Thursday, July 21, 2011

Place for Rest

This new place we live in is slowly getting put together. We still have two - half baths, but today we may get at least one whole one put just right. I fixed loose tile in the tub two days ago, and now that the grout has cured I can seal the edges with silicone caulk. I cannot tell you how cool it feels to understand what I just said! I'm learning about paint techniques from books we checked out at the local library, and we are still hanging clothes on the clothesline. The dryer works, but it is so nice not to have it going all the time and the clothesline makes me feel like a southern woman from the fifties.

Eventually all of this slowed down life will come to an end and the hectic days of school and work will tumble back with force. But for now, we are taking joy in sleeping til the sun wakes us up and spending our afternoons with each other since we are the only people we know in this town. I didn't think the week following the move would be a time I call rest, but indeed it is. And for this quiet time of productivity I am happy.

We are blessed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Settling In

Well. It's official. We are Rock Hill residents. We miss Columbia for lots of reasons, but one big one is because our old home had working toilets. And proper hook up for our washer. And our dryer. Here in the home we have chosen to renovate, we have one working toilet, four working sinks, and one working shower. Unfortunately the toilet and the shower are not in the same rooms. We have two - half baths because neither one is completely functioning. We have a toilet currently sitting in a box in the hallway because the floor underneath it was rotten. Which is why it wobbled. The air conditioner and the washer and dryer have been fixed, thanks partly to handy men and partly to us. Paint is peeling from just about every doorway and window, and since the house was built in 1940, it is probably lead paint. The wallpaper adherred to the plaster a good fifty years ago, so that will need to be painted over. It certainly isn't coming off the walls without the plaster attached, and I don't do plaster work, so over it the paint will go.

In other words, we previously lived in a palace. Now, well, not so much. But on the bright side, our new place is a fabulous bungalow with ten foot ceilings, picture molding in every room, a hallway wide enough for a desk, original bathroom tile, and a sidewalk out front that leads to the local college in one direction and to the sports fields and park in the other direction. All the closets are cedar lined (not big enough for half our clothes, but still). And we have plans. So yeah!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Beginning restoration

These are our last times in our Columbia house. That I know of. My friend, Cindy, moved back to the neighborhood when her house didn't sell and her husband found a job here again. My friend, Jennifer, prays the Lord uses me in my new place and then uses Michael to open a branch of his law firm back in Columbia. I pray for lots of things. Those things. And for a new beginning if those are not to be. For restoration, mainly.

We are redoing a house in Rock Hill. Our new place. It was built in 1940. Never been sold before now. Still technically not sold, being that we have a year to rent and decide whether or not to go through with the sale. The grandchildren of the original owners are the heirs. And they don't need it. They love it; but not in a "I want to restore this place" kind of way.

Nope. That's how I love it. I look at that peeling paint and old mildewed curtains and hidden hardwood floors, and I think, "What potential!" I see beauty gone stale in this house. A place once loved, but unable to be maintained. And, so, friends and family have come from afar to help me get started in restoring this home. We peeled the layers away. Cindy came back and removed curtain rods. I have cleaned dust and grime from corners. It is once again proud. Worn, outdated, but not sagging in dirt. Stripped and clean. Ready for restoration.

We left a little bit of carpet; didn't quite finish taking down wallpaper. Those remaining fragments will hold on for awhile. Til we have time to deal with them. Until we have time to expose what's underneath. Probably cracked plaster. In need of repair.

Aren't we all just a bit like my new house? Built a long time ago, by a craftsman that took great pride in what His eyes could see His hands had made. Slowly neglected by the owner because of lots of reasons, most valid. Age taking it's toll, not on the foundation, but on the layers and dirt and build up of stuff over the years. Clutter added to our days. Soul searching required to find the beauty, to peel away some layers, to clean us up ready for the restoration.

It is hard work that demolition process. Sweaty, dirty, muscle tiring work. Physical.

It's going to take tender patience to put back what once stood proud back at the beginning. Back at the birth. Of this house.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I have picked at this hangnail on my pointer finger of my good hand for the past day or so now. It aches when I touch it, the spot tender from my trying to bite at it with my teeth. It showed up yesterday after I spent my day doing hard labor next to a cherished friend. We ripped carpet and shower doors and heavy drapery out of my new home. We dripped sweat immediately, this being July and South Carolina and all. The labor felt good. Bone weary good. The hangnail proved to be a minor distraction. Again, just something to chew on while I thought of other things.

Today, I went back to the house again on my own. Yesterday, as we ripped out carpet and exposed old floor, peeling away layers of living, Cindy warned me to leave that last layer of linoleum in the kitchen well enough alone. Accept it as imperfect and put a rug over the small raw spot in front of the stove. Peeling it up would prove tedious and sticky, being that it is glued down. Glued to raw hardwood. And just like that hangnail, I picked up that small little corner piece of unglued linoleum. Picked just a bit. Over. And over again. Until I found underneath a big, monstrous, canvas of exposed raw wood and patches of old floor. It looks to the passerby to be a disaster in progress. But I just had to peel away that last old layer. Had to. Expose.

Makes me think of our sin. Hangnails to pick at. To rip up. To expose. Leaves us raw and naked and full of possibility in our restoration.

Filling up that dumpster sure feels good. Gotta tell you, it's worth the cost we're paying to have it hauled away.