I have made it known among my friends that I would more than welcome their help if they are ever willing and able to give it. So when my friend, Eric, reached out to me last minute to tell me he could make this trip, I was stoked! I scooped him up and we were on our way to tackle Mander.
We arrived and got straight to work! The thing that was at the tippy top of my list to get done was put the wall in. We have had unseasonably warm weather and I consider myself beyond lucky to even have the opportunity to still be working with glue this time of year. It needs to be at least 40 degrees for the glue to set so I knew this was my last opportunity to get that wall in place before the temps drop. We got started by taking the window out for safe keeping and Eric and I cleaned everything up.
My Dad and I were going to work on building the wall and preparing for the installation, so I needed to give Eric a time consuming task. Let it be known that Eric and I had discussed his skills and capabilities beforehand and he insists he is only good at doing simple, mindless work, so that is what I gave him. Therefore, I’m not a big meanie foreman when I put him in the bathroom to remove a million screws and aluminum trim.
While Eric was busy in the bathroom, my Dad and I built a plywood sandwich to slide behind the steel beam that ties the walls in. This also created framework for the new walls to screw into. The walls have long since pulled away so we needed to zip it all together again.
Then I used spray foam. So. Much. Spray. Foam. I had never used it before so I had no idea how far it expands. I just started squirting it in the holes I made in my styrofoam insulation. By the time I got to the third can, I began to realize that maybe I was going a bit overboard. I also realized that I was a mess. Luckily, I was wearing a face shield and clothes I didn’t care about because spray foam is FOR LYFE.
This is what it looked like the next day…..
Eric got to work on trimming away the excess foam and then drilling new holes in the steel beam so we could have more points to tie the walls in. I sure was glad he was able to drill those holes because that is something that would have been substantially harder for me. For as much as I like to be a strong, I can do it myself type gal, I think it’s fair to say that a lot of this kind of work is easier to do if you’re a person with bigger hands and a stronger build. Luckily, it doesn’t hurt my pride to ask for help or admit when someone could do a better job than me. It’s not my fault that I’m a mere 115 lbs soaking wet with hands that are made in proportion to my body!
I have a small chunk of ceiling that still needs to be finished off, so I worked a little on that. We cut and put some pieces together and I patched up a line of screw holes with eternabond to provide a better seal when we put the screws back in. That’s about all I got done because I really wanted to focus on the wall, since that was a bigger structural concern and I wanted to get my window back in place for the winter.
All the credit goes to my Dad for the existence of this wall piece. I was an extra set of hands when needed but this was better left to an experienced carpenter. The math part of cutting out the wall would have been beyond me because fractions alone, make my brain cramp. I can’t even imagine the frustration involved trying to add and subtract them. My Dad got the piece cut out, we checked it for fit, and we were both pleasantly surprised that it fit pretty damn well on the first try. Just needed to add some nailer strips and voila! A perfect Mander puzzle piece. I think it’s important to note that Mander is far from being level and true. So the fact that this was a fit on the first go is nothing short of a small miracle. Mad props to you Pops!
Since it was nearing the end of the day and the temps were dropping, we decided to wait until the next day to install it. As soon as it warmed up enough the next day, we started to apply that glue! This was another task that was extremely hard for my small hands so we all took turns applying it. It was validating to see that everyone had a hard time getting the glue to come out. The glue struggle is real.
With all the glue painfully squeezed out, we were ready to put the wall in place!
I ran around to the outside and starting putting in all the screws that were gonna help clamp the aluminum to the wall, while my Dad added actual clamps on the inside.
And with that, the mission was accomplished and it was time to head home! This trip was all about team work. More than once, I stopped what I was doing to look around and see Eric and my Dad focused and working hard on whatever they were doing. Everyone was contributing to the Mander dream and that had me feeling like a million bucks. There’s nothing more heart warming than feeling like the people you love have your back and will support you, even if you are doing something that seems a wee bit crazy. A big fat THANK YOU to Eric for lending me his hands and emotional support. It was more than awesome to be able to spend some time together and share this experience with my friend! If, by any chance, you would like to show your support, I started a gofundme! Please feel free to share and spread the word, as I can use all the help I can get. Let the love *Manderfest!
*This cheesy pun is completely credited to my great friend, Eric Sheehan, with the questionable sense of humor. I love him regardless.