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This Old House

It seems whenever there is too much going on, DH and I have the inate ability to just tack on more.  This go-round, we are in the midst of getting ready for vacation when DH gets the urge to finally finish the upstairs hallway.

A few years ago, on the eve of Hurricane Irene, we were hunkered down with then-five month old T when we heard the unmistakeable sound of dripping water.  We soon discovered the source, coming from the roof through the ceiling in T’s room, placed some buckets and crossed our fingers.  The aftermath of Irene involved replacing the now-soaked horsehair plaster ceilings throughout the upstairs, as well as the electricity that shorted when it got wet.  The final piece, a five by five section of hall, sat exposed to the roof rafters for THREE YEARS.

I love our house.  And hate our house.  I love to hate it, and sometimes hate myself when I’m in the midst of hating it.  But I absolutely cherish the history of our home and neighborhood.  I moved many, many times growing up and into adulthood; we are now blessed to live on a street with multiple neighbors who actually grew up on the same block.  We bought our home from a gentleman who was raised in it and still lives on the corner.  And I am beyond excited to celebrate the centenial of our house next year.
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Yes, the horsehair plaster that covered splintery pine lathing strips to create walls was beyond disgusting.  As was the black soot from the chimneys, which fell from the ceiling and covered EVERYTHING.  But it amazes me to see how these rowhouses were built, pieced together with the adjoining house.  To peel back the layers (and layers) of wallpaper.  Pull the floor to the original hardwood and wonder what long lost coverings filled the voids left behind.  Find little tidbits of the past in the walls and ceilings – square nails, broken china, a spoon.  My husband indulges me as best he can as I plead with him to “be careful!” pulling floor boards so they can be repurposed, or find a spot to put our found treasures- now carefully wrapped with a note to future owners – before he covers whatever hole he’s created.  It’s about karma, really, and respect – that Old Lady was there way before us, and will continue her reign long after we are gone.

For now, another project done.  If the pattern holds, the dust will have plenty of time to settle before my next chance to peek into the past.

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Plumb(er) Crazy

I love my husband, I really do.  But sweet MOTHER are there days when I find myself day-dreaming about the bliss that would be life without him sharing my living space.

Our house has been in a state of renovation and reconstruction for what seems like eternity.  We spent the first two years in happy obliviance to the many, many, many things that need to be repaired, replaced, or burned to the ground.  But now the ball is rolling, and there is no turning back.  So far the changes have been the result of my careful planning (read:  after months of not being able to decide what to do, I had a dream and woke up with the clarity of design).  Unfortunately DH thinks he is the project manager when, let’s be honest, I clearly excel at that role.  Between the battles and lines in the sand we have made some headway.  And then came the plumbing.

For over a year we have talked about renovating our bathroom and installing an additional one on the second floor.  We’ve spent hours in Home Depot discussing tile; cruised the warehouse dedicated to all things plumbing, picking out tubs and toilets; and wasted entire afternoons firing questions at the poor guy manning the desk at the granite wholesaler.  I’m not sure how, in all that time, one simple fact escaped us:  My husband is the world’s worst plumber.

Not only is he a horrible plumber, but he hates it and complains about the process the entire time he’s working on a project, which is dragged out as only a professional procrastinator could master.  Case in point:  Last August our tub sprung a leak and we came downstairs to see water dripping through the ceiling and into the kitchen.  DH’s response to turn the water off and resort to the tiny shower in the basement.  Which may be great for a man but not feasible for, well, me, and it’s quite clear by this ridiculous plan just who it is in this family that is in charge of bathing our toddler.

After seven months of this, my parents were in town and my dad happened to mention how simple the fix to the tub would be.  I was stunned, considering DH had held my pestering about that particular repair at bay with allegations that The Tub Would Need to Be Replaced and The Entire Bathroom Floor Will Have to Come Out.  But now I was on to him, and it would be repaired!  One month, $100, seven trips to Home Depot and countless badgerings later, I got a phone call at work.  “Your tub is fixed!   I just need some zip ties, so if you have any at the office bring a few home.”  And it’s back to the basement shower for me.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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