Well, it's done. My house has been torn apart and put back together again, and I can finally say that overall, it was a successful project. The main objective was to rid the house of the mold in the walls and the sub-flooring. This was accomplished, and my worst fear (that I wouldn't be able to live in the house once it was done) has NOT been realized.
That doesn't mean it's been an easy month and a half. Like all projects, it took a little longer than anticipated. I am fortunate to have a daughter and her husband (and two adorable grandsons) who tolerated me sleeping on their couch for several weeks. They kept me busy and distracted me when construction frustrations reached a breaking point, which was often. And thank goodness for a phone that made it possible for me to be in constant contact with the project manager and my husband Randl (who was trying to live and work in the house through it all).
So here are some of the things we learned in the process (listed in no particular order):
--When you're the one paying the bills, you get to call the shots (regardless of what the "expert" builders think).
--A contractor is only as good as his sub-contractors.
--There are MANY chemically safe or safer building products available. You just have to go looking for them.
--Sub-contractors don't like to go looking for building materials or use materials with which they are unfamiliar.
--Don't assume someone understands your point of view. Explain, explain, explain!
--The best project manager in the U.S. (possibly in the world) is right here in Helena, Montana. His name is Mark.
--Painters march to the beat of their own drummers (and they're in a different parade than mine).
--Ceramic tile is relatively inexpensive but very practical, not to mention beautiful (especially when installed well).
--Glass tile is VERY expensive, but one little row of it can turn an otherwise blah room into a private spa (well, almost).
--A second shower in the house is a good thing.
--Covering the bathroom window with only a half-curtain lets the sunshine in and, combined with yellow walls, cheers the soul, even on a cold Montana morning.
There was still some odor from the building products when I came home, so we ran the air purifier and the three new fans around the clock for a week or so. But all I can smell today is the pumpkin from our garden cooking in the steamers on the stove. As soon as I get my new hall closet doors up, the whole project will really be finished. It's time to move on.