Thursday, September 29, 2011
Back to Plan A
We've been in the new house a couple days. Our original plan was to shore up the foundation, tear off the roof, replace all the rotten wood, and then put it all back together (maybe with the ceiling pushed up to the roof and a couple skylights), and move in. But at some point Plan B took over: do the minimum now – replace the sewer line to the street and upgrade the electrical system – go ahead and move in, and leave the big repairs and renovations for next summer, when we'd have some experience living in the house. There's things you learn about what a house needs for comfortable living that you only know after you've lived in it for a while.
(I suspect Plan B also took root because Martha thought it unwise to keep me under the stress of living without a home kennel for that long: but she hasn't confessed to that yet.)
But yesterday we found a tiny puddle of standing water up under the ceiling of one of the closets, and tearing down a spongy bit of sheetrock revealed some flourishing mold. Mold like that is serious bad news. So last night we moved back to our long-suffering host's house. It's back to plan A.
Really, I'm relieved. I felt we were jumping the gun, that the house wasn't really habitable yet. And moving in before doing all that work – which would require emptying at least large sections of the house – seemed like deliberately doubling our labor. But we're displaced persons again, for a while. Meanwhile, the sewer work and the electrical work go on. I'm happy anyway to be employing people.
The scale of the sewer work has startled me. When the guy described it, as snaking a new pipe through the old sewer line, I was picturing something minimally invasive: laparoscopic sewer surgery. But this is really impressive incisions: trenches ten feet deep, two mounds of earth on the parking strip as tall as I am. There's a shovel like Mike Mulligan's, only gas-powered, and two big trucks, and crowds of wiry brown men in bill caps with worried expressions and moustaches on their faces. I've never initiated so much physical fuss and to-do in all my days. It's very odd to drive up to one of those “road work” signs with a sense of of ownership. This is my road work.
So – dispatches from the field, as events warrant and permit: we're not home yet. xoxo