Drywall and Wiring: Two Firsts for a Learning Builder.

This is all too much. This is where it gets interesting.

I’ve been peeling back the layers of the onion ever since it started getting warm outside. Now the summer is over, and the temperatures are starting to get cool again. When I started building, I kept reminding myself that it was just a series of small steps. I didn’t have to build a house in a day – I just had to learn how to complete each step before moving on.

As the house gets closer to completion, it gets more difficult to view the project as a series of steps. As I get closer to completion, more unfinished details float to the surface. I am having difficulty focusing on one step at a time, and seeing all of the work that I have left is intimidating to say the absolute least.

I’m putting up drywall. We decided on drywall because it is cheap, easy, and I could get it right before installation – it’s one less thing to store in my parents’ house or on their land. I might have preferred to use reclaimed boards of some type, but the thought of where to put them until I install them seemed nightmarish.

I have leftover siding stacked in the driveway, and a stack of leftover foam board insulation in my van. I have a couch and an RV stove stashed in the basement. I am using an entire guestroom and walk-in closet as my eBay / Amazon selling headquarters. My van looks like an old beast in the driveway, and my new Ford Festiva is a dirty little unlocked presence in the cul-de-sac.

My folks live a very clean and organized existence. I invited myself back into their house and onto their land. So far I’ve been a tolerable tornado, but soon it will be time to show them the benefits of having me around and not just the costs. Along these lines, I owe them at least $200 worth of cereal. If you’re ever wondering who has some great parents, consider me. Throughout my life, they have made my weird existence possible many times. And they invite me along when they eat dinner at Perkins.

Back to the drywall. This is the first drywall I’ve ever hung. Before starting, I took a good look at the ceiling above the loft, and realized that I didn’t include any framing or blocking to anchor the drywall to where the roof meets the gable ends. No surprises there.

I did some quick reading, and found that I could install furring strips perpendicular to the rafters, and screw the drywall to that. To get the furring strips in place, I had to remove the insulation from the gable ends. It’s times like this that I wish I could borrow a brain without ADD.

The further I get into the project, the more ADD-rattled my head starts to feel. When I was building the subfloor, I had very little to distract me. Now I have a whole house worth of micro to-do lists. My brain is buzzing. Coffee and smuggled ADD meds can only keep me focused for so long every day. I also need to keep making money, which means time off to buy low and sell high. Sometimes I feel like I’m juggling jugglers.

I have about a quarter of the loft covered in drywall. It’s not a professional job, and I’ll leave it at that. It’ll be fine.

I didn’t “rough in” the electrical wiring, because I’ve never wired a thing in my life. I have a lot on my plate. While putting up the drywall, I realized it would probably be a good idea to figure out where some wires are going to run and where some lights are going to go. At the last minute, I made some decisions about that. I have the wiring for a few circuits in the loft running behind the drywall.

“There’s a first time for everything.” I have to keep reminding myself. Of course it’s hard. Every professional electrician and drywall hanger had to run their first wire and drive their first screw. It doesn’t have to be easy, but it has to be done. Now. I’m forging ahead.


Furring strips, because I forgot to put nailers at the gable ends. At least it’s easy to run wiring behind the furring strips…


First piece of drywall. Good enough!

th furring nightmare

This is what your furring strips look like when you’ve done too much acid.


th wiring

First time wiring a house. What can go wrong?


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