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Monday, July 11, 2016

JUST BECAUSE A HOUSE IS 81 YEARS OLD, IT DOES'T MEAN IT'S FALLING APART*



(The last two paragraphs only are from previous posts.)


*I'm 81 years old & I'm not falling apart.  Oh, wait a minute; yes, I am!!


We still live in the first home we've ever owned.  It must be the gypsy in our souls.  It was built in 1935, when they still knew how to build things that last.  We bought it in 1960 (you might ask your grandparents what houses were selling for at that time) & over the years have done extensive remodeling & enlarging.  It's worth a lot more now!!

When we moved in there were cracks in the ceiling plaster.  We were advised to put waterproof bathroom wallpaper on the ceilings & then to paint right over it.  Since we didn't care about the patterns, we bought small odd pieces from the wallpaper store.  Our neighbors were undoubtedly concerned about the crazy new people moving in who covered their ceilings in plaids & bright floral prints.

I think it's interesting how you can learn to like something after living with it for a while, much like a husband my dining room.  I had had my heart set on a formal dining room, with doors that closed, instead of just an "L" off the living room.  After a while, I decided that I preferred the "L" & left it that way.

We bought it from a widowed old (to my 26 year old mind) lady (who was probably about 20 years younger than I am now).  She had had her father (who I must assume was even older than she was) living with her & when he died she put the house on the market.  I assume she was concerned about her father slipping on a freshly waxed kitchen floor, so instead of waxing it for a shine she painted it with a coat of varnish.  After we had been in the house for a couple of years we decided to remove the varnish.  The only thing that we could find that worked well was nail polish remover, which I bought in bulk from a beauty supply store. Each week my cleaning lady would work on a small section of the floor.  That worked fine until she got to the service porch, where I had my washer & dryer.  Pilot light for gas clothes dryer + nail polish remover = KABOOM + fire!!  I grabbed my kids (a 1 & a 2 year old), stuck one under each arm & ran next door.  We called the fire department & then I called Bud, who was at his office.  I thought I explained the situation clearly & calmly to my husband but according to him the conversation went like this: "The house is on fire!!  We're next door.  We're fine. Goodbye."  My neighbor ran to our house & was playing a garden hose onto the blaze when the firemen arrived.  He was yelling, "In here!!  In here!!" while each fireman stopped to wipe his boots on the doormat.

Since the kitchen was gutted & there was smoke damage throughout the house, our insurance payment gave us the impetus to start remodeling.  We started with the kitchen, of course.  We later had another child & needed some more room so we gave the kids our room & built a new master bedroom & bath.  We put in a walk-in closet & the kids (seriously) asked whose room that was going to be.  We redid the front porch & since our house sits on a hill & over our garage, there is a full one story drop from one end of the porch to the driveway.  During construction Matt thought it would be a good idea to use an umbrella as a parachute & jump off the porch onto a pile of dirt in the driveway.  It wasn't!!  

My husband is an attorney by trade but an electrician in his heart.  He rewired our whole house & I, personally, was glad our boys were around to crawl under the house & in the attic to pull wires for him.  It kept me from being conscripted volunteering for the job.  Some of the work was even fun for the boys, like the time we decided to modernize their bathroom.  The ugly pink & black tile had to go & there was no better way to get rid of it than with sledgehammers in the mighty hands of young boys!!

I've always done my own decorating; I never felt the need to hire a professional.  The only time I recall having a problem with that was after the kids had moved out.  I bought two kitchen chairs from Overstock.com.  They were the “retro” diner style, with bent aluminum legs & red vinyl seats.  They came unassembled.  The following is a review that I sent to Overstock: “The chairs arrived quickly and are very comfortable.  Assembly was relatively easy if you followed the pictures.  The written instructions were as follows (& this is a direct quote): Assembly way to request attention: all screws don’t first lock to tighten, until back cushion to lock tight after that, this chair all screws lock to tighten, then success.”  For some strange reason, my husband had difficulty following the instructions, although I read them to him very slowly & enunciated carefully.  (Ed. note: Another example of fine (?) Asian manual writing: A newscaster on TV was trying to report a story, but he was laughing so hard that it was difficult for him to do so.  He finally was able to say, “This is from an instruction manual for a certain unnamed Japanese product.  There is a word in it that needs to be corrected.  We can’t tell you what the word that they actually used is, but we’re pretty sure they meant ‘screw’ part A into part B!!”)

Now that I think of it, there was that one time my son Matt attempted to help me with the decorating.  When our boys were very small they shared a room.  Their twin beds were against the walls in the shape of an “L”.  The head of Matt’s bed was next to the bedroom door.  He liked to swing the door back & forth.  Sometimes (apparently more often than I realized) it would hit the wall.  One day he called us into his room to show us his “accomplishment”.  He pointed out where he had rammed the door into the wall so many times that there was now a hole in the wall.  He proudly said, “Look!!  I made a space for the doorknob.” 









Don't forget to lock up when you leave----fishducky

 






12 comments:

  1. Nail polish remover? That sounds very time consuming. Wouldn't a sander have done the job?
    Then again, a brand new kitchen after the fire sounds nice.
    I'm astonished that you've lived n the same house all these years.
    I've moved so often I've lost count, beginning with leaving Germany at age six months and ending with moving to my current unit five (almost) years ago. I got real good at unpacking and being settled within 24 hours. Yet all I've ever wanted was to own my own home.
    I'm having a lovely mental image of your boys smashing tiles with a sledgehammer.

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    Replies
    1. Polish remover only removed the varnish; not the top of the linoleum; besides, we were young, stupid & poor!!

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  2. My mother only lived in one house after she arrived in Australia in the early 1950s. I have lived in this one for over twenty years now. And shudder at the thought of moving.
    Smashing things is sometimes wonderful.

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    Replies
    1. Smashing things with parental permission is even better!!

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  3. Young boys are perfect for crawling about pulling and pushing wires. The fire was scary but it got you a new kitchen sooner than you would have ever planned. Memories are the most important part of an old family house. :)

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  4. I can't even imagine living in one house so long. When you plant roots, they stay.
    Cracked up at the firemen wiping their feet before entering. Now that is polite.

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  5. Mobile home sale! I hope a tornado doesn't get him!

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Your comments make my day, which shows you how boring my life has become.