Have Caulk Gun Will Travel

I just got an email from a friend who suggested I post a blog to let everyone know how I was doing. I shrugged it off, thinking I’ve been doing that very thing, but I checked anyway to see when my last blog was. Wow! Has it really been a month since I last wrote? It just goes to show . . . well, I’m sure it shows something, I’m just not sure what.

Some of the work on the house is going well, due mostly to a visit from my brother and sister-in-law who brought with them their expertise and just about every fabulous tool they own. Still, oddly enough (at least odd to someone who has never before owned a house), very little can be crossed off my to-do list. There always seems to be one more thing to accomplish on every job.

Caulking all sixteen windows and repainting the framework has been left to me. Since I have never in my life done any work on a house — growing up, I was just a girl, you know, and so such tasks were never allotted to me — my share of the work is slow going. (BTW, the window is a true rectangle; the odd shape is due to the angle of the camera.)

But I now know how to use a caulk gun, and even better, I know how to clean caulk off my fingers. (Nail polish remover!)

I still don’t have a workable garage. The crack in the floor was fixed, the place insulated and dry wall added, but then the floor recracked, so for now, the garage is just a big shed. One day, perhaps, I will be able to use it to park my car. Perhaps . . .

The back room is mostly done. Although foundation is rebuilt, the walls and ceiling painted, and the floor installed, the doors still need to be framed, though that job is scheduled for Monday. (Fingers crossed!) It’s a lovely room, now, and can no longer really be considered a porch, enclosed or otherwise.

My exercise equipment (even a ballet barre!) has been set up in the room. I can no longer use the lack of space as an excuse not to exercise so I’ll have to find another excuse.

The above mentioned aren’t the only tasks to be finished/started, just the more obvious ones. (Fixing the basement floor from long ago flood damage and reinstalling a sump pump are perhaps more pressing, but since I don’t go down into the basement, it’s not an obvious task. Not to me, anyway.)

For all these months, a lot of my stuff has been piled in the dining area, and now that the back room is usable, I no longer have to use the dining area as storage. And suddenly, this place seems huge. It’s still technically a small house, but for a person who has been living in a single room for the past few years, it seems a surfeit of luxury to have so much space. After all, I can only be in one room at a time.

But of all the problems I have dealt with in the past decade, this embarrassment of riches is one that is easily shouldered.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

The Nasty Thing in the Wood Shed

I didn’t mean to drop a zinger and then leave you hanging. Well, maybe I did. I am a writer after all, and we writers like to leave you wanting more.

Besides, I only learned the truth about the nasty thing in the wooden shed a couple of days ago. To be honest, I didn’t think the capped pipe was anything at all. I was simply being mysterious for the sake of the story. What spooked me (a bit) was the way the contractor kept staring at the sewer pipe and saying, “Anything could be in there.”

He didn’t tell me until afterward that he wondered if it might be a pipe bomb, and he hadn’t wanted to worry me.

As it turns out, nothing was in the tube, though the pipe wasn’t as innocuous as I thought it was. It was a makeshift hydroponic contraption for growing marijuana. There were several holes drilled along the length of the pipe, one for each seedling. After the plants were in place, the pipe was then filled with water. Drains were attached to the capped ends to remove or change the water without disturbing the growing plants.

Since the pipe was empty, it was easy enough to dispose of — it went into the dumpster.

There haven’t been any other discoveries. A winter storm put the work on hold, but also that same winter storm helped ease my sinus condition. Apparently, I am allergic to the ornamental pear trees that are prevalent in the neighborhood. They truly are beautiful, with those bright white blossoms, but the beauty is not worth the pain. (Though it will have to be. This is a neighbor’s tree, not mine, so I’m stuck with the sinus problem.)

Next week, perhaps, the gas company will come and move the gas line so we can finally get the porch foundation poured. After that, they will put in the subfloor so we can get at the basement.

I wonder what we will find when we start moving things around down there? Dust of course. Lots of dust. And dirt because the basement is bordered on two sides by an open crawl space. But other than that, who knows? Anything can be buried in a 90-year-old basement.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.