24 June 2011

Time to Renovate

Welcome back. In the scheme of a working life, you retire, you move, right? We decided not to, at least not in the near term. There are several reasons, but the big one is the wish of my wife, Vicki, to spend more time helping her father in Wisconsin.

(Vicki is planning ahead, well ahead. Her father is the guy, who, in his mid-80s, just built the Model-T Ford, builds and flies his own airplanes, and last year, painted his barn perched on a 30 foot lift.)

So, rather than spend time and money finding and preparing a new home, located who knows where, we chose to renovate both our present home and an existing apartment over the garage at my father-in-law’s house.

Home Renovations

Attending to our home, I made a list of needed and desired fix-ups, reviewed it with Vicki and got started.  
No, our house doesn’t need that much
work. That’s the Colosseum, 1982.

First item was the front walk and stoop. That job turned out well, and it gave me the opportunity to stumble through construction Spanish I’d forgotten. (Checking out at the supermarket only covers Spanish small talk, which I’ve also forgotten.)

Although we hadn’t planned to replace our house siding, a severe hailstorm had pummeled our neighborhood. Nature’s storm didn’t match the intensity of the storm of young adults the contractors sent to knock on doors and drum up siding and roofing business.

No, that isn’t work on our front stoop.
That’s brick-making in Bangladesh, 1981.
Forming and drying (L); burying and baking.
“No thank you. We don’t want a free evaluation of hail damage,” usually kept them away for as long as 24 hours. First they came in logoed polo shirts; then they just came. I’m talking weeks here. After we witnessed either work underway or contractor signs in front of nearly every house on our street, we surrendered.

Next on our house fix-up list is…well, it’s a long list but nothing major.

No, we didn’t go over the top with our
house renovation. That's a Taoist Temple
in the Philippines, 1971.
Apartment Renovations

The Wisconsin apartment is in a structure that began life as a carriage house--ok, a barn.

The barn and adjacent farmhouse where Vicki’s father lives had 100 candles on their birthday cakes many years ago. Horse-drawn buggies sat where cars now park; horses in the back. The apartment is much more comfortable without the hay that once filled the second floor.  

No, this horse and buggy came long after
the carriage house was converted to an
apartment and garage. That’s Vicki on the
left and her sister, Cam, in the middle.

Although the horses and buggies moved out when Model T’s were in vogue, the conversion of the carriage house to Vicki’s parents’ first home didn’t occur until the late-1940s. 
Yes, that’s the farmhouse and the garage
with the upstairs apartment.

Vicki’s solo drive to Wisconsin last March (with the new GPS) was, in part, to start the renovations--new plumbing, hot water heater, flooring, the whole shebang.

Wrap Up

Although there’s always more to accomplish at the house and apartment, we’re progressing well.

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll write again in about a week.


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