Let’s face it…I am no spring chicken. Having spent my working career sitting at a desk, I am not the most physically fit person. And, I am a girly, girl. I prefer heels to work boots and a dress to a t-shirt.
Lately I have found myself needing to do manual labor. A few months ago, I demoed a bathroom. Thankfully, I had the help of a person much stronger than myself. The other person would whack a board, and it would move. I would whack, whack, whack a board, and it never moved.
I learned that I was much better at the clean-up than the tear-out. Sweeping, shop vac-ing, and carrying out small bags of trash are more in my skill level.
I also learned that the right tools are everything! I purchased two new pieces of equipment after I saw what a difference they made. I purchased a claw bar/pry bar that works magic on all sorts of jobs that need leveraging, such as stubborn nail removal, baseboard removal, and seal popping. Yes, these are all technical terms! The claw bar and a hammer made me much stronger than a hammer alone.
My other purchase was a long-handled crowbar/wrecking bar. This one was great for really getting my body weight into my leveraging situation, such as actually making a board come loose!
Recently, with the same helper, we tackled the removal of glued down carpet and a double layer of linoleum. I packed what I thought I would need: a respirator, my claw bar, utility knife, and gloves. I learned many years ago that gloves make your grip better and your hands stronger. (I now keep a pair of leather work gloves in my car, just like my dad kept in his truck.)
I had ordered two new tools for the job: a standing carpet cutter and a carpet puller. My helper and I had most of the carpet and linoleum removed in about four hours. My helper gets all the credit because in between what I did I had meetings and office work that had to be done. My new tools won’t arrive until tomorrow. I guess I will send them back because I doubt I will ever need to remove carpet or linoleum again.
My area of focus was the linoleum. Strangely most of it came up easily. My helper worked on the carpet. All but one room of carpet was easy to remove.
I grew up hearing stories of my parents, grandparents, and aunts working hard on farms. These were the stories that sounded much more backbreaking than fun. My dad did throw in a few stories with some childhood shenanigans, but mostly I learned that picking cotton would make your fingers bleed and your back hurt.
My sister and I were taught to get a good education so that we didn’t have to work as hard as our parents had worked when growing up. These were lessons we took to heart.
I must admit that my brief and pathetic foray into hard physical labor has made my back hurt and arms sore, but it also gave me a satisfaction that I am not sure I ever felt when closing a deal or solving a problem. I realize that I will never be good at tear-out, but I don’t mind giving it a try when people who know what they are doing aren’t available.
My husband points out that my massage therapist and manicurist bills may not make my contributions worth it, and the risk of needing a doctor really makes it not worth it. Still, I like to feel like I did something productive with my day!
If you see me on the street, and I seem to be in pain or sore, you will know that I might have done another little project.
Next, I want to tackle power tools!
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Claw bar/pry bar: https://amzn.to/3zMqGe1
Long handled crowbar/wrecking bar: https://amzn.to/3raUX2g
Utility knife: https://amzn.to/3FlX2gN
Leather work gloves (similar): https://amzn.to/3r6Zy5N
Standing carpet cutter: https://amzn.to/3zKBJV8
Carpet puller: https://amzn.to/3FkD0TY
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