We fell into a routine pretty quickly. Bob was working for a glass manufacturing company and I was between jobs at the time. So he would come directly to the house from work and we would eat a picnic there or run to the little drive-in – the HiDeHo. After dinner, the work would start in earnest, he would open walls up, cut and fix trim, basically, saw and nail stuff until about midnight. I would be his help, holding, fetching and sweeping. We would drive back to the rent house, about 10 miles, fall into a coma, wake up at the 5:30 alarm and start all over again.
While he was at work, I would get to the house by about 8 or 8:30, and start cleaning. I scrubbed every surface with bleach or any other cleaning product that I thought would kill whatever was on the walls, floors, windowsills. Now, if you recall from earlier posts, I described the condition of the house – remember – filthy! And even after the guys removed all the garbage and the carpet and other junk, it was still pretty disgusting. The walls were covered in ugly brown paneling, the ceilings were a orange grease color and the floors, even after everything was out, still smelled of urine. Lovely, huh?
Our friend, Kevin, would meet me at the house and work with me most days. We started cleaning up the rooms that Bob wanted to work on that evening. Upstairs, it was mostly just sweeping stuff out and washing the walls. Downstairs, we had to get wide flat head screwdrivers to scrape the ash and debris from the tracks of the windows. We found needles, roaches and who knows what else in those tracks – guess it was handy and they didn’t want to use the floor?!?
Kevin and I would spend days just washing the walls. They were so caked with grime and greasy with smoke residue, it seemed to take forever before the scrub water was clear and the walls were finally clean. So after scrubbing the paneling about 50 times, we sanding everything so that we could start painting. And we must have put at least 4 coats of paint on EVERYTHING! And I painted it all white – wanted those dirty, ugly walls to sparkle.
And with all this attention, the house seemed to breath again. The windows were opened to the spring air. The house began to smell fresh and clean. And I know that you are going to think I am crazy, but the house was happier. It knew we were taking care of it and it was standing up straighter. Well, maybe not, but I was beginning to be happier and I was beginning to fall in love.
To be continued…..