Multi Tasking the Likes of Which I’ve Never Known

Written June 10, 2012

From this day forward I will never underestimate the skill of a general contractor. “Sure,” Joel and I said, “we’ll be our own GCs and manage this restoration process.” It started out with what I now know as relatively basic, i.e. we had to find and hire the talented contractors who would do the skilled labor involved. As time went on, things got a little more complicated and the learning curve steepened. We decided where to put air returns and heating ducts, plumbing pipes, and electrical wires, negotiating along the way as written about here. We had to learn how each specialty worked and what they each needed from the other. We stepped in to clean up messes to ensure that everyone could keep doing their work. And with each passing day, the scope of our job widens. I now spiral through task lists like this below within the course of one week, one day, and at times, one hour.

Check in with each contractor to get their upcoming schedule.

Make sure Doug is on track with the duct work so Jake can build a frame around it for drywalling.

Call the drywallers to see when they can start scraping ceilings.

Clean out the rooms needing scraping so nothing is in their way.

Clean up the latest mess in the kitchen so I can put a cutout of the island on the floor for Mike, the electrician, who needs to mount the wiring above it.

Bring home the latest pile of lath so Drew can have an awesome bonfire with his friends.

Answer the electricians’ question from two days ago about the color of switches we want. (We’re going with vintage dark brown.)

Email Rachel at the plumbing fixture store the pictures of the existing sinks for their new fixture needs.

Look into bark collars for Roxy for when our new neighbors are much closer so she doesn’t drive them all crazy.

Email Tony the kitchen cabinet builder answers to his latest design questions.

Oops…email Tony again and tell him the electrician needs the designs by Monday.

Remind the plumbers to take out the radon unit.

Ask really nicely if they can turn the water on in the cast iron sink so I can remove a decade of grime and determine if it needs to be reglazed.

Ask Jake the framer really nicely if he can reconfigure the chase in the pantry so I can still put a specific piece of furniture there.

Ask Jake really really nicely if he will close up a door that he opened and open a new one instead. Oops.

Make sure the claw tub is in place so Shawn the plumber can properly stub the drain for it.

Quick shop for fireplace sconces so Mike can know where to drill holes for their wiring.

Also quickly shop for hallway track lighting so Matt knows where to put its wiring.

Call Stucky’s to see if any of our kitchen appliances are on sale. Nope, not yet.

Take pictures and videos of the progress for posterity.

Pack a couple of boxes at the current house in prep for moving…someday.

Darn! Clean the current house for an unexpected showing to prospective buyers. (It’s still a contingent offer so technically still on the market.)

Get permission from the city to move a tree from our current yard to the tree lawn of the new yard.

Write a blog for the website.

Get Drew and Bryce to move out the last old toilets and break them up in the dumpster.

Shoot…call Earth First and get a new dumpster delivered.

Remove all of the modern doors from the upstairs bedrooms and carry them down to the garage.

Call Habitat ReStore to see if they want modern doors.

Ask Jake for the third time the name of his floor tile guy.

Meet with Ann to discuss wall colors for the first floor. Seriously? These walls will eventually be painted?

Find a time to floor shop with Ann since Steve says he can’t put new toilets in until new floors are installed. Yikes!

Determine if an ironing board cabinet can be mounted on the new chase in the laundry room. Tell Matt if we need an electrical unit for it or not.

Take pictures of all new activity and send to Joel in Tupelo or Minneapolis or Bryan, TX or ??? He doesn’t want to miss anything!

And so on. It’s a wild ride!

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Regina Leffers McCaleb, Ph.D.

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