hauling drywall with a Subaru
Tuesday, September 25 2012
I made something of an artist's drive into Uptown Kingston this afternoon, stopping on Hurley Avenue just beyond where it crosses US 209 on an overpass. I got out with my camera and took pictures of the cars rushing beneath me as part of the preparation for a painting I might paint. I might want to paint a picture of kids throwing rocks off a bridge, and it would be useful to have a reference photo. I then continued into Uptown and bought some art supplies: two largish canvases and three tubes of cheap acrylic: cerulean blue, burnt sienna, and cadmium yellow deep. Since I have a tendency to use colors exactly as they come out of the tube (without doing much to mix them), I figure that if I add more varieties of color to my paint collection, I'll find myself painting with a less confined palette.
From Uptown, I drove out to the Home Depot, where I had a plan to buy the drywall I would need to finish the greenhouse upstairs. (I'd contemplated using plywood and particleboard for the interior walls, but had settled on drywall because of its superior performance as a thermal mass. It's also very cheap.) The main problem with buying drywall is transporting it home. In the past I've just had it delivered, but the shipping costs are not trivial and it would also be good to know of a way to haul it with my Subaru. I've successfully hauled plywood, which has the same dimensions as drywall, but plywood isn't anywhere near as fragile. To get the drywall home, I'd have to provide more distributed support than the Subaru's roof rack. So in addition to the eight sheets of four by eight half inch drywall ($9 each), I also bought two two by fours and a sheet of 7/16 inch OSB ($13.25). The older man working the contractor cash register seemed pretty obviously gay, a judgment I reached partly from the fact that he offered to find someone to help me load my drywall, a offer that I don't think I've ever gotten before. Usually I would decline such offers, but hoisting the drywall (which comes in two-sheet packets that each weigh 80 pounds) to the roof of my car is near the limits of what I can do on my own. First, though, I would have to assemble a patform using the sheet of OSB and the two two by fours.
I spaced the two by fours so the roof rack would fit snugly between them and ran them on either side of the middle of the sheet of OSB, centering the OSB over the Subaru as a stiff platform. (I'd brought a battery drill and some screws to help with the assembly. I also drilled holes through the two by fours so I could run ropes through it and secure its position on the rack. At some point in all of this I managed to slice the side of my right thumb open against the edge of a tape measure blade, and to keep from getting blood absolutely everywhere I had to make myself a crude bandage using a paper napkin and electrical tape. Meanwhile Eleanor was sprawled out on the asphalt nearby, where she delighted a small older woman dressed in bib overalls.
The cashier came out to help while I was still in the midst of building my platform, so he had to go back to cashiering before I had any use for him. By the time I was ready to load the drywall, he looked like he was busy, so I began loading it myself. It was possible to get that drywall up onto that platform, but I was probably risking the long-term health of my back as I did so. I'd loaded three quarters of the drywall before the cashier returned, scolding me about the danger I was placing myself in.
Later, back at the house, darkness had fallen but clouds seemed to threaten rain, so I had to unload the drywall without the assistance of daylight. I almost bashed in the windshield in the process of getting the first pair of sheets off the platform, so for the subsequent ones, I arranged a couple of sawhorses as an intermediate stage down from the Subaru's roof. This made the unloading much easier (they would have also greatly helped with the process of loading).
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