Yesterday, I worked on tiling the master bath.  I had mixed a 5 gallon pail of thinset mortar, walked a short distance to wash off the drill and mixer, and by the time I returned the drill to the garage, I had not only forgotten the bucket of mortar, but what I was working on.  I wandered into the house, and had Leslie not asked me what I was doing, something else would have caught my eye and I would have begun working on that.  I now have to measure things 3 and 4 times because I can’t remember the time it takes to walk over to the saw from where I’m working.   I have to draw little diagrams and write down the measures.  I didn’t have to do this 2 months ago.  The effects seem cumulative.  

I wound up working on tile until about 4:30 am this morning, and then got up and back out to the site by 7:30 to meet the plumber and electrical inspector.   I had to dig a trench to connect the septic tank to the sewer pipe so the plumber could hook things up.   During the wee hours, somewhere around 3 am, I had left the diamond wet saw running.  The hum of the motor and the sound of the blade churning through the water bath began to sound like voices to me.  In fact, it sounded like a radio or TV left on in the next room.  I couldn’t make out words, but the mind recognized the sound as voices.  I turned off the saw, waited a bit and restarted it for the next cut.  While focused on cutting, the sounds were different, but if I left it running after a couple mins, that feeling of voices in the background returned.   It was quite an odd phenomena, and one that I associate with fatigue.  When I get time, I’ll have to read up on sleep deprivation, and the stages that a person progresses through.  Perhaps I’ll recognize a few.

Anyway, the end is in site.  

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2006 2:35 pm

    I think what you experienced was the left/right brain shift as one sde gets exhausted. Language is part of the brain that you were maxing out on the logic side. Since vocal communications brings in the creative side of the brain, the more musical aspects of spoken language come through the harmonics of the wet saw.

    Or maybe you are just in the early stages of Schizophrenia 🙂


  2. jge permalink
    September 28, 2006 1:42 am

    Yes, I think I heard the same music at the Holiday Inn Express at 4:00 am that Sunday night.

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