i want to be a general contractor in my third career

I had to do a lot of crappy work at the farm and around the house growing up.  I remember laying cement, hanging drywall, framing the garage, digging post holes, and all kinds of non-traditional childhood memories.  It totally sucked.  I hated it, and the only reason I did it was because it was punishment for all the misbehaving I was doing at the time.  I didn't get grounded, I got put to work.

Fast forward to now.  I have my own house and the weird thing is that working on it feels like the ultimate crafting project. It doesn't feel like work at all.  (It is, don't get me wrong. My muscles, lack of skin on my finger tips, and 3rd degree bruises on my legs testify this.)  I just love it.  I love it so much that I keep giving us progressively more difficult and crazy projects -- things that we never thought we would be comfortable doing ourselves.  At yet, here we are.  So over confident that we are probably going to do something wrong and burn our house down.  But whatev. It's fun.

So, I have been obsessing over the right path to take with our fireplace for months.  It's really out of place in the room now that the floors and paint have transformed the style.  And frankly, the genius who put in the top shelf was like... dang, these window seals are in my way.  Oh well, I'll just mount it at a severe angle.  Wow.

It wasn't in the original budget to redo it, so I wanted to keep it small and cosmetic.  Nothing fancy.  Then we got our tax refund and threw some money at it with the AMAZING 485 pound mantel that I posted about last time.  It arrived and we got so excited about installing it that we started logistically planning how it was supposed to fit up against the existing fireplace when we realized it couldn't.  So we (ill-planned) ripped out the brick on the face of the fireplace back to the wall.  Wait?  There was another fireplace behind it.  Weird.  The behind one is really cool.  But the demo left a gaping hole to the outside and now we have birds living in our chimney, our project has quickly spiraled out of control, and we have to call off intalling gas logs to pay for the masonry needed to line the firebox with firebrick and install a new damper and whatever we might need in regards to whatever a "flue" might mean.  And we have soot EVERYWHERE in the house.  It's in the cracks of the wood floor and constantly resettling places so no matter how much we mop and dust... the kids feet are black and they are jumping on the couch.  A bad combo.  Thank goodness these are our "potty training couches."  It might sound like this is a nightmare.  It isn't.  I kind of love the puzzle of figuring out how to fix things.  And like my favorite scrapbooking pages, they always start with some kind of mistake that I have to figure out how to improve on.  I know this fireplace is going to be the striking centerpiece to the room that it should be whenever I figure out what the heck we are going to do.  For now, I decided that as much as I love laying brickwork, we'll call in a pro for the firebox replacement.  It's hard, because I know how to do it and it's not that big of a deal.  But I keep thinking, if it's not sealed properly and we are having a nice Christmas fire and burn down the house... I'll probably feel pretty sheepish (among other strong emotions.)

On the upside, I got to pour the cement pad to mount the hearth on.  That was a blast.  And I feel like Rosie the Riveter.  I'm a rock star.


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