The Verdict is in...

I've been hanging out at this new property, reveling in my good find but realizing that finding a house with 'good bones' doesn't negate the fact that there is a mountain of work ahead to dress those bones and make them look nice. For those of you who have renovated an old house, you know what I'm talking about. Peeling 30 yr old wallpaper off of lathe and plaster walls is no small job. And then there is a garden area of gigantic proportions that has been allowed to grow wild for 2 years. While I can pull the tall grasses and weeds aside and see the brick edgings of various garden plots underneath, trying to distinguish what is weeds and what is plants is not an easy task for an amateur gardener. I suspect over the course of the next few months some plants will undoubtedly be thought weeds and pulled and vice versa. Thankfully I know that what has all been planted out there ($8k worth!) is perennial, so hopefully if I do cut something back by mistake, it will reappear next year.

Still, no matter how much vision I have of what it could be with love and attention, there is still one crucial matter. I have in fact, purchased a house/property on my own and my husband has yet to give his seal of approval on what is a done deal. Of course, he has seen pictures and vids but they just can't really give a full picture. So, in the event that he might not be happy with what I purchased, I put on my marketing hat and decided I needed to 'sell' the place before he saw it.

In that frame of mind I picked him up at the airport and pointed out all the features of the beautiful scenery as we made our way home. Before we arrived I made a slight detour in the opposite direction down our road and took him to the fabulous beach that is a two minute drive from the house. We took a nice relaxing walk on the beach, picked up seashells, gazed across the waters and listened to the rhythmic crashing of the waves on the shore. Ahhhh...bliss...with this nearby, who could hate the house, right? I waited until we'd had 10 minutes or so to relax and decompress and breath deeply of the salt air and then up the road to the house. I held my breath as we got out of the car and watched his reaction. He was in a temporary state of shock at first over the vastness of it. Who knew that 8 acres could seem so huge? But he was loving it. A smile started forming and we rushed inside to drop the bags so we could go back out and walk the property. Off we went on our way to the woods to pass through to the river, laughing and skipping along with excitement. The mosquitoes descended on us enmasse! The closer we got to the river, the less we could see where we were going and after what was a 10 second glance at the river in the distance we turned and picked up the pace until we were running at top speed, waving our hands all around our heads. It was a B grade movie where the bugs retaliate and take over making the humans the low rung on the food chain. By the time we got in we both were covered in so many bumps we looked like teenagers with extreme acne issues.

Ok, so we have a few bugs. We can deal with it. Then came the house tour. Chatting away trying to paint a picture of how the house will look AFTER we have peeled wallpaper off of every wall, plastered and painted. AFTER we have pulled carpet out of every room and corner, including the nail boards holding the carpet and the million staple per square foot holding down the underpadding...yes, yes, I'm sure there is nice old fashioned plank floors underneath! It will be fabulous honey! AFTER we do all the work. I smiled coyly as I stood in front of the section of wallpaper that was being held up by a dozen pieces of scotch tape and the old sash window with the wavy glass and the crack across the glass. "Just picture it honey!" Let me just say, that in most cases women are probably a little more adept than men at envisioning a finished project, especially in the home renovation department. He looked around and I wasn't sure how well received this all was. But he smiled a little and thought he could see it all and that although we have a lot to do it will surely be amazing when completed. But I did detect a note of hesitancy and a slight bit of 'just humor her so she won't feel bad.'

So I sighed with relief and figured I did good. Since then we have both had our moments when we have slapped our forehead and wondered what we have gotten ourselves into. Like the day he purchased the riding mower from the owner and then proceeded to 'cut the lawn'. Yes...this is a man who used to complain bitterly about how we needed to add more gardens so we could eliminate the lawn and the need to cut grass on a property with only a few square feet of grass that never took more than 30 minutes to cut. Off he went to cut the 8" tall grass. He started at 5 p.m. and called it quits at 9 p.m. with the resolve to finish the next day. He was now so bitten with bug bites he looked like the victim of an industrial accident and the next day he ran out to purchase a hat with mosquito netting to finish the job. It took two cuts and 8 hours to 'mow the lawn'. I felt a little guilty that day. But on the bright side, it shouldn't take that long to cut next time. And since mowing down the tall grass the bugs aren't nearly as bad as they were when they were threatening to carry us off every time we stepped out the door. I'm getting used to the itching, sure, yeah, I hardly notice it anymore! AHEM!

I think we'll have to wait until our next free day together and pack a picnic lunch to eat on the beach. Nothing like the ocean and the sand to remind you that it's all worth it. I had already pulled carpet out of the living room and found plywood underneath. Not sure whats under there. But when I pulled it off the stairs some nice old wood stairs. Yesterday we tackled the upstairs landing together and some pretty cool old floors ARE under there. They need some sanding and crack filling and varnish or tung oil or something, but already things look a little nicer. Bit by bit. One small job at a time. And things will feel a lot more normal when we are no longer living in a chaos of oddly placed furniture and stacks of boxes making us walk around this house like we are mice in a test maze. We just have to keep the vision in front of us as we look around at the list of things yet to be done. The verrrrry looooong list. Lord give us strength!


  1. OK, interesting read, so there we go....."I wish you lot's and lot's - and did I mention lot's? - of strength!" ;-))


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