The World Between Floors, or, quite the lowered ceiling we've got

Back when the current building was built, there having been at least one previous on this foundation, they went for mega-tall ceilings. This became handy when they did major rewiring and plumbing later on, as they found the easiest way to do it was to do the work, running below the current ceiling, then when they were done, lowering the ceiling by 3-4 feet; the ceiling is still 8 feet or so, I mean, ya could have installed loft sleeping space before they lowered it. I'd be willing to say the upstairs hadn't previously been plumbed, given the way the plumbing is installed; I'd also say they weren't concerned with the plumbing being all that well organized, its quite the ugly jumble.

Anyway, there is around 3 feet between the old ceiling and the new rafters for the lowered ceiling, making it not too tough to maneuver between floors when doing additional wiring, things like running 14/2 grounded cable replacing 18/2 ungrounded; hey, we've even replaced some wire & tube stuff!

Getting between floors wasn't always easy. When my folks bought the place back in '76 [1976, that is], there was no access to between floors. That changed real fast, as we wanted to install new electrical services for the upstairs apartments, and upgrade from fuses to breakers, and install base-board heaters instead of central heating, all at the same time; we had to replace the main runs, at the least, and the baseboard heaters are 220, not 110. So we opened up the area under the stairs [talk about wasted space!] and made it possible to get between floors... by clambering up a ladder, twisting sideways, and doing all sorts of odd contortions to get back out onto the wobbly ladder my folks had for this purpose; sure, the electricians who did the initial work had a nicer ladder, ours was somewhat ... less nice.

Over the years we had reason to do more thorough rewiring, and I'd get sent up the ladder [crammed into the coat closet we'd set up in the under stair area], remove the jigsaw puzzles stored on a shelf we'd put in, remove the paneling behind the puzzles, then twitch around like an asthmatic fish out of water until I flopped into the worst section of between floors, then drag a trouble light and extension cord and tons of wire & supplies and tools and... you get the idea this was not my favorite activity? Add to this that the between floors had no floor, just rafters and plaster ceiling, one mis-step and down I go, as it were.

Given this, I tended to stay between floors as long as possible once there, maximizing my output at the expense of things like breaks and lunch, because getting in and out was such a pain.

Until the day I slipped.

[such a temptation to end the post there, do a continued next ish bit, but I'd not do that, especially since the follow-up post would be read first by late comers to the blog...]

I caught myself before I went sailing between the rafters, but I did have a nice view of my parent's bedroom I'd not had before, and noted that my [intercepted] trajectory would have terminated [possibly literally] with my head hitting the arm of a rocking chair.

I decided I was done for the day, and took the usual way back downstairs, via the ladder.

After reassuring ourselves that I was OK, Dad and I were looking at the [new] hole in my folks' bedroom ceiling, not looking forward to patching it, when Mom had a brilliant idea; why not install a pull-down ladder, the type they sell for attic access?

Hole in ceiling, not a bug, just an undocumented feature.

Pull-down ladder installed, much easier to get between floors. Then my moment of brilliance, how about wiring the between floors for power and light?

We've had occasion since to have workers in to do stuff between floors, and they love it, compared to other places they've had to struggle with. Plenty of room to maneuver, lots of light, power outlets every eight-ten feet, lights and power controlled by a GFCI outlet at the top of the pull-down ladder [using the 'test' button as the on/off switch], ah bliss [comparatively].

Still, moving around with my knees resting on the joists is less than comfortable, and as I develop arthritis downright painful, hence buying top-notch knee pads with gel liners a few years ago; haven't been between floors since, of course.

But, as noted yesterday, the knee pads also work well when working in The Yard. If adjusted properly so blisters don't form under the straps.

Which, as I didn't mention yesterday, I know how to do, but neglected to do as it was a bit more effort than I felt like just then...

I did mention that I'm an idiot, yes?

Post this Puppy!

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