Home » Bitch Session: Drilling into Concrete Sucks

Bitch Session: Drilling into Concrete Sucks

This story ends with the problem being fixed but only after one marital dispute, a temper tantrum (mine) and a broken new drill. In short, drilling into concrete sucks. In long, sometimes having an old house sucks* because of all the little things that come with it that are just a pain in the ass. Fair warning, this might turn into just a shit ton of curse words and complaints.




Remember how I was all like, I’m going to paint the side of our garage a bee-yoo-tiful and bright color? And then do some stuff to it that’s going to make it pretty and be SO MUCH better than the ugly cinderblock that was there before? You all went on that journey with me and helped me pick out paint color and it was all good when I blended colors and got that feeling and look that I wanted?

Next was to get lattice, which I found and stained. This was also over the same holiday weekend when I painted and all of this amounted to what I remember being five trips to Home Depot over the course of four days, which was not good for my psyche. It also was an ordeal unto itself as I had to rent a truck to get the lattice home and all of a sudden everything having to do with the lattice – getting it home and buying stain – cost almost as much as the actual lattice!** (Grrrr, I remember when I spent this much time and thought into shopping for shoes and clothing, and cared about style that I wore and not actually lived in. WTF has happened to my life?!)

So wall paint done, lattice done, and now we’re two weeks into the project and I’m like, “Dude, let’s finish it. I have lattice just hanging out in the garage and I want it on the wall, stat.” <—— This is me talking to myself but also to my husband, who I refer to as “Dude” on social media.

Daniel goes, “No, we gotta build a cage to protect our tomatoes since we planted three last year and bitch squirrels ate all but two.” ALL BUT TWO TOMATOES OFF OF THREE TOMATO PLANTS. And by “ate,” I mean took a bite out of and dropped to rot and taunt us. I really wanted our pup to kill a squirrel so we could put its head on a spike to warn the others but she didn’t. So, he was right, we needed to do that and we did and blah blah blah.

But he also warned me that we didn’t have the proper equipment to drill screws into concrete. We know this because we hung a few pictures into the concrete wall inside the garage last year as part of our Boss Bar decor and it was hard (literally), difficult, frustrating and time consuming. Even with a concrete drill bit.

We hung some pictures in Boss Bar by drilling into concrete and it was hard, literally and not literally.

And we are primed to be aggravated by drilling anything into our walls now after what ended up being almost half a day trying to screw holes into plaster to hang shelves in our mudroom. Plaster sucks. I mean, I know it’s hardy material but it makes styling a space difficult. We also ran into problems hanging photos in our master bedroom because of whatever those walls are made of. Just trying to hammer in nails led to a lot of bent nails, a foul mood, feeling like a failure, and a crooked row of photos that I’m now thinking of removing anyway. I recently read this post by Daniel Kanter of Manhattan Nest that helped me feel better about the travails of drilling into plaster and the issues with studs. Like, phew, it’s not us, it’s them (the walls, that is)!

So I say this all as a lead up to when we tried to screw in concrete screws into the newly painted exterior garage wall with our regular drill and it didn’t work. Daniel got in three screws only part way and added many holes to my bee-yoo-tiful  wall. Some things were thrown and some things were said in frustration and that was the end of yet another weekend when this project wasn’t finished. I am speedy. I like to get shit done. And this project was now three weeks in and feeling nowhere near finished. Fuck concrete walls and simple house projects!

So I bought a hammer drill since I read that would be useful. It both hammers and screws a screw into masonry. I also bought a masonry screw installation kit. After reading the directions several times, I climbed the ladder and bravely went where neither person in this couple has gone before: I used the hammer drill. For 10 seconds. Things went haywire, in part because when I took my finger off the trigger it wouldn’t stop, which is a super scary feeling when you’re by yourself atop a ladder wielding a machine that has an action similar to a jackhammer but, you know, not quite. I had to drop it on the ground, jump to the outlet and unplug it in order for the drill to stop working. What the fuck, man?!***

The new hammer drill and accoutrements, before things went haywire.

And then I started to lose my shit. The chuck on the drill was no longer working, meaning it couldn’t grip a drill bit, and, since we had tried our regular drill before and that didn’t work and I wasn’t about to go to Home Depot as I’d already been there that morning, I was feeling defeated and agitated that we were coming to the end of the fourth week and again not finishing this project.

And then, my husband came to the rescue. This is important to note because he was really sick, had been home from work for a few days, and sounded, looked and felt like shit. He saw me on the verge of a Hulk-like breakdown in which the entire world was going to pay for how much it sucks to drill into concrete, and he took action. He reread the manual on our regular drill, looked at the new installation kit and concrete drill bit drivers I bought for the new hammer drill, and made it work. With a stronger torque option on the drill that we hadn’t noticed previously, the new bits and drilling only into the mortar instead of the actual concrete, we were able to screw in 8 concrete screws and hang the lattice.

Husband to the rescue.

When he was done, I said to him, “I love you, you’re the best. I mean it this time,” which made him laugh even though he hated that he had to get out of his sick bed to save the day.

The two of us after the Drilling into Concrete Sucks Fiasco of July 2017.

So here is what the wall looks like now. Next is to figure out a hanging pot situation (do I buy cheap and in bulk, do I thrift, or do I really complicate matters and take a ceramics class and make my own pottery?) and then add plants with vines.

The lattices hung up and ready for planters and other pretty things.

* I didn’t mean it, old house. I love you, I do. But God damn, sometimes you’re the worst.

** In truth, the lattice was almost free because of a friend named Maryellen who, for no reason other than she is super nice and I don’t deserve such niceness, got me a $50 gift certificate to Home Depot, which I used to purchase the two pieces of lattice. (After this month, by the way, I officially hate the word “lattice.” Say it. Isn’t it weird to say over and over?)

*** I returned it and got a refund.

6 comments

  1. Ruth says:

    What a wonderful husband! Isn’t it a bitch when a “simple project” turns into a multi step time suck? Sometimes home ownership is the pits.
    Wow, your new trellis looks wonderful up against that beautiful paint!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *