Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Rehab Moment
Annette Bergman


Working on this final rehab house has me thinking about a time during my childhood when my Grandpa and my Dad was building a house for our family on Tybee Island.  My Dad and Grandpa started the house in 1948.  I remember this only because my mother was pregnant at the time and by the time my brother was born in May of 1949 the house was finished.

My Dad and Grandpa would kid one another about what size putty they needed to make a fresh cut of wood fit.  My Grandpa said he had quarter inch putty, half inch putty and three quarter inch putty.

My carpenter on this final rehab job has used seven cases, (make that eight cases) of caulk.  Each case has twelve tubes of caulk in it and I have to believe that caulk has replaced putty to fill the gaps from the miss-measured boards.

This carpenter wouldn’t use three quarter inch caulk; he wouldn’t use half inch caulk or even quarter inch caulk.  His measurements are very accurate and he works like his butt is on fire.  He goes constantly and the smallest crack has to be filled with caulk.  He has caulked over fresh paint, put caulk in every crack he has come across. I’m get nervous when he has caulk gun in his hand.

Every time I turn around he is caulking a tiny crack and I’m wondering if the house it nailed together or just caulked. He was always saying a little caulk works miracles and it can make this place look like a million dollars.

Today I asked him if he was sure the hot water heater was bad. “I’m sure that it is,” was his reply.

So I bought a new hot water heater and he and the electrician thought they could save me some money by installing it for me instead of me calling a plumber.  We have been working on this house for two months without water and I was sure today would be the day that the cool, cool water would flow.

I was ready to leave and my daughter called out, “Mom, George wants to know if you could come and take a look at this water heater before you leave.”

I went back in the house and down in the basement.  The electrician and George had the old water heater in their grip and holding it horizontal.  The bottom and side of the water heater was crumbling from rust and had disintegrated about fourteen to eighteen inches up one side of the water heater.  I looked at George and said, “Just put some caulk in it.”

Now there is a third way to fill holes and cracks and that is with a product called Dap.  My friend, I’ll call him Sam, could use less Dap and make the whole house look like a million dollars on a fraction of product.  You can paint over it and it doesn’t show.  The caulk dries and it can’t be sanded. I’ve never liked caulk and I dislike it even more now.

Since I’ve given up rehabbing homes I’ll be working on my latest novel, “What I know about Sam.”  Not his real name, Sam stands for Super Attractive Man, and he increased our homes value by eleven percent with his perfection work. You going to  enjoy, "What I know about Sam."

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