Wednesday, February 18, 2015

two years

Two years seems awfully long for something I started on a whim, but yes, I've been writing this blog for two years and we've been chained to this house for over four years now.  I still can't manage to keep up with what's going on here, let alone everything we worked on before I started writing (most of that was just me running around screaming looking for the next leak, but whatever).

That said, I feel like I owe you the truth.  I've done a terrible thing.  I actually HIRED someone to do work I'm perfectly capable of doing myself.  I'm ashamed.  And overjoyed.  The last of the destroyed rooms (and then some) will be done in the next month or so by our lovely plasterer (I'll admit, I let him do the staircase ceiling two years ago).  

most of the plaster under that wallpaper was missing or rotted out

That plastic sheet was one of many water funneling
devices designed to get water down the stairs
50's (?) era plaster board that had never even been finished,
which illustrates how long our house has been derelict
These include the two biggest bedrooms on the third floor, the recently opened up butler's pantry, and maybe the back of the laundry room if we have enough materials left over.  The reality is that I taught myself how to do three coat and veneer plaster when we bought the house, and I did all of the work on the first and second floors.  We lied to the bank and told them the third floor was "just attic," and convinced them not to force us to finish it before closing out the 203k loan we were required to have to get a mortgage.  There was simply not enough time or money to have done the work up here in the 9 month time frame the bank gave us.  

Three years later, the thought of doing two more destroyed rooms brings me near tears, and while I did a bunch of smaller plastering jobs on the third floor over the past year, I haven't been able to bring myself to start in those rooms.  So our house has been wide open, bags of insulation for the attic have filled up two rooms since the first winter we've lived here (you can't blow in insulation when you have no ceilings as I keep having to remind people), my white cat is brown from sleeping in the sooty eave spaces and our house is an uncleanable dust bowl.  

In addition to not having to do the plastering myself, lets face it, not having to carry 27 sheets of blueboard and many 50 pound bags of plaster up to the third floor is worth paying for.  Even better, I'm not the one that will be cleaning plaster buckets in arctic temperatures.  

I'll be scraping the last of the wallpaper, washing the walls we're patching, and doing the last bits of demo, insulating and adding nailers over the next few days while the plasterer finishes up the butler's pantry.  Too bad we didn't have this all done a few weeks ago before the sub-zero temps moved in.  Better late than never I suppose.  It just means I'll be spending the first weeks of good weather insulating a pitch black attic instead of playing in the dirt and sunshine.  


  1. Oh, sweetheart, someone should have told you this in the beginning ... there is no shame in hiring work that you can accomplish on your own and one will give you a medal for doing everything yourself. Old house restoration is a balancing act. Imagine how good it will feel to getting these nagging things finished in short order. Who cares whether you actually spread the plaster ... you directed it to be done, and it will be done to your specifications. Bravo!

    1. I second that - unless you want to take 25 years to get the project done, hire it out! :)

    2. Awww, thanks guys. I'm actually very excited, but letting go is not something that comes easy for me, especially since this means no starting the porch this year...

    3. You all are undermining my stubborn streak, what's next, paying someone to restore my windows?

  2. Are those saddles I see?! Look at that, you're ready to visit the farm!

    I don't blame you one bit for hiring plaster folks to do the job for you. I think part of getting older is realizing that you have that option. And who would I be to complain anyway? I can't hold my hands above my head long enough to do my hair, let alone plaster-work!

    1. Yup, four of them!
      And thanks for reminding me, last time I plastered the ceiling I had to visually check to make sure my hands, trowel and arms were doing what they were supposed to - with the carpel tunnel I couldn't feel a thing lol...


I am human and I need to be loved...