Sunday, February 6, 2011

Float Like a Butterfly

I have just one piece of wall remaining to be pulled down, but it's a delicate section, with mortar all attached to the plumbing, and I've reached a point where my patience and good sense long since gone. I'll finish up tomorrow.

The people who put in this tile years ago were a pessimistic bunch. They obviously could see ahead to some horrible cataclysm, some disaster of biblical proportions, a nuclear event maybe, so they used all their skill to build a sanctuary that would survive any possible earthquake or hurricane or supernova, with tile walls about two inches thick and laced together with wire mesh. Yes, we will need a place to shower in the scorched post-apocalyptic world.

A friend suggested that I try a carbide blade for my reciprocating saw, but it was no use. So I went back to my same approach, using rotating sessions of sledge hammer and crowbar, getting those meager-sized pieces.

I guess I knew what I should do all along but was too stubborn to see it. Each minor success with my hammer/pull approach propelled me mindlessly forward. Way back in my mind, though, I could see it--I knew the wall would almost fall off by itself if not for the corners.

So I took my hammer and tap, tap, tap I punched down the entire corner of one wall, tapping until I broke through the wire mesh from top to bottom. It took a while, but I got my zen thing going and tapped to a song in my head. When it was done, I took the crowbar to the solid wall and crack, the pieces just fell off, some of them on their own. What had taken a couple hours before was done in a few minutes.

I think I know how a punched-out prize fighter feels. With nothing left you try the rope-a-dope, you buy some time and look for the other guy's weakness. Then you pull out the hammer.

Now I have about a thousand pounds of wall to bag up and carry downstairs and outside...

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