#1. There’s nothing to stop the wind in a thunderstorm. We had a big thunderstorm the other night, and everything that was on our front porch here ended up airborne. We had carpet we’d pulled out of the master bedroom, a swing that wasn’t attached yet, a table, and a box of my clothes that Pete had unloaded but hadn’t carried into the house. That’s how I came to be laying in the wet grass at 10 at night, holding a flashlight, looking in the poison ivy infested underbelly of the LP tank for my granny panties.
Appliance Hell July 27, 2008
Our new appliances were to be delivered last Tuesday. It was also the day that my cousin started work on the porch, the Culligan man was coming with the water softener, my inlaws were coming to check out the house, Thing 2 had a second reading class, someone was coming to the old house to look at repairs, and at least a half dozen other things that I can no longer remember because my brain is fried.
Darryl and Darryl Delivery brought the stove in, then said they couldn’t hook it up. This wasn’t entirely unexpected, and my husband assured me he could handle putting it in later. Darryl said he’d LOVE to put in the microwave, but it needed an outlet put in first. Then the fridge. Oh god, the fridge. It was in a billion pieces on the lawn, the storm door was in a billion and two pieces on the lawn and then, THEN, Darryl and Darryl decided to measure the fridge and then the door. Apparently one can NOT get a 32 inch fridge through a 31 inch door no matter how much you ask it to hold its stomach in.
So, the fridge went back from whence it came, and no one has had time to go look for a new one. We have a little tiny dorm fridge and, as of today, our deep freeze. My brother installed the stove yesterday and tried to install the microwave, but decided it won’t fit. Today we decided to take out the cupboards over the stove, and put the microwave there. In the meantime, we have my grandfather’s old microwave (that did NOT come from this house), which is large enough to cook an entire pig, apple and all.
Speaking of fridges, one of my all time favorite books refound in the move:
A little at a time… July 15, 2008
The dining room still needs work, but we’re getting closer. It still needs touch up work, and the trim on the windows hasn’t been finished. I do like the way it looks though. I was afraid that the bottom color would look too dark when we got it on. I really like the yellow. I think we’ll use a lighter shade of the same color for the master bedroom.
Those are monster windows aren’t they? We measured yesterday, they’re 6 1/2 feet tall. I felt pretty stupid as I spent a long time scraping paint from a prior trim job off the window, then taping it so we could repaint it. Only after I’d finished did it occur to me that we might as well have just painted it without tape and then scraped old and new paint at the end. At least we realized that there was an easier way before I did the second window too.
I also started prepping trim and clearing wallpaper in the master bedroom. I was planning to use Wallwik (http://www.wallwik.com/) to remove the wallpaper. In a very brief Internet search, I found some good reviews for it.
Apparently it’s even more of a wonder product than I had realized. I ordered it last week, and when it came I shoved the box into the mbr where it sat for several days before I got around to opening the box. On Sunday I finally got everything ready (well, I finally remembered to bring a bucket to mix everything in), and was ready to start using the Wallwik. First I wanted to pull off a little piece of wallpaper that looked loose. Twenty minutes later, almost all the wallpaper was off that wall with absolutely no product used at all. Apparently the mere presence of Wallwik will frighten old paper into falling off the wall.
My panel of wallpaper experts dropped by yesterday afternoon and determined that I should now NOT use the Wallwik. They feel the paper underneath the top layer is acceptable enough for painting, while the plaster under that might be questionable. I’m going to test paint a small area, but I trust their judgement way more than I trust mine. I was toying with the idea of pulling down the paper on the other walls in the mbr, but they pointed out that the one other problem spot could be pulled down, and then the rest left alone. I’m kind of itching to do it, but I think if I lay down in a dark room the urge will pass.
It still needs some prep work too, but here’s where the master bedroom is at:
There are still a few bits of wallpaper to be cleared, but that’s more a matter of needing a better ladder. I was standing on that step stool when I suddenly pictured myself falling right through the window. The ground is a long way down from there.
This week’s plan involves moving more stuff, finishing the paint in the dining room, and finishing the prep in the mbr for painting. That sounds a little ambitious now that I think about it.
While we’re doing all that, the electrical work is proceeding. This is good as we discovered while painting that if you plug the vacuum in while the ceiling fan is on, they’ll both conk out. The fix involves jumping up and down in the kitchen to jiggle something in the basement back into place. I don’t think that’s probably a good sign.
Prep work July 10, 2008
I’ve been out to the house several times over the last few days. Today I’m finally going to move a few things and start getting the dining room prepped to paint.
The red is a little too cranberry for me. I’m going to paint over the stenciling too, although I feel very guilty doing so. It obviously took a long long time to do and it’s very nice. It’s just not really my taste.
So, I’m going to sand those down a bit, and put Killz over them and the red. I also hope to scrape the windowsills a bit as the paint is really flaking there. I’d like to get the room painted over the weekend, but I’m not sure how far we’ll get.
I’d also like to get some of the wallpaper down in the master bedroom. It’s peeling in a couple of places and needs to be removed on at least one wall before we paint in there. I did pull up a corner of the carpet in the master bedroom to see what’s underneath. It looks like painted hardwood. I think after the wallpaper comes down, the carpet will come up. I don’t think the floor is in great shape, but it’s certainly better than the carpet!
I think I’ll feel better once we start to actually get things ready. I feel like we’ve been undecided for ages and it’s starting to frustrate me. The kids would move into today if they could, but I really think we need to fix that pesky bare wire issue before we start sleeping there.
Dream House July 7, 2008
When I was little, I loved going to my grandparent’s house. Just a few miles from our own house, it was a completely different type of farmhouse. My grandfather moved to town in 1980, and although my dad still farmed the ground, I’d only been in the house once since. Every now and then I dream about being on the farm. Creeping up the back staircase, hiding in the barn, or chasing kittens around the crib. I’ve thought about the farm many times over years and wondered what the house looked like on the inside.
In late March, my mother began a conversation with “Before I tell you this, your father said to tell you ‘Don’t even think about it!'” I was fully engulfed in the fundraiser from hell, so when she told me the tenants were moving out after 28 years, I thought, “Gee, it would have been nice to live there.” Then I moved on the 1,137 things I had left to do before the fundraiser was over.
Two weeks after the fundraiser from hell was over (except for the 1,153 things left to wrap up), my mother called to say that she thought I ought to know my dad was telling the farm owners that his daughter was interested in renting the house. While I’m sure this was news to them, it couldn’t possibly have suprised them as much as it did me. Apart from that two minute conversation with my mother, and an even briefer discussion with my husband, I hadn’t even thought about the house. Let alone thought about us living in it.
The idea began to grow on me though. Quickly and thoroughly, I was sucked in. The barn is gone, any cats have been eaten by coyotes, and in some areas the house hasn’t aged well. Still, my husband and I took a tour. And then my father, my brother and I went around and around and around. Should the house be saved or bulldozed? Would the owners be willing to put money into it, or would they feel their ties to it become smaller as the cost of repairs grew larger? Were Pete and I aware of the issues of living in an old house?
In the end, my brother drew up a list of immediately needed repairs. Things that had to be fixed before the house could safely be inhabited. My husband cringed at the thought of living in a house one step from being condemned, but reluctantly agreed to give it a try. Last Thursday after three very confusing months, everyone finally agreed that a few things would be fixed, and we would rent the house for a year.
I don’t know that this house is really our dream house. I suspect that for each thing we were forwarned about, two more unexpectedly unpleasant things about living in the country will turn up. I’m hoping we love it. I’m hoping that the peace and the space will turn this from a farmhouse fling into a long term home.