August 16, 2009

In for a penny, in for a pound

It might be my motto. Certainly it describes the attitude that has gotten me into some of my more memorable and epic projects. Today, it seems to have gotten me the mother of all bruises. Well, it's not even a bruise yet---it's a massive contusion that will eventually turn into a bruise of biblical proportions.

I should back up. The process of renovating my downstairs bathroom has been proceeding, and today at long last I got to the tiling. Out came the tile saw (and here is where I expected injury to show up), up went the tiles, and everything was going great. I tiled around the windowsill and finished all the regular-shaped pieces. Then I started thinking about the cuts I'd need for the tiles around the sill, and with four of them being more than just straight-line all-across cuts, and two of those being a quite complex curve, I thought, there's no way I'm going to make this look good. What's the right way to solve this?

And of course he right thing would have been to remove the sill and tile behind it, reducing the number of odd cuts and hiding the edges in any case. My sill was already painted, but awaited final coats anyway. So, drumroll please, I started removing it.

The flat board beneath the sill popped right off. The sill itself? Not so much. On one side, I could pull it down a bit and verify that it was not attached to the side trim, but the other side wouldn't go, so off came the facing pieces on the sides of the window (and indeed the right-side piece had a nail connecting it vertically to the sill). Still it wasn't releasing. I could now pull it away from the wall a little and see it was connected to the wall horizontally by one nail on each side; but it was also clear that this was not all. As it turned out, whoever had last assembled this was trying to prevent it ever being disassembled: three nails down into the sill base as well as the two into the wall and one up into the trim. Getting a crowbar between the two remaining pieces was proving nearly impossible, and of course even then I needed to pull it out before up, as well as up before out. Luckily, two of the vertical nails pulled through the wood and I was able to rotate the rest of it without causing much damage.

Note: still no injury. All the most dangerous things I did today passed without a scratch.

At this point the disassembly is done, but there remain two finishing nails in the sill base. One pulls out with some difficulty with the claw of a hammer. The other is more recalcitrant, and finally as I leaned a lot of weight into it, there is a sudden POP and my arm smears past the left framing piece, which though it isn't sharp, is square, and so it skinned the arm. Looking back to the nail, it seems the head has come off. I knock it around a bit more and manage to break off what's left of the nail.

I glance briefly at my arm, which by the way still doesn't hurt, and see that it isn't actually skinned, but contused and with a rapidly growing reddish-purple lump. At which point I drop everything and run to the sink to get it under cold water, which is when it starts hurting, and a few moments after that under ice. Which is where it has been for the last hour or so, except for a brief moment to take a picture of it; and by the way, typing one handed is A) faster than I would have thought, and B) still really annoying.

So, my trophy of the afternoon:

[my bruised arm]

(ok, so not quite biblical proportions. But it's big and impressive. Swelling's gone mostly down now and it's starting to turn purple.)

'If you carefully read its literature and analyse what its devotees actually do, you will discover that software engineering has accepted as its charter "How to program if you cannot.".' --Edsger Dijkstra

Posted by blahedo at 8:00pm on 16 Aug 2009
Comments
So, did you rent or buy the tile saw? Posted by lee at 10:01pm on 24 Aug 2009
I bought it; I thought (correctly) that I'd be wanting to use it in fits and starts over the course of many days, rather than blasting through all my cuts in just a day or two. When the walls and floors aren't quite straight, plumb, or level, no two cuts are the same, and that slows things down a bit. :) Posted by blahedo at 11:40pm on 25 Aug 2009
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