Crossfit for Renovators: Concrete Demo


My mother texted me recently to tell me that she was nervous about the back of my house. As far as she or the Internet knows, I still have a sort-of-deck (which was really just the now-defunct mudroom without walls or a roof) with some sort-of steps down to the yard. She was concerned that it would snow and Mekko or Linus would have trouble seeing the boundaries of the “deck” and go walking right off it into a couple feet of snow, like the drunk little toddlers that they are.

“Have no fear!” I told her. “The deck is gone.”

Demolishing the “deck” itself was actually the super easy part. Demolishing all the concrete around it? WAY HARDER. It was something I had on the agenda when I originally embarked on these shenanigans of removing that big addition on the back of my house, but not really the part of the project that I ever considered a big deal. Whoopsie!


Just for reference, this is the back of the house on move-in day about 2.5 years ago. The stairs were removed about 2 years ago, the asphalt driveway was removed about one year ago, and the mudroom disappeared this summer, so all that was left was some funny concrete work back here. It doesn’t look like that much, right? It’s just the steps to the mudroom, the part in front of those steps, the slab area under the fire escape, and the border of that little theoretical herb garden thing. I figured I’d go it alone and have it done in a difficult but satisfying weekend with a rented jackhammer and my manly brute strength.


PSA: When renting tools, I always try to get the biggest bang for my buck—usually tool rental places are closed at least on Sunday, so if you pick up on Saturday and return Monday morning, you usually only have to pay for one day instead of two. The place here (Blue Line Rentals) is closed Saturday and Sunday so I picked up on Friday and figured I’d be fine by Monday morning and only have to pay for a day’s rental which was about $85. This was a good plan, sort of.

The system was this:

Step 1: Jackhammer up concrete in sections small enough to throw into the back of John’s pick-up truck.

Step 2: Fill up John’s pick-up truck probably more than I should, weight-wise. John doesn’t read my blog so nobody tell him, ok?

Step 3: Go dump concrete.

Step 4: Repeat.

I thought I’d maybe go through this process a total of 2 or 3 times to get it all out. Try like 7 or 8—I lost track. That yard spit up way more concrete than I realized was even possible. It was also really hot that weekend. The jackhammer itself is like 70 or 80 pounds, so maneuvering this heavy machine around and picking it up and putting it back down again to give myself a few minutes to lift really heavy rubble into a truck got way exhausting, way fast.


Almost immediately, the sound of the jackhammer attracted a couple of friendly neighborhood youths (who are actually like 20-25) who wondered if perhaps I needed some assistance that I wanted to pay them to provide. This happens with some frequency around here and I’ve gotten pretty good at politely declining, but this time? YES. HELP ME. COOL HAT, BRO.

So me and the youths jackhammered. And jackhammered. And jackhammered. We had a pretty good system going where one person manned the jackhammer while the other two of us moved rubble into the bed of the pick-up. Even with three people working it was REALLY slow and REALLY exhausting and started to get surprisingly expensive as the hours ticked on and the concrete just kept coming and coming. Those dudes probably bought, like, the best weed after that weekend and they totally earned it.


Concrete is VERY heavy and I had a LOT of it. There is the truckload above and about 7 more exactly like it. Bringing it to the dump, where it would then be transported to a landfill and I would be charged by the pound for its disposal, seemed like a very expensive way to get rid of it. So I checked Craigslist.

Great thing about upstate NY? Somebody somewhere always has some kind of hole or something to fill, and they don’t want to pay to fill it. Instead, they wait for people in situations such as mine to offer it up for free, which is how I found Bill.

Bill had posted an ad for free fill material—asphalt, concrete, bricks, pavers, stones, dirt—basically anything like that—because he is building a ROAD. AN ENTIRE ROAD. Not a driveway…like, a ROAD. Bill described his project, I explained what I had, he confirmed like 30 times over that I wasn’t trying to dump drywall or insulation or anything like that on his land, and he gave me the address.


One of the neighborhood not-really-youths and I hopped into the pick-up and headed where Bill said to go. The truck struggled its way up mild inclines and through winding roads, barely accelerating as I floored the gas and struggling to stop as I slammed the brakes. After all the many times during this renovation that I’ve wondered if something I was doing would result in my swift and immediate death, the likelihood here felt more real, somehow. I didn’t want to die moving concrete from my backyard to someone else’s yard. I didn’t want the youth to die. I didn’t want John’s long-suffering borrowed Ford F-150 to be totaled. I wondered who would pick up the couple tons of concrete if it did all come to pass, and whether Bill would ever be able to build his road.


What Bill neglected to mention was that his road was at the bottom of an extremely steep incline. I’m upset that this picture is so super lousy because it doesn’t look that steep, but it was VERY steep.  Bill met us there, and he instructed me to back in from a starting point across the street and reverse as far back as I could go so it would be easier to throw the concrete to area at the bottom of the hill where the road had yet to be formed. As it was, it ended in a kind of miniature cliff, at the bottom of which was a marshy layer of vegetation. Bill and the youth would follow behind on foot, letting me know if I got too close to an edge.

I rode the brakes the entire way down the hill, but between the road-weary tires and the worn-down brakes and the few thousand pounds of concrete in the back, the truck picked up speed on the way down. It was a quick descent, but the road plateaued just long enough that the back tire had space to stop a few feet short of falling into the abyss. I wondered briefly if this was a disappointment to Bill. Maybe the whole thing was a trap? Maybe he wasn’t as interested in my concrete as he was in watching me volunteer to flip a truck full on concrete onto myself and die there at the bottom of his road?


While helping us throw the concrete out of the bed of the truck, Bill explained that he’d bought the land roughly two decades prior to insulate his property from a lousy neighbor he didn’t like, but the neighbor had since died and now he didn’t want the land anymore. Evidently, the road was already a couple of years into production, and so far it was made entirely of the same kind of stuff I was depositing with a layer of shale on top. His long-term plan was to keep building it entirely with locally-volunteered free material and then sell the land to a developer, who would see the road as a big asset and pay top dollar.

I realize that Bill sounds like a crazy person, but he actually struck me as very normal—mild-mannered, appropriately appreciative of my donation to his cause, even-keeled. He drove the nicer version of the truck I was driving, so we talked about that, and he seemed genuinely interested in my home renovation, and told me about an old house he had lived in with a creek literally running through the basement. He told me about the time he got in trouble because some asshole decided to dump construction debris instead of fill and he got a fine from the town and had to clean up the mess. “Can you imagine?” he asked, as if the idea of littering was so much crazier than trying to build a road from my broken bits of concrete.

Bill really seemed like a good guy. I liked Bill. He showed us how to “use the gate,” which was just hooking a length of chain onto a tree, so that we could repeat this process ourselves on subsequent loads without him having to meet us.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, jackhammering continued. I think this concrete was done in two distinct layers—one circa 1930 and one circa 1970. Both times, whoever did the work indiscriminately threw stuff into it—hardware, machine parts, a bizarre number of small castors, metal rods and wires, auger bits…that’s a different post. Some of it was exciting and some of it was not so exciting and none of it has any monetary value.


I was at this with the neighborhood youths for two entire days. On Monday morning I had to call the tool rental place and tell them that I needed to keep the jackhammer another day, and after working on it some more throughout the day, called in the big guns that evening because I had to get that jackhammer back and there was still a lot to do.

Edgar (the Edgar half of Edwin & Edgar, a.k.a. E-squared, a.k.a. my go-to-contractor-dudes, a.k.a. my neighbors and BFFs and loves of my life) is a demolition BOSS. He actually seems to be good at pretty much everything, but demo is where he seems to become superhuman. Sometimes I witness him do something like this and I feel like I don’t even know why I try to do anything. After spending days now paying for the jackhammer and a few hundred bucks for the help of the neighborhood youths, Edgar had that concrete busted up in like an hour and a half. My job just became dealing with the rubble, which was honestly really hard but I’m not going to complain about it because Edgar’s job was harder and he never complains and when he does it’s in Spanish so I only kind of understand it. He’s the best boyfriend I never had.



While I was off on one of my expeditions to Bill’s road, Edgar also destroyed the deck. Since he knows me, he was careful to pry off floorboards in full pieces with the tongues and grooves intact and set them aside in a pile, as well as stack up all the beautiful old framing lumber holding the thing up.

That’s the mess I was stashing under the mudroom, because I had this idea that maybe if I posted the vinyl siding on Craigslist, somebody would want it and I wouldn’t have to take it to the dump. That did not happen so to the dump it went.


And…this is how things ended up looking. Like the apocalypse. Groovy.


So, I aimed for a beautiful covered porch this summer and ended with a set of three “temporary” stairs which hopefully will only be here until next spring/summer when the porch plan becomes a reality. These things happen! Oh well. Sometimes you have to shoot for the stars and not reach the stars but that’s OK because even though things look worse, a lot of the hard work is getting DONE. It’s all progress, right?

Now, if you’re really using your noggin, you might think to yourself that this order of work seems stupid and wrong. If I was planning on re-siding the top of the house and replacing that door to nowhere and the window, why wouldn’t I leave the mudroom alone so I could stand on the roof of it to do that stuff? Why didn’t I at least leave the concrete and the mudroom floor to use as a stable platform? Shut up, smarty-pants.

Hindsight is 20/20 on this one. I didn’t plan on changing the window/door set-up on the back of the house or re-siding the top half of the wall because I was planning on a balcony up there, but by the time I officially nixed that then this work had already gone down. Oops! So I made my life a little harder. That happens sometimes.

Now that I know what I want to do with this back wall, I’m officially moving forward with Project: Poach Kitchen Window Sashes, Replace Kitchen Window, Remove Existing Window and Door Upstairs, Replace with Kitchen Window Sashes, Re-side Top of Wall, Strip Lower Half, Prime and Paint All Before it is So Cold.  It’s already been intense but also sort of exciting and horrifying and I’m excited to show!

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 10.14.15
    Katrin said:

    Seriously I don´t know how you do it; you keep writing lenghty blog posts about not-so-exciting projects (sorry) and I read every word and enjoy all of it immensely. I laughed so hard about the not-really-youths. Keep on keeping on!

    • 10.14.15
      Daniel said:

      Nothing to apologize for—I feel like I haven’t had anything all that exciting to share in a while!! So it goes—sometimes you’re making something beautiful and sometimes you’re just…making a mess. And thank you! :)

    • 10.14.15
      Kari said:

      But isn’t it the boring mess that you miss the most fondly when it’s all over? Or is there ever really a “when it’s all over”?

  2. 10.14.15
    Diane said:

    Can’t WAIT for the next installment….

  3. 10.14.15

    Oh Daniel…I actually did a spit take with my tea on this line “I wondered briefly if this was a disappointment to Bill.”….way too scary and funny at the same time. Question …was anyone wearing safety boots (steel caped) on this job?…because “local youth” looked to me to be wearing sneakers…just saying…
    Anyway ..congrats on getting that “done”?…most people would have just built the deck over the concrete and just ignored it..but not you…I’m loving the three steps by the way…so charming.

    • 10.14.15
      Adrien said:

      Also no safety glasses while chipping away at the concrete with a jackhammer!!

    • 10.14.15
      Daniel said:

      The younger dudes and I wore glasses (and gloves when handling the concrete—that stuff will mess up your hands!) but admittedly the shoe thing didn’t occur to me! Oops. The jackhammer isn’t as crazy as it might sound…it’s quite heavy so it sort of stays put under its own weight while breaking up the concrete—it’s not bouncing around all willy-nilly. But still, you’re right! Everyone left with the same number of eyeballs and toes that they had before, so that’s good. Edgar didn’t wear gloves or glasses because he is difficult, although it looks like his boot situation is on point?

      (Debbie—building the deck over the concrete wasn’t really an option—everything is more or less poured on grade so this concrete needed to go in order to pour proper footings for the deck down the line, among some other little issues)

    • 10.16.15
      Rasmus said:

      My main concern was the lack of ear protection, but yes. Eyes and feet are important too. From a legal point of view, Daniel, you’re the employer of the youths, and can be held responsible for their safety. I know I’m pissing on the impressive progress, but it’s always advisable to *offer* anybody working on a project protective gear.

      Being a lawyer I do this to such an extend that it’s almost a ritual whenever friends help me do anything. A work-related injury can be a financial burden of epic proportions, so I don’t mind being made fun of, when I offer everything from face shields to kneecaps :-)

  4. 10.14.15
    Adrien said:

    I could feel my blood pressure and anxiety level rising as I read your post, picturing myself in the loaded pickup truck unable to stop it from going downhill and causing grave material and bodily harm to everyone around me. So glad that did NOT happen to you (or me – though it almost did last time I operated a u-haul to move a couch as the van started rolling down 89th into 2nd avenue… chills.)

    • 10.14.15
      Daniel said:

      Oh god, that’s terrifying! I used to live right there and I’m picturing crashing into the 2nd Avenue subway construction site…

  5. 10.14.15
    robin said:

    In the paragraph below the last picture, that starts “These things happen!”, I thought you then wrote
    “Oh well. Sometimes you have to shoot for the stairs and not reach the stairs but that’s OK . . .”

    and I thought, “That Daniel! That is so funny! He is so clever!”

    And then I re-read the line, and saw that it wasn’t what I thought it was, so I guess I’m just providing and enjoying my own jokes here…

    Good going on an extremely arduous endeavor!

    • 10.14.15
      Daniel said:

      you’re hired! Linus is a lousy copy editor.

    • 10.15.15
      robin said:

      and speaking of copy-editing: how is it that NOBODY has commented on the fact that you had a “Wacker” brand jack-hammer!?!

    • 10.16.15
      Daniel said:

      Ha! Too easy ;)

  6. 10.14.15
    Tanja said:

    Gosh I’d be pissed if you were my neighbour using that jackhammer on a weekend.

    • 10.14.15
      Daniel said:

      I guess it’s a good thing you’re not, then!

      (in all seriousness, I think there’s a pretty solid consensus among my neighbors that they’re OK with a little light jackhammering if it means that this formerly-vacant and borderline-derelict house is getting some TLC. Obviously I was not out there doing this early in the morning or late at night…but sometimes renovation means noise!)

  7. 10.14.15
    threadbndr said:

    I’ve demo’d a small brick firepit and that was enough to let me know that I need to leave the jackhammers to the pros – but I admire your determination! Man, that’s a lot of concrete! (and I’m amused with the weird stuff that went into the pour!)

  8. 10.14.15
    mollie said:

    this might be some of your best work. i was silent shaky laughing every time i came to a reference of “youth(s)”.

  9. 10.14.15

    you really should have your own TV show! this beats any of the scripted ones.
    so real – concrete! jackhammers! oddly crazy man with road to nowhere (WTF)! scruffylooking youths! Edgar saves the day!

    whenever i see a new post in my feedly it so exciting – what in the world is Daniel up to now?

    thanks for so much sharing – we all know that you will pull this off.
    cant wait for the next installment!

    • 10.14.15

      uhm .. its so exciting.
      and as long as i am posting again — love the photo of Linus(?) on the steps.

    • 10.14.15
      Daniel said:


  10. 10.14.15
    Lynngweeny said:

    “Best boyfriend I never had”. Hahahahahahah! I love your posts.

  11. 10.14.15
    Jayne said:

    I stumbled across your blog several weeks ago and and immediately subscribed to ensure future stipends of your oh-so-clever wit.
    The entertainment (and information) bar you have set is high indeed, yet with today’s installment you have surpassed yourself sir. I tip my hat to you while I wipe the snorked Sumatra Blend off my laptop screen.
    BTW – I have to join the mother-hen club above. I too pointed at my monitor, jaw agape and eyes bugging, Pixar-style, at the pic of N.Youth #1 jack hammering in his kicks. Clearly toes are overrated.
    I’ll be monitoring my inbox for the next missive from Manhattan-Nest. Please keep it coming :-)

    • 10.14.15
      Daniel said:

      Aww, thanks Jayne! Welcome to the bloggity!

      (I feel super dumb about the footwear. This is something my mother is CONSTANTLY yelling at me about…)

  12. 10.14.15
    Petra said:

    Love your writing! So exciting to see whatever happens!

  13. 10.14.15
    Tricia said:

    I’m curious whether your mother read this post in its entirety before calling to yell at you, or if she called midway through…? :)

    • 10.14.15
      Daniel said:

      It took her almost 9 hours!!! hahahaha

  14. 10.14.15
    Jeanna said:

    I totally loved this post, and all the laughter that came with it! I know it was terribly hard to go through it, but the re-telling of it was great :) Can’t wait for the next installment in the great adventure. I am a little worried about that big hole and the dogs………………………….What is that, the entrance to the basement? I never noticed it before, go figure. :)

    • 10.14.15
      Daniel said:

      Yes, basement stairs! I keep it covered over normally—doggies are safe :)

  15. 10.14.15
    Rachel said:

    Reading your blog makes me feel exhausted. You’re amazing. Also, what is UP with old houses with a literal creek running through the basement?!? Is this a real thing and how is it possible?! When I lived in State College (PA) there was apparently one of these in nearby Bellefonte, and everyone (including me) knew someone who claimed to have lived there at one point. Like, I swear a guy told me he went fishing in his basement. I never got to see it, though. :(

    • 10.14.15
      tess said:

      Creeks and springs are/were common, evidently Chicago has subterranean rivers, city was built on former marshland, basements flood easily with heavy rain despite “deep tunnel” project.
      I wish I had “youth” show up at my door when I’m mired in a too-heavy duty project. Maybe one day.
      I thought it was craigslist protocol to have the recipient come take away the “gift.”
      The delivery sounded terrifying.

  16. 10.14.15
    Shannon said:

    Oh my god, you are so brave! I would have tried one jack(?) with the jackhammer and called it quits. Good job! Also, I am dying over “the youths.” There is some movie where a character kept saying “the youths” as “the yoots,” and I kept hearing that in my head. (Update: I googled, and it is My Cousin Vinny… I should have known).

    Anyway, I know you are real busy doing manly labor and stuff, but I would love more blog posts, even if they are short because you are my favorite blogger, and I get unreasonably excited when you update.

    • 10.16.15
      Daniel said:

      My Cousin Vinny! So good. :)

    • 10.17.15
      Melissa said:

      I am sitting getting my hair did and cannot stop laughing out loud with your version of “these two yoots” and Bill, the local pot smoking troll that lives above a river…. You know that’s where they dump the bodies, right? God bless you.

  17. 10.14.15
    LD said:

    My back hurts in sympathy!! You must be pretty buff with all this DIY.

  18. 10.14.15
    SusanT said:

    Daniel: Rubble Rockstar!

  19. 10.14.15
    Sid said:

    This post is perfection. I am saddened that you’ve not made a fortune selling the rights to this renovation as a reality show.

    • 10.14.15
      Jeanna said:


    • 10.14.15
      Mom said:


    • 10.17.15
      Kiki said:

      Super ditto! I am amazed you don’t have professional representation and several book/tv deals…I am also increasingly amazed that you haven’t collapsed of exhaustion.

  20. 10.14.15
    Mom said:

    Love that those youths got to buy some quality weed. Because, you know, no one wants shitty weed for their hard, back-breaking work.

    • 10.14.15
      Mom said:

      Oh, and do NOT tell me stories about driving backwards down a steep incline with a truckload of concrete with questionable tires and brakes. And, you wonder why I have to hide all those gray hairs. SHIT! And, wear those damn steel toed boots, too.

    • 10.14.15
      Sterling said:

      This is how parenting is meant to be done.

  21. 10.14.15
    Doorot said:

    Mom’s comments are as good as the post :)
    just sayin’ !

    • 10.16.15
      Daniel said:

      She always steals my thunder!

  22. 10.14.15
    Jeanna said:

    OMG, I totally love your Mom :)

    • 10.16.15
      Daniel said:

      Me too! :)

    • 10.17.15
      Kiki said:

      yeah, she def needs a part in the reality show.

  23. 10.14.15
    kmkat said:

    My god, man, that was a LOT of concrete! Yeah, like you didn’t know that already.

  24. 10.14.15
    Tara said:

    You freaking crack me up! How can anyone make a post about busting up concrete so damn funny?? Keep on keepin’ on – Can’t wait to see the progress you’ve made!

  25. 10.14.15
    Susan said:

    This is hilarious and a really amazing accomplishment. Your band of youth come in very handy. Together you do great work. Finding Bill to take all the concrete is brilliant. Bill sounds like a very resourceful guy… building his road to sell property to a developer. Smart.

    The back of the house looks like a war zone, but I’m sure your construction plans will transform the place. Can’t wait to see the transformation! Thanks for sharing. Susan

  26. 10.14.15
    nadine said:

    Your poor mother.

  27. 10.14.15
    Erica W. said:

    Ah, you can’t beat the old CL fella who wants your concrete to build a road. I had someone take piles of dirt and broken bricks out of my dirt basement — five gallon bucket by five gallon bucket — to fill in a hole to put a deck on.

  28. 10.15.15
    Kerrie said:

    Welcome back Daniel’s mum. I’ve missed your pearls

  29. 10.15.15
    trotula said:

    Thought shirtless man in marijuana-themed bucket hat was you; utterly disappointed to find out it was not. Will not be renewing my subscription.

    • 10.15.15
      Laura C said:

      I also thought it was Daniel! And I thought…Daniel’s sense of style is really changing now that he’s up in Kingston full time. I was so relieved when I realized it was someone else.

    • 10.19.15
      Joann said:

      It was a double take though, wasn’t it?

  30. 10.15.15
    Louise said:

    You are seriously strong and motivated! Great to see that old yuck go, it will be a super-fresh and happy place next summer!

  31. 10.15.15
    Cindi M said:

    “Poach kitchen window?” OH. Poach the kitchen window. Not mistyped porch. Couldn’t figure out the porch kitchen window. Oh, well. I read your postings so fast because the suspense kills me. That’s my defense and it happens to be true. Great stories. But haven’t you used up ten lives already? Listen to your mother(s).

  32. 10.15.15
    Karen T. said:

    I’m laughing out loud–amazed at the progress, impressed with your storytelling skills, and in love with your pup. Looking forward to reading along as the saga unfolds….

  33. 10.15.15
    gretaclark said:

    How does Edgar get so good at these things? E and E are unbeatable. Why don’t you just start all projects with them? Since they own the truck anyway!!! This sounds way dangerous to me.

    • 10.16.15
      Daniel said:

      Years of experience, I guess! This particular project probably would have been smarter to just hire them right off the bat, but I really just didn’t know how difficult it would be! In general, though, the answer to your question is that they cost money, and I don’t have a ton of it! So if I think I can do something, I pretty much always try first. :)

  34. 10.15.15
    gretaclark said:

    Had a late thought. Call your new company D and ESquared. I am waiting for your clever interior design mojo to come back to the blog.

  35. 10.15.15
    Eileen said:

    Lawdy lawdy Daniel….I too join the ranks of wiping java off the screen, tears of laughter off the cheeks….and now I must go and rub liniment on my sympathetically aching back.

  36. 10.15.15
    kim said:

    Ugh. Concrete work is so tedious and intimidating. I, too, had to remove a patio in layers one summer. I, too, rented a jackhammer and, after watching my (ex) husband declare rather dramatically, “We’re graphic designers! Why are we doing this?!” eventually had to call in someone to help me. Who totally destroyed it like the boss my ex wasn’t.

    But you’re right. Hefting concrete chunks all weekend will absolutely make you think you have rippling muscles you don’t and regret the ones you do.

  37. 10.15.15
    Julia said:

    One of your best posts by far, had me giggling the entire time. Your writing style on top of all the hit you do to your house makes you easily one of my favorite renovation blogs. Keep it up!

  38. 10.15.15
    Tisha said:

    Ugh, isn’t it always the way? The stuff you think will take no time at all takes a million years. But progress is progress and you seem to be making it in spades. Good job!

  39. 10.15.15
    beki said:

    Your renovation/life saga is wonderful in blog form, but I feel like it could be great in book form too. And I see it not so much one of those glossy coffee table books slapped together from blog posts as a full-fledged memoir. Not to assign you another project, but maybe someday.

    • 10.16.15
      Daniel said:

      Maybe someday! I think I have to live longer first! :)

  40. 10.15.15
    Lisa and Tate said:

    Oh Man…. I got giddy when I saw you had posted on my blog feed. Sorry but I missed you so much. You can make taking concrete out fun. Such a talent. Please don’t make us wait for so long. Would love an update on your house and the other two projects. Such a talent (again)!

    • 10.16.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank you! :)

  41. 10.15.15
    Ashley said:

    Wow, you have done so much work on this place! I need to paint my living room and add molding and I keep putting it off. In my defense I do work full time with a baby. Maybe you’ve inspired me. Maybe this weekend is the weekend. I can’t wait to see what else you work on. Nice job!

    • 10.16.15
      Daniel said:

      Good luck!! For what it’s worth, I can’t imagine doing anything with a baby other than panicking constantly about keeping it alive. I’m amazed when parents have time for anything else, period!

    • 10.17.15
      Mom said:

      You see that’s where I’m coming from. Do you think it’s any different just because they’ve past some milestone birthday or something? They’re always your kid, forever and ever, and all you want is to keep them alive and happy and thriving. It’s no different no matter the age.

  42. 10.15.15
    Darcy said:

    Always excited to see a new post from you and this one did not disappoint. The part about Bill possibly luring you to an elaborate trap had me doing an embarrassing chortle in the office. Thanks for that :)

    P.S. Inquiring minds want to know what’s happening at the Blue Stone Cottage. I know you have more projects than time in the day but it would be cool to see where things stand there and any plans for the near (or far) future.

    • 10.16.15
      Daniel said:

      I know, I really gotta get an update up about it. Progress has been fairly minimal and slow for too long (life happens…sigh.) but it’s high time to revive that project. Couple things on the schedule for it that will be big improvements!

  43. 10.15.15
    Sheran said:

    I love you, Daniel. Your posts make my day.

  44. 10.16.15

    Your posts are so entertaining to read! I love seeing all your progress and even your set backs.

    Thanks for always sharing!

  45. 10.16.15
    Laurel said:

    So, I’m dying to know, what is it that Edgar does differently or did differently with the jackhammer? Could you tell? Is he ever so generous as to teach you how to do things better?
    Your ability to take back breaking work and make it hilarious to read about it is great. Good luck with the rest of it!

    • 10.16.15
      Daniel said:

      I wish I really knew! I think he’s just more…confident? And stronger, so he seemed to be hammering for longer periods and maybe with a bit better control. He also wasn’t stopping all the time to clear the rubble, which is kind of the more time-consuming part of the job—but he did a hell of a job breaking it all up so I could move the pieces!

  46. 10.16.15
    Bonnie said:

    Oh, man. I can’t even imagine. But so much fun to read about!

  47. 10.19.15
    CC said:

    For a split second there I was looking at the dude in the Mull Hat and thinking… for such weedy twigs (oh pardon my pun!), those arms have got some muscle definition! Go Daniel with the jackhammer! Then I noticed the hat and the camo pants and the shirtlessness and realised you have way more taste than that! Still, go Daniel on the jackhammer! When I started reading Manhattan Nest, I was cheering you for learning how to install and grout an extra foot of tile in your kitchen. Now you’ve graduated to the big boy tools and are ordering mull-hatted youths about your yard. I am unbelievably proud! xx

  48. 10.19.15
    bean said:

    I see that the boondocks in New York are pretty similar to the boondocks around these parts. Well, I guess boondocks are boondocks, no matter what the accent. Linus looks happy that the jackhammering is finished.

  49. 10.19.15
    Ashli said:

    I’m exhausted just looking at the pictures. Heal a bit before you continue the madness, a body can only take so much renovation.

  50. 10.20.15
    Luna said:

    What a big, messy BEAUTIFUL post.Love it Daniel.

  51. 10.21.15
    Alma said:

    “BFFs, loves of my life” !!!!! HAHAHAHAHA You are definitely the best! But, I wondered why you didn’t leave the cement alone and then I remembered you love things the hard way. ;)

  52. 10.23.15
    Annie said:

    OMG! Hilarious and painful all at the same time…. damn you’re funny! Kudos Daniel!!

  53. 10.23.15
    AnnW said:

    I dread not getting a new post, that some days I don’t look for it. But when I DO find a new post, I do a little
    mental or maybe a lying down jiggetty jig. and almost yell. Daniel, I would pay real money to read your blog and so would a lot of people. Think about it. What I really need is for you to make a drawing of a house and foundation and label all the parts, so we know what you are talking about. Like, that extra board under an eave on the back of the house? Also, I get mixed up with the foundation, the sill, etc. Is the house just sitting on the stone foundation? No screws, no nails? You Are The Greatest. Keep at It!

    • 10.26.15
      Daniel said:

      Aww, thank you, Ann! Always so nice :)

      Yep, the house is basically sitting on the stone foundation. This house is post-and-beam construction which means that the major framing members are notched and fit together like a puzzle, and then big wood pegs hold stuff together. There are nails to keep things in place and to hold the lath to the studs and stuff, but that’s about it! I’m definitely not an expert on structural components of a house (I tend to learn a lot as I…need to?) but there are lots of diagrams like that online! Ask me how I know :)

  54. 11.2.15
    susanna said:

    I have been reading your blog for the longest time. I’m a little late to leave a comment but my goodness this was your funniest post ever!! I love it. Your amazing xx

  55. 11.3.15
    Lisa said:

    I am being SOooooo patient for your next post!

  56. 12.21.15
    Leah said:

    I have nothing to do with home renovation but always come back to read of your adventures. You crack me up, and I’m SO glad you survived to tell the tale!