January 23 & 24, 2010
Mom came over and we put frosted covers on the front door panels. It is immeasurably better than brown paper. We also hung towel bars in the bathroom and she re-mudded some areas of poor drywall installation (when you diy, you re-diy too). Dad finally found the stud finder (hidden in plain sight) and we hung a heavy shelf but found the mirror had a flaw, so we took that back. Apparently there are no more like it in all of middle Tennessee, so I’m still looking for a mirror for above the sink. I did get a sheet of vinyl to put under the dining table where there was only impossible-to-clean plywood before. “Vinyl where there was none” got added to my list of fun phrases (try “new maneuvers” in your mouth.) It’s basically a vinyl rug, but I’m okay with that until that room is redone for good. Along with nailing down the thresholds and filling some cracks with Great Stuff foam, I’m ready for more people to come over.

January 13, 2010
How have I not noticed all the outlet and switch covers that are missing? Six I’ve found so far. I think a good invention would be built-in insulation behind the cover with adhesive to seal it around.
UPDATE: Apparently, that’s already been invented.

January 9, 2010
I painted the floor at the end of the hall and tried to pull up some old carpet staples to no avail. I also hung some pictures on the walls.

January 8, 2010
Not sure this counts as a renovation, per se, but I recovered the backs of two picture frames with brown paper. I think I might actually hang some pictures up tomorrow.

January 6, 2010
By hook or by crook, I am making over this old house. According to the Grands, only past 80 is old; my house is almost there.

I like to say I bought it for the four fireplaces and 10-foot ceilings, but more than that, I wanted to live in a place much older than me to prove that the world existed before me. The house is not just old, either, but misshaped and even scarred in ways as people certainly are bound to be in their lifetimes. Still, she stands intact. As I unpuzzle the history of the house by spending time (literally) inside its walls, I am learning how to carry my own history.

For instance, the house was converted at one point into a duplex–separate entrances, two kitchens, two AC units–even two sets of washers and dryers when I moved in! A handyman told me several houses this age were duplexes in very early days–the Great Depression and World War II eras so that expenses could be shared among those left at home when the men went to work and war far away. I tend to think the split in this house is not that old; nevertheless, as I reintegrate the two sides of the house I think of a person with two personas. Don’t we do that? We fashion compartments (how strangely close to apartments!) in our lives out of necessity or comfort or denial. Putting ourselves back whole takes time and resolve.

The house was derelict for some time. Older neighbors remember a pair of overgrown trees that enveloped the tiny front yard and mostly covered the eyesore. They recall fondly when the previous owner finally took down the misfit trees, cleaned up the property and put a new roof, windows and siding on. There are sections of the wood floor  replaced and mismatchedand many plaster walls and ceilings piece-meal patched during this cleanup. It reminds me of repairs and workarounds that fill even the happiest lives. Even as I know and love this imperfect house, I am assured my imperfect self is accepted and treasured by a gracious God.

Aside from waxing poetic, I have made some improvements and have many plans for more. This winter and spring I’m doing some work I’ve left unfinished, then I can start on another room in the summer. I began the renovation project by turning one of the kitchens into the master bath and walk in closet last year, but there are touch ups and trim and such that still need attention.


One Response to “Renovation”

  1. I love this image: “Don’t we do that? We fashion compartments (how strangely close to apartments!) in our lives out of necessity or comfort or denial. Putting ourselves back whole takes time and resolve.”

    As I am unable to really write right now, I’ll just have to ponder your beautiful words for a while and think about what I’m compartmentalizing and what needs to be made whole again. I’m excited about your new blog and your 2010 plan. Can’t wait to read more about it!

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