Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sixteen Years of More or Less Steady Work. Sometimes Less.

March 1996

(I know I said we would cook something up with my next post but I've been reminiscing. Food to come, promise.)

Sixteen years ago this month we moved into our house. We had experienced one set back after another in our search for a house and so by the time we looked at this one, Big 'Un and I were hesitant to admit to each  other how much we liked it. When we came up the stairs from the first floor and I turned around and saw the stairs to the third floor, complete with what we now call our mezzanine, my eyes were literally dazzled. I swear the air sparkled for me. But I held back and didn't start planning furniture placement. Nor did my husband begin planning his man-cave in the garage basement. We just didn't want to give in to loving it too quickly only to have to deal with another disappointment.

Even when our offer was accepted without a count-offer, we still held our breath. Sure enough, questions about a lien came up on the title search and we braced for heartbreak. I remember standing in the kitchen of my little house where we lived after getting married, telling my husband that I was moving on March 8th no matter what and there had better be a house in our name somewhere. As if that would clear the title. But March 7th rolled around and we found ourselves at the bank, signing on the dotted line. The widow we bought the house from told us that that day, March 7th, was three years to the day since her husband had passed away. I didn't tell her, since she didn't recognize me, but I had actually cared for her husband during one of his hospitalizations. That had been about a year before Big 'Un and I got married.

Anyway, I've written before about working on our old farmhouse (here, here, and here for a few instances). It's the house flip that never ends. The never-ending flip. The flip from hell. The flippin' flippity flip flip flip. But I disgress...

It was colder than snot on moving day- minus 8 degrees farenheit (-22 celsius for my metric butterflies) but sunny and clear and crispy. We had gotten snow the couple of days before so we had big dropcloths around to protect the carpet from tracked in snow as we dragged in furniture and boxes. What a joke- that was the last time we put down dropcloths to protect the carpet. Once we started in working on the house and really assessed the state of the floor coverings, the carpet became just one big dropcloth while we worked on other things. But anyway, we had lots of folks to help out on our moving day. We rented a truck but don't know why because my father-in-law brought his stock trailer. He had gone out the day before, in the bitter bitter cold, and sprayed out and scrubbed down his stock trailer to use for our move. What a guy. Sorry U-Haul but Pappy wins for any future moves.

Our moms spent the afternoon putting together the bed, even managing to find sheets, so we had an actual bed to sleep in that first night instead of the sleeping bags we were planning to use. Isn't that just like a couple of moms? They're great.

So we've been working on this very old house for 16 years. The house still had the nozzles in some of the walls for the original gas lights and we later discovered, during some walling tearing out projects, that the old tube and stop wiring was still in place from when the the house was first wired for electric (our re-wiring was the third). We used to say that we wanted to bring it into the current century before it was over but Y2K came and went and we're still pecking away at it. We did have about a three year lull when Zippy came along- it was just so much more fun to play with her than rip out plaster. She has, however, been able to finish dry wall since she was four years old. Now we're down to a very manageable punch list. We have odds and ends things, generally minor though I do have one room that I would like to re-paint. But overall the really big projects like replacing windows, re-wiring, new heater, new roof, moving walls, and so forth are done. And we re-did bathrooms.  There was one full bath and two half baths in the house when we moved in and now we have two full baths and a half bath. Each one was its own adventure.

This is the bath on the third floor, which is now The Master Floor. Sink and toilet, plastic faux-marble wall paneling with striped wall paper and some very groovy but gross blue carpet. Wouldn't you have re-done this room ASAP? We did, though ASAP turned out to be a couple of years  and one baby later, and now it's been re-done a second time since then. And that, my butterfly friends, is the story for next time.

Thanks for peaking in on me and I'll be back in a couple days to show you how this bathroom came out.

Have a great day!

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