After discovering the box o’ ductwork, I spent some time scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. Jim and I met a couple times to try to figure out a solution, but no clear solution proved forthcoming until I met with Pat, the guy we hired to tile the fireplace. I explained the problem to Pat, who does kitchen and bathroom remodels singlehandedly, and he started thinking about what we ought to do.
After some discussion, we agreed that Pat would take over the project from here, since he can finish everything that needs to be done on his own. This choice took a huge weight off my mind — the project may still take a while to finish, but we aren’t going to have the same scheduling gaps and down days just waiting, and I know who’s going to do what. Also, Pat is clearly a creative guy who enjoys problem-solving; his business is called Creative Home Works. A little ducting puzzle doesn’t faze him at all.