A Pile A Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

We’re plugging right along here. Life has developed a rhythm of sorts – it’s a bit wobbly, lurching even, but definitely a patterning of recognizable forward momentum. Because this project is so big, we can’t just do one thing at once – even if we try to. Fitz actually said to me the other day – in a moment in which we were both entirely overwhelmed: “If we just try to do a few things at once, this will go faster.”

The (latest) reason we’re overwhelmed is that, now that all the inspections are over, we have permission to do whatever we want – in whatever order we want. Prior to the rough inspections, we had a pretty clear path – demo it, build it, plumb it, wire it, prevent fire from attacking it, repeat. Now that the inspections are done, we can close up walls and finish entire rooms. The problem is we have WAY too much to do and it’s all around us all the time. Everywhere we look a huge project sits, just begging to be considered. But none of the projects at hand are the multitasking type. Even still, though, we are attempting Fitz’ “great idea” of several things at once. We make lists of big projects and small projects. Big projects are numbered and we agree on an order so neither of us (me) gets surprised by unexpected 7-day bouts of tiling. Small projects fill in the edges. If we’re waiting for paint to dry or we only have a half day or a contractor is working in the main space, we scurry around doing little projects – adding GFCI plugs into all zones within 6 feet of water, cleaning grout off the bathroom tiles, prepping trim for windows, adding a final strip of wallpaper in the kitchen.

My “small list” has 17 items on it – and that’s only what we could think of during one day’s lunch. The big list is capped at 4 items (there will be more): (1) men’s bathroom (includes wallpaper, tiling, all molding) (2) espresso bar walls (3) 2nd floor bathroom (includes windows and molding, tiling, painting) (4) kitchen and dish pen (includes tiling floors and walls).

So far we are 1/2 way through #1.

Also – who knew molding was such a thing to consider!

Anyway, so we aren’t opening Curio any time soon. That’s fine. It’s all just fine. Because this project is, despite what I may make it out to be, truly fun. And I am learning SO much.

Fitz and I celebrated our five year anniversary last weekend! After a brief check in over a whole wheat baguette and iced coffee at Rose 32 Bakery in Gilbertsville we determined we are all set for the next five. We’ll continue to reassess every five years so as not to be limited by the concept of “forever.” We reminisced about our favorite moments from the first five years, a highlight being – of course – the moment we identified this might go on for awhile. When Fitz asked me to be his special person, his exact words were “Will you be my special person for an indefinite amount of time – and then some?” My response: “Yes… But I don’t want to get married.” His response: (smiles) “I didn’t ask you to.” We were on the same page then – and the same page now. And that’s a beautiful thing for two people to find.

Speaking of not opening Curio, I’m sure glad we didn’t open Curio this month as THIS is what’s going on mere feet from our building:

Apparently Columbia Gas is moving their main gas line from Main Street to Amber Lane. The irony (which has NOT escaped us) is that we don’t have natural gas at our building – and they won’t give it to us because they are “at capacity.” There is a moratorium on new gas customers mandated for all of Western Massachusetts and, thus we suffer on with an electric furnace. Our walls are open… their trench is open… the two are begging to be together for an indefinite amount of time and then some… But, alas. Not this time around.

On the inside, it’s just as insane as ever.

In the spirit of closing walls, here is the first wall we closed at Amber Lane! We actually closed this one before inspections happened because we left the other side open to scrutiny. This is our main Gallery wall, on which people will be hanging art. We wanted a surface that could be nailed into easily and something that would be especially conducive to allowing people to hang their art however – and wherever – they want. A blank canvas, Fitz + Emme style.

20 minutes a board… I’m not kidding. Selecting the right one – making sure it was the correct thickness (the pile contained boards at 3/4″, 7/8″ and 1″… and, if you’re ever played with tongue and groove you know different thicknesses do NOT play well together!) – measuring the space – making 4 cuts with the chop saw (2 cuts per side because the boards are thicker than the saw blade… and, thus, need to be turned over – re-lined up – and cut again… ahem…) – wedging it into the wall – pre-drilling each nail hole (because of our insistence on using really old, big nails) – and nailing the board to the wall using antique, square-headed nails (sourced from Eco Building Bargains in Springfield, MA)!

Are we insane?

Here are some reasons it took so long:

This was a multi-day project, if you couldn’t tell that already… And, once we were finished, the place was a DISASTER. Sawdust everywhere!


A “small” pile

But – we were one stack of wood lighter and one wall closer to the end! That’s one major plus for finishing a project: it uses up a pile of materials!


Ta da! The Gallery wall! Just awaits some polyurethane and some finishing trim!



  1. Kiki

    I am majorly procrastinating right now and reading your blog like its my job.. but I am slowly realizing that I am becoming more depressed as I read. The more I read your posts, the longer I put off getting my list of things done, the more I realize you ARE getting things done, the more my anxiety grows that I haven’t done squat, the more my admiration grows for Emme and Fitz and their fortitude!!! YOU GUYS ROCK AND NOW I’M GOING TO GO CLEAN MY ROOM!!

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