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.
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.