I had so hoped to have the kitchen wall completely removed and have a big taaaa daaaaa post today, but things don’t always work out the way I hope they will.
I had asked my brother to help me, but I had things I needed to do before we could get started, and so did he. So at 2:30-ish yesterday, he showed up at my house so that we could head to the ranch to pick up my sister’s truck that we needed to haul our supplies for this project. (The ranch is what we call my family’s 20-acre property on the Bosque River where my sister and brother-in-law have built a little cottage where they stay when they’re not traveling around the country for his work. There aren’t actually any cattle out there. Not yet, at least.)
That round trip took about an hour. When we got back to town, we headed to Home Depot to pick up all of our supplies. That took about another hour.
So we didn’t get back to the house to actually work until about 4:30. But of course, because of my Wonder Woman Syndrome, I was fully convinced that we could have that thing knocked out in about two hours, have some dinner, relax and bask in our victory, and then he’d be on his way home with the job completed.
Quite honestly, that probably could have happened were it not for all of these electrical wires going through this wall.
I have a fear of crawling around in my attic (or going in there at all), so I asked my sister if I could just kill the power to these wires, unhook everything, wrap the heck out of them, and then shove them into the attic and let Bill take care of them when they get back. She said that would be fine.
Sounds easy enough, right? Except…no. No, it isn’t.
I killed the power, and my brother and I spent about an hour getting everything unhooked, and wire nutting and wrapping all of the individual wires. (That took forever, because when you’re as paranoid of electricity as I am, you tend to use an excessive amount of electrical tape. As in, about 10 times the actual needed amount.)
Then came time to shove the wires into the ceiling. I could get it shoved up in there a few inches, but after that, it wouldn’t budge.
But I was determined that this was going to work, so y’all, I did what I never thought I would do. I borrowed a big flashlight from my neighbor, put on a dust mask, and crawled into my attic. The whole time I was gathering the mask, the flashlight, and the ladder, I was trying to give myself a little pep talk that sounded something like this, “Kristi, you can do this. Kristi, you can do this. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m about to do this. I don’t think I can do this. Kristi, you can do this. I can’t believe I’m about to do this,” and on and on.
Now I know that lots (probably most) of you are thinking, “What’s the big deal, Kristi?”
Well, I can’t explain why. It’s just one of my irrational fears. We all have them, and this is one of mine, kind of like crawling into the tiny crawl space under my house (which will NEVER happen, and you can count on that!!). It’s dark, and eerie, and I don’t know what’s in there. Plus it’s hot, and it makes me feel like the walls are closing in on me. Add to that that I have to be very careful and very intentional about where I step so I don’t fall through the ceiling, all while grabbing onto rafters to steady myself with one hand, holding a flashlight with the other, and crawling over the massive heating ducts that run almost the entire length of the attic space. It just all adds up to one of my biggest fears.
But again, I was feeling pretty determined, so I pushed those thoughts out of my head, put on my dust mask, turned on the flashlight, and headed up the ladder. Once I got completely into the attic, I just stood there, grasping onto a rafter, frozen. My legs felt like they weighted a thousand pounds, and I couldn’t lift them. So I stood there probably five minutes, just trying to breathe slowly and calm myself. It worked, and my legs finally started moving. I made my way to the other end of the attic towards what I thought was the kitchen.
It wasn’t the kitchen. Turns out I was above the living room. And there were two massive heating ducts stacked on top of each other blocking my way to the area I needed to be (which was more towards the cramped area where the rafters meet the side walls of the house).
So I made my way all the way back to see if I could find another route.
There was another route, alright. It was like a little tunnel that was created by the massive stacked heating ducts that ran almost the entire length of the attic from the attic entrance in our bedroom closet to the other end of the house where I needed to go.
I would have had to basically crawl (literally…crawl) through that little tunnel-like area, again only putting weight on the joists so I wouldn’t fall through the ceiling, over three smaller heating ducts, in order to get to the wires. If my floor plan is accurate (and I think it’s pretty darn close), that would be about 32 feet.
I know my limits. And when just getting into the attic was a big victory for me, I knew that crawling through that tunnel-like space would probably make me panic, and I would be intentionally coming through the ceiling just to get out of there. It just wasn’t going to happen.
So I got out and we formulated a Plan B.
Plan B was to unwrap everything we had spent an hour wrapping, cut the wires very short, and re-wrap everything so that only a little bit of wire had to be shoved up through the holes into the attic.
Not only did that just waste more time, but one of the wires again just wouldn’t go in far enough. It was sticking out from the hole about an inch, and no matter what I did, I just couldn’t get it in there any further.
So at that point, we were both pretty tired, and bit frustrated, and definitely not in the right frame of mind to actually build the header and remove that wall. So we called it a day and I headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant to get us some takeout. (Because Mexican food always makes things better, am I right?) It would have tasted even better had it been a victory meal after finishing that wall, but eating Mexican food in defeat is still pretty darn tasty.
Anyway, here’s how it looked after our frustrating day ended. The boards were removed from the other side. The wires were gone for the most part. And one tiny but incredibly infuriating inch of wire still poking out from the 2 x 4 at the top of that wall.
Oh a positive note, I love being in there and seeing all of that gorgeous sunlight streaming into my kitchen now. I have no power in there right now, and I took this very early this morning. But during the day, it’s so bright and amazing!!!
So today, it’s war. Again. And this time, we will have the victory.