2016-02-29

An Inspector Walks Into a Bar

...And refuses to sign off on such a safety hazard, forcing the owner to redesign his plumbing.

While that joke doesn't have anything to do with my work (I hope!), there is an old joke about a scientist and an artist that actually does:

A beautiful woman stands at the end of a long room. However, the only way to reach her is by travelling half-distances, once per minute. The artist quickly crosses half the room; as he waits for the next minute, the scientist calls after him, "Hey, you can never actually touch her; why bother?" The artist calls back, "Ah, but eventually, I'll get close enough!"

That's basically what this week has been. I've gotten a lot done:

  • I put up the last of the fire blocks (horizontal wooden blocks inside the stud cavity, to slow possible fire), headers (at the top of the stud cavity, to attach the drywall to), and footers (at the bottom, for drywall and/or to fill holes).
  • I finished installing the supports for the master bedroom/nook header, including nailing a bunch of heavy duty plates on, to keep it from slipping or shifting.
  • I replaced the upstairs entry light switch and moved the stair light switch to actually be next to the stairs (which is a lot bigger deal than it seems; it used to be underneath the stairs).
  • I even hired someone to cut all my hedges and haul away the trees and trash that I've built up over the last year or so (which may not have to do with construction, but it sure makes my wife happy!).

So much done... and yet, still so much to do. Sigh.

When I was replacing the wiring for the switches, I realized I still needed to replace the wiring for the deck floodlight... which I started, but didn't complete because I need two right-angle conduits. I also noticed that I hadn't put in trim over the three big windows, which means climbing up and down ladders - today's project. I forgot to install the plugs on the plumbing for the master bathroom (the master bathroom is the next project, which will happen concurrently with the kitchen), and will need to get those in place before testing anything. I still need to clean and caulk 3 out of 4 rooms, which is probably the highest priority at this point. Oh, and I need to move a bunch of boards out of the storage area, or they'll never leave, because once I put in the drywall, I won't actually be able to get them out.

When I started this project, I felt like the artist. I may never reach perfection, but hey, art is never finished, only abandoned; I didn't need perfect, just good enough. Ah, the hopeful optimism of inexperience. These days, I'm starting to feel more like the scientist. I run the math, and end up proving that I'm never actually going to be done. It's a little disheartening. Don't get me wrong; I'm not going to stop. That's not how I roll. I might get overloaded and stressed, but I always find a way around the problem. Eventually.

Which leads me back to the joke. Being me, I usually add a third character: an engineer. While the scientist and the artist are talking, the engineer casually strolls to the end of the room, takes the hand of the beautiful woman, and begins walking out. The other two  are outraged: "Hey, you broke the rules!"
The engineer shrugs. "What? Don't worry, I'll do the math later!"

I expect to call the inspector this week, even if I haven't finished everything. I'd rather have a list of things to fix than spend weeks obsessing over things that may not actually matter. Like the engineer in the joke... I'll do the math later.

(Rounding error jokes aside, I also have some pictures to add; I'll do that later this evening)

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