I've come to realize how little I helped on our last two visits (understandable, given the kid-situation) but we've accomplished so much more this time around that I'm hoping there will be even less work next visit. The house was in pretty good shape when we arrived -- no leaks, which meant we didn't have to clean up the aftermath (a constant for some twenty or more years before Will fixed the roof in 2007) and the critters hadn't gotten into anything we use regularly. After the initial basic cleaning we extended our reach all the way to the end of the assembly hall, making the loft at the end accessible and the kids have spent hours up there, staircase raised (via pulley and rope) playing pirates. We've also focused on making the guest quarters nicer - a task Will initially dismissed as less important, but he now seems to understand its importance. So, to give you an idea of why I've been absent, I have some before-and-after photos of projects completed in the past three weeks.
1. Nell's room.
This is our primary guest room. It has a low ceiling and only a double bed, but it's cozy.
2. The room above the shop
We have a lot of guests coming this year, in groups of four and five. Because of that we needed a second place to put a family. Many years ago, Will's grandmother's older brother Lou (it's complicated) built a sturdy two-story cinder-block building which he stayed in during the summer. Over time the downstairs, which may or may not have originally been a tool shop, filled with stuff - hardware and tools, life preservers, car parts, boat bits, lanterns, lots and lots of rope, bits of wood too small to use and too big to throw away. It was a mess until '07 when Will organized it and cleared out at least two trucks full of garbage we took to the dump. At the same time the upstairs also had filled with leftover stuff - falling apart dressers, unused mattresses and pillows, an old fold-out couch, sheets of plywood, and, of course, varmints. At one point the chimney fell off due to snow and rot and was eventually put back up, but not before snow and rain had blown in and covered everything and rotted out part of the floor. Needless to say, it was a mess. But it is a good solid room that can hold four beds and had the potential to be a guest room. Here's what we did:
I did the cleaning, Will did the wiring and heavy lifting and making new platforms for the beds. It actually turned out pretty nice, after we took all the mildew-and-mouse covered mattresses to the dump. I still want to get replacement twin beds for the 30" camp beds that are there, but I figure we'll save some money by gradually accumulating bed frames/box springs/mattresses from craig's list.
Will also fixed the foundation of Nell's porch, and we've done lots of landscaping (cutting hedges, trimming trees, mowing/dethatching lawns) replaced rotting ceiling panels in Nell's kitchen, replaced the hot water heater at Nell's, and we went bowling one night. See, it's not ALL work.
And now it's time to go get brekfast ready for 13 people. That part I love. More soon.