Monthly Archives: November 2015

One month of work

One month ago we got the keys to a 1942 house. It was previously inhabited by a 94 year old woman who passed away this summer. She lived in it beginning in 1961! Like many estate sale homes, it was obviously treasured and cared for, but modernized? No. This, and a few amazing incidents, kept it in our price range even though it was in a neighborhood we hadn’t imagined would be affordable to us. It doesn’t take us far from our current place, the boys’ school, and our friends (some of whom are now much closer!). We are thrilled.

I envisioned I’d be writing frequent posts about what this process has been like for us. Instead, the end of most days I’m absolutely beat. My body is tired, my muscles ache and I don’t have energy to write. I haven’t been cooking regularly. Amy and Annie are feeding us quite often, very much to the boys’ delight. Tonight I was motivated, probably because Harry & I unintentionally napped after collapsing on our bed following the day’s hard work. The boys entertained themselves (oh, how I love that they are older for this phase of life!) until a massive meltdown over a house of cards crashing (literally) provided our alarm clock. Harry’s back working tonight so I’m holding down the fort.

A month ago we started here:

and all month we’ve been doing this:

Not to be considered slouchers, we donated an organ. (Harde har har.)


We had asbestos popcorn ceilings removed. Sloppy work meant they had to return and take out our carpet and big wall mirrors. Win! Less work for us!

Over fifty hours were spent removing wallpaper layers (by me, my mom and a friend). Three layers on the dining room wall, four ridiculously awful layers on every wall in the boys’ room, one in the foyer and one super easy layer in the kitchen. If you ask me to help you remove wallpaper and I don’t run away screaming but actually say yes, I seriously ADORE you.

More hours than he’s cared to count have been spent by Harry preparing the walls and ceilings for paint. The plaster is worn in many spots, completely falling away from the lathe in places, so it needed to be cleared out and patched with drywall and/or joint compound. The man is officially my Master of Plaster.

Several days were spent removing carpet pads (easy!), carpet tack strips (horrible!) and staples (even worse, until I found the right tool) from the hardwood floors.

Still up before move-in: finish patching walls and ceilings, finish sanding all trim and kitchen cabinets to prep for primer & paint, fill holes in wood, and finally, prime and paint! Also, we need to pack more boxes, feed our children, get groceries, do laundry, clean dishes, work at school and prepare for Christmas.

It’s a season. We entered this somewhat naively (I thought the wallpaper would come down with ease, we had no idea how much work the walls would be, etc…) but many things have worked in our favor and we’ve had lots of support. Our chins are up. It’s just like a marathon. We signed ourselves up. We’re eager. It’s hard and we hit lows, but we have a goal in mind.

So, despite this slightly insane workload, we are thankful. With frequent reminders of how lucky we are, from the boys making care kits for the homeless at school to the horrifying stories of Syrian refugees, we are maintaining good attitudes (mostly), taking dance breaks, singing with our tools and asking for help. We couldn’t be more grateful that we have found a home to make our own.