The work was overwhelming – really so much to do just to make it liveable. But we did it a little at a time. Like the old saying – How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
Working 18 hours a day moved things along.
I had made a pact with myself when we started this endeavour, that I would not, under any circumstance, whine and complain. I pretty well held up under that pact, except for that one time. It was late and I was painting. I was too short to reach where I needed, so I was standing on an upended 5 gallon bucket. OK, I know! One should not use an upended bucket as a stepladder, but there you are. So I know that you are thinking precisely what happened – I lost my balance and down I went, paint and all! I was mad at myself and so tired, and of course, Bob yelled at me for standing on the bucket. So I sat in the floor and boo hooed for a while. But, I am pretty sure that was the only time.
Until the chimney incident.
Now, as I told you in an earlier post, the chimney was divided, went up the interior walls of the lower rooms, met above the stairs in the attic and then went out in the center of the roof. Well, of course that was where our woodstove would go. In my minds eye, I had placed furniture and decorated the room around that specific fact. The woodstove was there. No question.
An inspector was called to see about the integrity of the chimney (which I knew was just fine – because, of course, that was where I wanted the woodstove to go) and to see about adding a liner to the interior of the chimney. The first engineer condemned the chimney, we paid him his $200 and I called another inspector. He came, inspected and proceeded to condemn the chimney. We paid him his $200. I was getting a little put out by this time, because I couldn’t seem to make them understand that this was where the wood stove was going. Period.
So I called a third inspector – a third inspector comes and, yes, condemns the chimney. So I had had enough. I told him that of course we were going to use that chimney – it was going to be fine – that was where the stove must go!
He, in a very calm and sensitive voice, said ‘Honey, you can’t use this chimney. It is 100 year old homemade brick with 100 year old mortar. The flue is too narrow to add a liner and if you use this chimney, you will burn this house down.’
I paid him his $200.
I then began, what in our family is called a wall eyed fit. I demanded that Bob fix it. I wanted it and that was all there was to it. Bob was astonished and almost shocked speechless, but in a very quiet and loving voice, tried to reason with me. ‘ You know that three inspectors have told you it can’t be used. So the only way to do that is for me to go under the house, and bit by bit, through the walls, into the attic and up to the roof, remove all the old brick and mortar and replace it with new.
I said yes, start now! I told him that I never got anything I wanted and that he always got everything he wanted so he just had to get this fixed for me. Because I wanted it!!!!
I finally calmed down and cried myself out. I reluctantly agreed that we would put the stove in the southeast corner of the living room. But this was only after Bob had called my dad – my DAD – and told on me. He explained the situation and the subsequent fit.
And all my Dad said was,’I’m sorry, son, it’s not pretty is it!’
I think that was my first and only wall eyed fit during the work on the house and since. But it wasn’t pretty, for sure!
to be continued….