Fourth dumpster.  FOURTH F@#*%N DUMPSTER.


The Weight

Blog title reflects both content of said blog and a sad farewell to Mr. Levon Helm of The Band who passed away this week. Rest in peace, talented man. And now your local news:

A somewhat uneventful week.  Gavin went back to work so there can no longer be great long stretches of house work- we've got to get as much possible done on our days off.  In a way it's a relief- as much as I want/need/am obsessed with working on the Elephant, families with babies thrive on routine our routine has gone to hell in a hand-basket of late.  It's nice to have naps and meals and even the odd toddler meltdown back on a loose schedule rather than coming out of left field- that kind of existence makes you feel like you are losing your damn mind one day at a time.

The (third!) dumpster went on Thursday, bringing our grand total for the approximate weight of all the crap we removed to 12 tons.  I kid you not, 22,000+ lbs. of plaster, lathe, junk and mishegas out of the house and out of our lives.  I can only imagine our houses frame just sighing after all that weight was lifted.  I spent a rip-roaring day with my sister and Uncle A just carting plaster and nail-studded wood out for like a hundred million hours.  I managed to cut my arms like I'd gone to prom with Edward Scissorhands in the process, but it felt really good to get my hands dirty for the day instead of speculating from afar what was going on without my help (or without my micromanaging :).

Uncle A got some lights working in the basement so I don't need to fear I will stumble upon a sleeping vagrant or hibernating bear when I fumble around down there with nought but the light of my cell phone to guide me.  And Gav's friend Dan spent a thankless day doing miscellany and removing hundreds of nails from our wall-less walls so we can one day aspire to put sheet rock up (live the dream!).

Next step- the wiring and duct work, on which we hope to get cracking on this week.  Other than that, I ordered a mailbox so our mail won't just be tossed in a rubber-banded roll on the porch any more (as much as I cherish the idea of identity theft and/or missed bills).  I do so love making small purchases for our home- some sappy domestic-reveling nest-making part of my being does a small jig of glee when my debit card goes swipeddy-swipe for things that don't fall in the boring (drywall/nails/safety-goggles) category.  Anywho, here's our super-cute letter box:
I think I'm going to add a bit of  "patina" to dull down the gold, but aint it adorbs?
Oh! And our tree out front and azalea bush have both bloomed be-yoo-tifully! I must say, I LOVE finding out about all the flora and fauna we've got in our yard, like little bonuses every week.  On Saturday my sister and I saw two baby squirrels poke their wee heads out of their nest in a knot in the black walnut tree and I've seen heaps of cardinals in the trees out back.  I found a rose bush and a couple of hydrangea (I live for hydrangea!) and big rangy bursts of forsythia just about everywhere. I don't think I'll get to do more in the yard this year besides make it presentable, but OH the fun I'm gonna have next spring....
Azalea realness
Crab apple? 


More Guts, More Glory?

Ugh...where to begin? It's been a helluva two weeks, friends.  First, we had a wonderful and all-too-brief visit with Gav's folks, who were able to see what we see in the Elephant and so were, as always, supportive and optimistic and all-in-all perfect.  Gav got to log some manly-man hours with his Dad knocking around the house and doing all sorts of fun jobs and the kids got to love on "Gammy and Pawpaw" for Easter so it was a perfect visit.  And then mid-week, the fun REALLY began.

I'll cut to the chase- turns out the knob-and-tube wiring we were told was inactive in fact powers about 1/2 of our house.  Glory be.  When it's in decent shape it's not necessary hazardous (though pretty inadequate to power our modern appliances, etc as it was largely used prior to the 1930s) but when it's janky and sort of all over the place mixed in with modern(ish) wiring, like ours is, it has the potential to cause fires and blow fuses and all sorts of fun and games.  So it needs to go.  Thankfully we have some great family connections to electricians and after they poked around a bit it was determined that to do the work we needed to....wait for it....gut the rest of the house.  We called Israel to see what he'd charge to do the remaining walls (the upstairs hallway, the horrid blue room, the kitchen ceiling, and....gulp...my beloved foyer) but because he'd gone so over weight on the past dumpster he needed more this time around- money we just don't have to spare.  Enter Gavin (with help from myself and a rotating cast of good and benevolent friends and family) doing the demo his damnself.

Today I got to join him for a lovely demo date (Mom was able to take off work and wrangle the kiddos for the day). In some ways, it was satisfying- swinging a giant pry bar at the walls that have caused me so much anxiety and consternation- but mostly it was dirty, tedious, and immensely strenous labor. We set up a make-shift shoot out the window and into our new (third) dumpster using a ladder wrapped in tarp and dropped bucket after bucket of crunchy plastery goodness down and out of our lives.  Gavin's been at it for a few days and honestly, after putting in just one good day myself, I don't know how he's held up so well-  I feel like I've gone over the Niagra Falls in a friggin barrel. Suffice it to say I am crazy-proud of my hubs.

I have had some reservations about this final gut- it becomes increasingly difficult to save those traits of the house that add that infamous "character" since working around old moulding and plaster medallions can be really hard when you are trying to smash through walls.  There have been a few casualties along the way -one example- the aforementioned plaster medallion crashed to the floor without warning today and broke into a million peices so it will have to be replaced with a salvaged one or a reproduction- but I think we have managed to keep enough original details to add back in once the walls are up that the house will still be itself, but better.  Like the Six Million Dollar Man. Or something.  Plus the more we open the more we discover potential problems (I'm looking at you, furry grey/black mold monster under the kitchen ceiling) before they have a chance to really become catastrophic.  We will truly know what's what with this house, and that does feel good.

Anywho, once all this is done the electric can be roughed in and we can FINALLY get moving on insulating and PUTTING UP SOME WALLS.  I really, really cannot wait.  But for now, enjoy our new "open concept" Victorian...

It is I, Demo Goddess
His and Hers Matching Aspirators! How cute!
Gav's Dad sanding all our cabinet doors
The crazy "Baker's Rack" set up so we could get to the plaster on the stair wall
Uncle A planning our upstairs bathroom.  
The infamous Joe Da' Taper

Beauty in Destruction

The view from upstairs into my poor, poor foyer