Monday, March 19, 2012

FIRE! And rodents and rain...Oh my!


Four days of demo down and it's been quite an adventure, to say the least. Day two started with the discovery that the house had sustained a substantial fire at some point in it's history. Amazing what you find when you rip the ceilings out! After a few hours of panic and phone calls and visions of the whole house budget going up in flames, we settled down and realized that the fire had taken place half a century ago and the damage was pretty much par for the course in a 97 year old home.
And then, just as the shock of the discovery of the fire was wearing off, one of the workers yelled up from the basement that there was something moving in the ceiling. What?!?! We ran downstairs to find a mama and a baby opossum hanging out in the rafters. Great. After a phone call to the city and an explanation that there is nothing "humane" about opossums, we phoned a few exterminators and learned that "that will be $350-$450, and I'd expect the upper range since it's a family".
Seriously? "And ma'am, you will need to treat the excrement, for an extra...." blah blah blah.
It wasn't until we removed the floor in the sunroom/soon to be bathroom and my (not so small) husband actually jumped in the room to demonstrate that we needed to add some support that I realized that we had, in fact, purchased The Money Pit. Standing in that room with Russell and our contractor Daniel, feeling the floor shake, I actually had feeling that we, along with the bathtub, would be sailing through the floor in our own little remake of the famed movie. After the floor stopped shaking and I realized we had indeed not fallen through the floor, I picked my stomach up off said floor and headed to Ferguson's to purchase a floor model bathtub (read: need deals! Discounts please!). Here's to hoping the bathtub does NOT end up falling through the floor!!! Check out the pic: what do you think? This is the payoff, right? Hold on to the vision. I mean, we might never get there, working on this money pit, but by God, at least we'll have this beautiful tub. It might end up sitting in the middle of an unfinished bathroom for two years, but I can promise you I'm going to sit in it either way!
And for some additional good news, Daniel - our contractor and close friend (at least he was before this project started - we might run him off!) set up a trap in the basement for the opossums, and it worked! Sunday afternoon he stopped by and found the trap had been activated and mama was safe inside. I'm so glad that we didn't agree to pay someone to come and remove them. I guess when you figure out that they were going in and out of the cat door that had been cut into the basement door (where they had entered and consumed a steady supply of cat food that was readily available in the basement), all you have to do is set the trap up there. Sure enough, mama and her SIX babies ended up being caught and relocated to Raccoon Mountain. Many, many thanks to my brave stepdad Rooster for facilitating the release. For a good story, ask him about how that went the next time you see him...
The last bit of good/bad news came on Friday afternoon as we were hit with a major thunderstorm. The good news part is that we had visualization of the entire roof since it was still exposed and there were NO LEAKS! Yay! At least, no leaks in the roof. The sunroom, on the other hand, was a veritable waterfall. We knew there was water damage to the wood in the corner of the sunroom, both upstairs and down, but we didn't know that it would rain in the corner of the house every time we had a storm. It's hard to understand why no one would have even attempted to fix the leak and just let the house rot for years and years, but that's all I'm going to say about that. The good news is, we are here to love this house and take it back to where it needs to be. We respect the 97 years that it has been around, and want to do everything possible to ensure it is standing and in good condition for 97 years to come. I truly feel like it is a privilege to own The Milton House, and Russell and I will do everything we can to make sure that we can to treat her right.
Perhaps it was a sign of welcome, or at least a nod to the fact that we are moving in, but the beautiful weeping cherries were in full bloom just as we started to work this week. It's been a beautiful gesture from the home that we are ripping apart. Almost as if to foreshadow what is to come.

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