Thursday, October 15, 2009


Remodeling--it's fun, exciting, expensive, and educational! We tell people all the time about the cartoon, that I carry in my daytimer AND have taped to our refrigerator--but mostly just burned into our brains--that shows Satan standing at the "doors" to the underworld. There are two choices for the poor bum waiting on the brink. One portal reads, "Burn for all eternity" and the other says, "Live in your home while you're remodeling". Satan quips, "Pretty much a toss-up, isn't it?!"

Yep. Well, I think so. As Handyman tore into the dining room wall after church, the rest of us shielded our plates from debris and I threw newspaper at #1 to tape over the heat vents in the floor--(which lead directly to our $10 million geothermal heat pump!)

#1, being a seasoned remodeling baby, went right at it, taping protection down. When it comes to heat, we women are pretty possessive and protective. We'll take every micro jule (or BTU or whatever) we can get.

I was proud of my little women. Nobody batted an eye as Daddy started yanking off planks of drywall while we ate. In fact, #1 got into it. It was a stress-reliever for her. What did surprise me (silly me), was that #3 didn't know much about how much we've done to the house that she lives in. She thought it had looked like this since we moved in!! Yikes!

Obviously, babies do not pay close attention to fiber-cement siding, custom window trim and the quality of interior doors. She did not realize that the nook used to be an outdoor deck and that the big spot of particle-board subfloor in her bedroom is where #1's closet was. She didn't know that her bedroom originally had one ridiculously small window AND a set of patio doors!

Fortunately, Handyman did insist that I make a remodeling scrapbook of this monstrosity we call home. During #3's short life, Daddy has been busy building the barn, the fence and now the treehouse, and she's seen very little work on our actual abode--a fact not lost on Handyman. I whipped out the scrapbook and showed her how the house looked when we first looked at it. In a word--ick.

I told her how we didn't move in for a month, while Daddy ripped up the original 1971 shag carpet, with the original 1971 cat pee stains. How he even ripped up the subflooring in our bedroom and we moved in with no carpet on the replacement subfloor.

I told her how that first winter, we only had the shower in the bathroom off the kitchen-the one with NO heat vent--to use. And how we took her sisters to Grandma's once a week for a bath. I showed her the pictures of the front doors, with the hideous blue siding and solid metal doors, that were the first thing to feel the crowbar when we came.

I think she was a little impressed. She quickly grew accustomed to the big orange extension cord trailing through the rooms and adapted well to the sawzall running while she played downstairs.

As I have seen time and time again, Handyman is much more organized in his processes (THANK GOD!), than I would be. I woulda cut the hole in the wall at 1pm, just to experience the thrill of light coming in, (and heat being sucked out!) But not my guy--he spent most of the day measuring and marking. Then he had to move some wiring around. Then he moved the insulation and built the header and framework, AND installed it, without touching the siding on the outside.

Then, I just happened to find a text from Hayfield Owner, from 3 days previous, asking if Handyman had gotten the window put in? And I just happened to text back that window installation was actually in progress at that very moment, if he was bored. Fortunately, Hayfield Owner was bored and he and his kids rode their bikes over, and stayed for dinner, PTL.

I'm sure if Handyman had continued on with me as the assistant, there would be a lop-sided hole in the wall, with garbage bags taped over it, while he had to go to "paying work" for four days. The window would be leaning up against the wall, with doodling on it and laundry stacked on top of it.

Handyman was able to move forward more quickly with knowledgeable, capable help and they ended up even saving the siding, to make a quick restoration of the outside. The new window went into place at about 8pm, rather than the predicted midnight. And boy was I glad there was someone besides me to stand on the scaffolding and heave it into place!

It was a little less than exciting since it was dark outside when it went in, but I think it got the remodeling bug going again in Handyman. Not that the treehouse is actually finished. There's that whole railing for the bouncy bridge, and railing for the porch side with the 14' drop. But, hey! They're kids! It's exciting for them, right?!

I would post pictures of the window, the sent-from-above helper and the Handyman in his bathrobe cutting insulation, BUT, #1 fell with my digital camera and it hasn't been happy since. So all those pictures are on this archaic device called a film camera and I'll have to drive somewhere to get them "developed".

I will leave you with a picture of the upcoming, massive project, which requires the assistance of knowledgeable people called, structural engineers! But, you can also see from this shot, what the entire house looked like, aesthetically, in the beginning. Unfortunately, you cannot see that the window trim is rotted and falling off, and the windows have lost their seals, etc. And you cannot smell the smell that sent the realtor back to her car--(it wasn't that bad.)

Wish us luck!

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