Renovating this house has been an educational experience of sorts. I learned to properly use dust masks by pinching the metal part to fit your face. I have discovered signs indicating a termite infestation. I have seen the usefulness of putty knives, and I have a whole new set of vocabulary words – utility bar, squares, caps, sistering, blocking, etc.
A possible result of my ongoing renovation education, I have been become a much better bargain hunter. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been fond of sales and saving money, it’s just that I don’t usually go out and hunt these things down. It all started when I hired a new contractor. He is my uncle’s good friend, but lives out-of-state. So, I am in charge of getting materials for the upcoming jobs. Armed with my list, I have contacted every hardware store, lumber supplier, and siding manufacturer that I could find within 45 miles. I looked for the best prices, made comparisons, called for estimates, and wrote everything down in handy lists. I even learned how to make double-sided copies on the machine at work to run the lists off! I checked for deals, I found coupons. Basically, I did everything I could to save money, and more importantly, I think it worked out. Lowes was having a sale on windows, so every one of them was 15% off. I signed up for moving coupons. I found french doors on clearance. I received discounts from sales people trying to beat my other estimates. Ultimately, I think we manages to save quite a bit, even though the front door was a bit of a splurge. I saved some money, I learned some new skills. Both pretty valuable to this renovation…although, finding a bag of gold under the floorboards would probably be more helpful.
Be still, my moldy heart!
So, my sister and I have been slowly and gradually cleaning up the house. The outside construction has yet to begin, and outside stuff is not really my area of expertise anyway. So, while I’ve been cleaning, I’ve made all kinds of little …discoveries. Most of these are not welcome discoveries. One of my moldings has succumbed to dry rot. Many of the floorboards will have to be replaced, as they have been eaten away by wolves, rotted, or are damaged by some other random occurence. Outside, one of the floor joists has rotted, and parts of the original porch posts have been demolished. I have some extras in the areas we are enclosing that I hope can be used to replace the others. This all brings me to today’s discovery…mold. I knew the house was moldy, it has been unoccupied for 9 months. Yet, I did not expect a veritable petri dish on my walls; a mini ecosystem inhabiting my home! Yes, today I found fuzzy walls, and not fuzzy from wolf fur! Luckily, I have never been prone to hysterics.
So, it’s days like this I have to look at the positives. I mean, not all the discoveries are bad. The house has lovely, elaborate, Queen Anne style door hinges. You can’t buy those anymore, and they are definitely a nice feature. The cast iron fireplace inserts are all intact. I love the look of them. The living room and dining room floors are in great shape. The foundation is solid, and so everything else can be repaired, right? Truthfully, it is all a labor of love, I guess. That, or my over-developed visualization skills. I can see what it will look like when it is finished, and it’s beautiful. That is the image that drives me. Unfortunately, the distance from where the house is at now, to that image, is a little bit further, considering I didn’t envision living in a terrarium. Oh well, good thing I have a whole bottle of Clorox.