CJDaily's Blog

November 21, 2009

Charm is expensive, but worth it.

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 11:22 pm

When Jesse and I first walked through this old stone farmhouse, we saw some of its flaws, sure.  But I was mostly looking at its potential, at all its charm.  Now that we have full possession of this ancient beast, I walked through with fresh eyes going, “Wow, so it’s OUR job to fix all this, huh?”  It felt something like that scene in Jaws… we’re going to need a bigger boat!

Intimidation factor notwithstanding, the house is awesome.  The addition on the back was built only a year ago, and so has new windows and heat and will be the “base camp” where life is livable while we work on the whole rest of the house.  It needs new windows in almost every room, and not just new windows themselves, but new frames because the wood is literally just rotting away.  But the sills are deep enough that a full grown man can sit comfortably in them (Jesse did, in fact) and each one has a beautiful view of the woods, no matter where you are in the house.  The chimney needs to be repaired because it is leaking water into the wall on the west side of the house (the cow-side we call it, the horse-side is east) and the house will be ruined shortly if it isn’t fixed.  Oh and every wall needs to be stripped of about nine layers of uneven, awful paint, and totally sanded and repainted.  EVERY.  WALL.  IN.  THE.  HOUSE.

Do you know how many walls are in a house?  Not to mention things that you don’t think of as walls, like the stairwell?  The walls that need to be stripped and painted include the front hall, kitchen, bathroom, summer kitchen, front room, dining room, library, stairwell, upper landing, and all three upstairs bedrooms.  Oh and maybe 3 of these rooms need new ceilings, and 2 of them need haphazard old closets torn out and rebuilt, and 1 of them needs the floor torn up and replaced.  Actually, several of them need the floor replaced, but we’re working on a “if you’re not falling through it, it’s good enough to ignore for a year or two” kind of mentality. 

Notice how I didn’t mention the bathroom yet?  That’s because every inch of our bathroom is in such dire need of repair that it makes me think of a torture chamber–I literally flinch every time I walk through the door.  Where do I begin?  Possibly with the color of the room, a deep purply rose, which might not sound too bad to you except that when I say the whole room is this color, I mean even the toilet itself is a solid block of purple.  Only it’s not SOLID, per se, because part of the floor under the toilet is, how do I put this, MISSING?  As in, not existing?  As in, “Careful when you sit down because if you lean at all to the left you are going to pitch right into the wall as the toilet gives way.”  I”ve seen subway station bathrooms that looked cozier and more inviting than our bathroom.  The shower works, but I was not, I regret, brave enough to step into the tub, (also deep purple), which is covered in several decades of grime, despite a good hour of a very brave and lovely man attacking it with several gallons of bleach.  It was caulked, at some point, when the tub must have been still wet, as the caulk is swollen, sticking out of every crack like a festering wound, and yes, you guessed it, painted over with purple paint!

The floors are tile, with random nails sticking up here and there, ready to send an unwary pee-er rushing off to get a tetanus shot.  The tiles are also purply, and extend up to cover the walls, in lieu of wallpaper.  The windowsill is also, inexplicably, covered in tile.  The tiles were obviously all laid by someone who had been drinking heavily before wielding their caulking gun, as they are all askew, unsymmetrical, and in some places, missing.  The radiator in the corner emerges from a hole in the floor where said drunk person must not have felt like putting anything under it, as it would have been too aesthetically pleasing.  I realise it sounds like I must be making all this up, it can’t be THAT bad, you’re thinking, but I assure you only the bravest man would wander into its dim purple glow after dark.  I would have taken pictures of it but I was too busy screaming in general horror. 

But I love the house, I DO, despite it’s obvious fixer-upper-ness.  It’s going to need a lot of love, and a lot of time, and a lot of money to help it reach its potential, but I can see it there, under all the crazy layers of paint.  This house was once a lovely home, and we just have to remind it of what it can be!  And buy a lot of paint stripper!


November 16, 2009

This old house (and its old stuff).

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 11:10 pm

This past Saturday I was sitting on the living room floor in front of Jesse while he scratched my back.  Belle looked up from where she was playing and wanted to be in on the love so she came and sat in front of me so I could scratch her back simultaneously.  I laughed out loud and commented that we had made a little train.  From in front of me, Belle piped up, “Choo-choo!”

It’s the little things like that that make it all worth it. 

I haven’t written in a while because things have just been hectic.  Between work, house nonsense, weekly Bible study, commuting to PA every weekend, and taking care of Belle, life has been a whirlwind.  Every Monday comes too soon, and every Friday I say, “Hey that went fast!”  Settlement on the house is this weekend, and I’ve been hesitant to post anything about it because part of me feels like it’s a fairy cottage that will disappear before we can get too close.  I won’t really exhale until I see the key in Jesse’s hand.

We are not, however, too reluctant to buy anything to put into our little dream house and have been picking up little antiques here and there, selecting pieces that feel like home to us.  Old cabinets, antique tables, little carved footed chairs, anything that suggests to us that it has the kind of charm and appeal that our little house has too.  We both like things old– give us faded wood, peeling paint, and splintery boards any day over the new and gleaming.  I like to look at things and know they’ve been owned and used by people long before us, and that they all have their own story to tell. 

If you’ve seen my Facebook as of yesterday, you’ll see some of the things we’ve accquired.  Most of it is practical–as few things have no use other than we loved them too much to leave them behind.  I don’t feel guilty owning an ancient and charming spinning wheel… obviously I’m neither Sleeping Beauty nor Rumplestiltskin’s princess but the wheel called to me and Jesse as soon as we saw it.  Going to an estate sale on the last day has its merits–you may have missed some of the finer pieces but the prices are lower, and we got the spinning wheel for a song.  Now to learn to spin straw into gold!

Congratulations are due to my dear friends Laurie and James Batzel for the birth of baby Charlie this week!  I can’t wait to meet him.


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