Archive for August, 2011
It’s been awhile since my last post. It seems that summer has been slipping by rapidly. I’ve been working pretty hard most days, trying to get as much done as possible before packing up to head back to Ontario, and later on, to head southwest to Bisbee. When I arrived here this spring, I had it in mind to try to finish repairing and painting the exterior of the house. However, the weather pattern here this summer has been such – a couple of sunny days followed by a day or two of showers – that finishing up seemed out of reach. This week, the pattern seems to have broken and I got a window of about five hot, sunny days. Determined to make the best of things, I got back to work on the front of the house.
Now, as some of you may recall, I have been stuck at the just-above-half-way point since last summer. Part of that was due to weather and running out of time, but part was due to my inability to figure out a way to work quite a few feet above my comfort zone. You see, I have never really liked working much over 10 feet above the ground. Anything above that starts to push my personal tolerance levels – so I was stuck at the point where I could not advance without coming up with a method to go higher. Indeed, I finally did figure out a way – using an extension pole with paintbrush taped to the end, and wielded while standing near the top of my tallest step ladder. It was a little awkward, but the work went surprisingly well. The front of the house is now finished, and I have just a part of the east side to complete and I will be done – not counting the north facing side with the ashphalt shingle siding which – hopefully – will be replaced next season.
In any case, finishing up the front feels like some kind of milestone. The house finally seems more like a house and less like an abandoned wreck. I have posted the above and next photos as reminders for all of you who have been following this sometimes crazy project. Yes, the house really did look this bad when I rolled into the yard for the first time in April 2010. As some may recall, I bought the property “sight unseen” except for photos and video clips. What I may or may not have mentioned is that Don and I had seen this house whenever it appeared in the MLS listings from time to time going back several years before. I would show it to him and he would always scowl and say the place looked too wrecky. My decision to buy the place was made all that much more difficult knowing that he would probably have thought it would be too much work – perhaps more than I could manage. However, if he could be here now, and see how beautiful the property is looking after this season of trail clearing, and how nice the house is looking as I have finished plastering and painting more han half the upstairs this summer – and now finishing up most of the exterior – well, I believe he would feel pleased and glad that I gave the old place a chance. True, I am a long way from done. The basement is still such a mess – it looks like an old mineshaft down there – but I will work at it next season – the same way I have worked at the other parts – with a sort of patient determination.
I suspect that most of you have lost track of how long I have been alone now. On September 6th, it will have been three years. It has been a hard three years – lonely, sad, tiring, challenging, sometimes infuriating. I am not much for keeping track of dates or even the time. To be quite honest, these days, I don’t really care much about time, or what is happening outside of the little sphere in which the dogs and I exist. I just work away every day, trying to get by as best as I can. I know that friends and family hope that things will be better some day. In many ways, I guess they are – mostly because I just keep on moving and try not to think too much about life. Mainly I just work on the old house. To me, it seems sort of like a rescue mission – rescuing this old place from the oblivion that has taken a few other noble old houses along this road. And in return, maybe the old house is doing its best to rescue me. There must be some good in that, don’t you think?
Note: I have put up a little slideshow of photos of recent progress on the old place – mostly having to do with the plaster work upstairs. If you are interested, you should be able to find it here. Hope the link works.