I remember his words like it was just yesterday, “We should do the whole length of the counter. The installation will be easy.” With that, we decided to order a marble backsplash to go over our kitchen countertop to cover up a rather sorry looking paint job. We could have gone for tile, or just done the area right over the stove, but our friend (a former general contractor in the USA) knew a guy in the market who sold marble, so marble it was to be. It was hard to argue the cost of the home improvement project too. A slab of marble six meters long and a meter high came to a mere RMB 600 and my friend and I were doing the installation, so there was no labor costs or huge mess to clean up after a local contractor. What could go wrong?
Funny I should mention that. First of all, we neglected to consider how heavy six meters of marble would be. Fortunately, the vendor had to cut it in two to get it into the delivery cart or we would have needed several more hands just to hoist the backsplash into place. As luck would have it, the two of us could just manage the two pieces with minimal discomfort. That was until I decided to let my end slip and crush three of my fingers on my right hand.
I should explain that, at the time, the marble was in place for a fitting and fell on its end (in the upright position) on my fingers. Thus, the full weight of my end came down upon my (thankfully) gloved hand. Had the marble been a wee bit higher, I’m sure it would have crushed the bones and joints into little splinters. Fortunately, it was only a few inches above my hand when it slipped off, but it managed to apply enough weight and downward force to leave a wicked purple stripe across my finger tips and bruise the inside of my fingers.
That was three weeks ago. We managed to finish the job, despite repeated applications of ice to my right hand during the instillation process. The wall looks much better and cleaner. The good doctor at Beijing United Family Hospital assured me that nothing was broken, however I did take a couple of weeks away from the keyboard until the swelling went down. Now only the middle finger is still sensitive to touch. It is surprising how often a finger gets bumped, brushed against, and scraped throughout the day. Painfully surprising.
Despite the pain, I still think doing the installation ourselves was worth the effort. The next time someone needs a job like this done, I’ll be able to volunteer my services as a general contractor of sorts – you know, the guy who stands behind the others, telling them what they are doing wrong as they lift the incredibly heavy marble slap into place. I’ll be happy to keep my fingers on the pulse of the project without actually keeping my fingers on the project.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons