Bruised Ribs, Learning the Hard Way

I have been in the construction business in some fashion for the past thirty years. You learn constantly in this business as things are always changing, new products, new methods and the school of hard knocks are a constant if you want to be successful.

After 30 years I am still being reminded I haven’t paid all my stupid tax yet. Recently, due to developments beyond our control we learned we would need to modify our home to accommodate the need to care for an aging parent. Part of this process involved removing a section of wall to create a new doorway in our home, built-in 1880. I say the age of the home because as materials and methods change so does a home’s construction, not to mention renovations and updates performed throughout the years. The wall in question was built by using planks that were oriented in a flat position, that is, the broad side of the plank created the surface in which the outer coatings of the wall were fastened. Added to both sides of the planks was something called lath, which are small strips of wood fastened horizontally with spaces left between them, then three coats of horse hair plaster are built up by applying it in layers, with the plaster reaching an average thickness of 3/4 of an inch to both sides of the wall. Then later renovations were done that placed 1/2 inch sheet rock, also called gypsum or blueboard, and was added to the existing walls and a skim coat of plaster over that, and finally sanded and painted.

I tell you all this because when you go to cut a doorway into a wall like this it is more practical to cut it into sections rather than just cut out the whole doorway at once, primarily because the piece to be removed will be extremely heavy. Well… I set to work outlining the opening in marker and deciding to make my first section to be removed the top section of the doorway, the piece consisted of about 32 inches across and I went from the top of the soon to be opening and cut downwards approximately 30 inches thereby giving me almost a perfect square to remove. I also cut hand holds into the wall in order for me to grasp the piece when I was ready to remove it.

After cutting through the wall on all four sides I grabbed the hand holds and planned on pulling it in towards me and lowering it gently to the floor on the same side of the wall from which I was working, however when I tried to pull the piece of wall towards me it would not come all the way, so instead I decided to push the wall back away from me to see if I could free it up that way. Imagine my chagrin when not only did the wall piece come free that way, it kept going and dragged my body up and part way over the remaining section of doorway that had yet to be cut and removed.

They say my ribs will heal in 4 to 6 weeks, I have no idea how long it will take for my pride to heal. All in all it could have been worse, I just hope there won’t be any more installments of stupid tax due anytime soon!



About JT

I am a happily married man with 6 children and have an autoimmune disease. I hope to share my story and explore others' stories and perhaps together both of our lives will be enhanced.
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6 Responses to Bruised Ribs, Learning the Hard Way

  1. JT – in situations like this usually the ego takes longer to heal – take care and here’s to a speedy recovery. Take Care!

  2. JB Maddawg says:

    You had me breaking out in a cold sweat the instant you mentioned lath. Wonder how many drill bits, sawzall blades and hole saw bits have burnt up due to plaster walls. Great story!

  3. Donald Miller says:

    Something like that can be very painful. Even breathing is painful. Hope that isn’t the case with you.

    WordPress is acting up. Either them or Google. Possibly both. I’ve clicked on the email a few times to grant you access to the site and it still hasn’t gone through.

    • JT says:

      Hi Donald, breathing is ok unless I am lying down, Many movements are hindered and with all that needs to be done I am afraid the healing process will take much longer as I am not resting as ordered 😦

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