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September 2013



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OH so grateful...

...for whatever fair wind brought us Mark Boone as a handyman.  I have HAD the other kind, all too often.  Like the guys who were supposed to remove my old roofing, 20 years ago, but someone neglected 5 layers of tarpaper on the flat part, discovered THIS time around?  The guys who charged my insurance company $900-plus for what should have been a $300 job to fix the kitchen ceiling?  The ones who said they laid new sewer line out to the alley, and certainly charged enough for it, but in fact went about 8 feet and hooked up to my neighbor's old broken clay one?  (Yes.  The one Joseph and I will now be dealing with together.) We just discovered that last year, when they brought in a tiny underground camera.  I couldn't believe it till I saw it with my own two angry eyes...

How about the guy I paid to fix my rotten floor in the bathroom, last SEPTEMBER, who left a leak so the toilet is rocking again, as in just over 7 months later, the flooring has rotted again, and the self-stick tile I didn't want in the first place has come loose, which I knew it would?  AUGH. 

Mark is honest, he tells me what needs doing and then SHOWS me, so I know he's straight with me.  He offers alternatives.  He gives bids and sticks with them.  He shows up when he says he's going to.  If something unexpected turns up, he actually feels bad about it.  He does the work and does it well (he fixed my leaky roof ages ago and it lasted 15 years, till that terrific hailstorm last year!  If I had known sooner that he was back to doing this kind of work I'd never have let anyone else in my house!)

The photo above is how the old chimney--soft, powdery bricks, mortar that fell apart into a sandpile--looked at mid-afternoon.  I just went over the check on the house and that pile is completely gone.  You wouldn't know it had ever been there if it weren't for a bit of sandy residue and the tire marks from his truck.  I'm so grateful I could cry.

(I went over and liberated a couple of the bricks for my bookbinding project this afternoon, though--they make great weights for text blocks.  I scrubbed them free of 100 years of soot and they're waiting till I have time to get back to binding...). 

On a somewhat less delighted note, we wondered why the bathroom floor was so thick, raised about an inch above the kitchen floor.  It's because rather than replace a rotting underfloor they just put layers of stuff on top of it.  Linoleum.  Oriented strand board.  Carpet.  Jeez.  I quit tonight because there's no light bulb in the bathroom (to be remedied tomorrow!) other than the light from the basement shining up from the edges and holes, I felt a strong need to know what I was dealing with as I wielded the crowbar.  I have no particular desire to end up precipitously in the basement...

The joists seem sound, so it really wouldn't be that difficult to FIX properly...I just wonder why no one HAS, in the last 20 or so years....

Check out the layers of wallpaper in the kitchen, like a time capsule.  That's 4-5 layers in there, counting the Contac paper I pulled down before this was taken.  Someone cared enough once to at least try to make it pleasant.  (OK, the orange stuff doesn't really do it for me, despite the fact that I like tall ships.*G*)

I talk to the house while I work.  I tell it it's going to be all right, that it's cared for now, that we'll fix it. 

And we will.


Found art

I hate to say it, but it also makes a wonderful abstract collage type painting. Squint yer eyes a bit. Just look at that cruciform design, the strong darks in the center, the interesting round and sharp shapes. Dammit Kate, even when you're ripping paper you're fabulous!

Re: Found art

LOL! You're a hoot, girlfriend!

But yeah, you're right, all those textures and patterns...hmmmmmmm....
i love the layers of wallpaper. history! :-)
Exactly! You can almost tell when each was done...the original IS very Victorian in feeling, and oh that 50s-60s orange! I've lived next door for a lot of years, and I have to wonder when the last layer was done--the last three occupants of the house over a period of 15 years were hardly the type to fix it up...
I have a "Mark" too Kate ... coincidentally, his name really IS Mark! Worth his weight in gold. So many of the tales you tell are paralleled in this house. It's taken us the better part of 17 years to undo what had been "done" to it all the while talking to the house (and our resident ghost whose name really is Caspar!) just like you. But the end results are oh! so worthwhile! Keep sharing. I'm lovin' the journey! :D
YES, worth his weight in gold is the perfect way to put that. He says it's nice to be appreciated, too!

I just put up new photos in the House Rescue album, here--
http://new.photos.yahoo.com/graphicartepsi/album/576460762396605717#page2 as usual at the bottom of the page.

It's really going to be wonderful when we finish!

In 17 years...*g*
Ah but the beauty of renovating is that it's never over. ;)
Ain't THAT the truth...I've lived in this house for 30 years this year, and I'm STILL doing it. Tweakie, tweakie, tweakie...
oh man..i hear ya!! I bought a 10 room house in my 20's..thought it was a good deal at 28k. Passed the plumbing inspection. One night i have a dream i am back in the country where i used to live by a stream. But i'm in the middle of town. go to the cellar..water pipe busted and the sound i am hearing is the water from a second floor bathtub draining onto the floor..That one pipe cost about $1500.gah!! A one hundred year old house is not a bargain when you live in an economically depressed area where jobs pay badly.

I did learn to do all sorts of repairs tho.

I don't want to stay in a condo forever, but the fee isn't bad and someone resided my place, put new insulation in,and painted 2 weeks after i moved in.
Yep, ours are both just over 110 years old. Funny, in both of them the original 4-room structure is in surprisingly good shape. The later additions have PROBLEMS. In both houses. (Of course maybe because that's where the plumbing was in both of them...the additions.)

You really do learn a lot, don't you?

But yes, my sis LOVES her condo...
The plumbing in my house seemed like an afterthought. I would never have planned bathrooms the way they were laid out in my place. Maybe it didn't have plumbing when first built in the 1800s.

My house had alot of add ons too. a porch, a side area..a
second floor back attic and mudroom..back staircase. sigh..way more doors and windows than any house in a cold climate should have.
It probably was an afterthought, if it was 100 years old...lots of houses didn't have it then, at least not an indoor toilet.

Houses like yours have a lot of charm, but yeah, HARD TO HEAT.
I left my ex..and the house..he didn't pay the mtg..so it was actually torn down..it's a small town..one of my friends said she drove by with her kids and they all cried. It was a great old place..wish i had the money i put into it tho:)
That's a sad end to all that work and history, isn't it...I don't blame your friend for crying!

And YES, since it got torn down, wouldn't it be great to have that money! We were the last humans to live in the house we had before this one...it was used for PIGS, and then donated to an historic site, which let it rot away on the ground. Siiiiigh...140 year old log cabin...
yes..i loved that house..but my ex was nutty and swiped it from me..(long story)..so finally ..i just let it go.,But i did meet my lovely (way too young) husband online and got married and moved to California. And i figure, sometimes you have to go through 1000 miles of bad road to get to a nice sunny spot by the ocean:)