A current inventory of my life includes: a missing patch of skin from my right forearm, two rooms in my house that look completely different than they did a week ago, a dryer that may or may not be working, a bathtub in my barn, a list of ten new projects, a table saw in my shop, a golfball sized bruise on my shoulder, two new toolboxes, a plan for a new office, and an ear-to-ear smile on my face.
Just in case you missed some of the frantic posts and facebook updates, some of the craziness of my life in the last week included painters at the house for what was supposed to be two days (Monday and Tuesday) but ended up being four days, and Meryl and Chris from Picardy Project here for the Renovation Roadtrip on Thursday and Friday.
You might say the Liberty House wasn’t exactly “guest ready” since every piece of furniture I own was shoved into the guest room while the painters were working, which was pretty much up until about 30 minutes before Meryl and Chris got here…
If it was anyone else staying at my house I would be slightly worried about the impression this would make, but 1.) other DIYers get it, and 2.) Meryl spent one of the previous nights sleeping in the 7″ space on top of the air compressor in the back seat of her car while driving across the country. I figured if they had to superman dive from the doorway, over the couch, and into the bed, it would still be an upgrade from using an large steel drum filled with compressed air as a mattress.
Because there’s just me (and the cat) in this big old house, I have always felt that it was meant to be a place for other people to come and stay and feel at home. I sort of thought that my very dormant Martha gene (the one that would allow me to effortlessly have fresh bread baking, lavender sprigs on the pillows, and a gorgeous centerpiece made from twine and happiness on each table) would kick in once I started having overnight guests.
Uh. Yeah. I just barely managed to get clean sheets on the bed, an extra roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, and beer in the fridge. So maybe the Martha gene needs a little more… encouragement.
Regardless, having Meryl and Chris at the house was completely awesome.
That was mostly because they are smart and funny and a great couple, but it sure didn’t hurt my feelings that we did some shit on Friday. Instead of tackling one big project start to finish, it seemed to make more sense to take on a few smaller things that I would have a hard time doing without help.
Here’s just a little peek of the fun we had…
5000 pound hand-me-down table saw is out of the car after a week of driving around with one of the rails resting on my shoulder.
The master bathroom deconstruction has begun…
If there’s anything that will bring you closer to a couple of people you met through the internet, it’s being wedged together on the landing of a stairway balancing a tub the size of a Buick on the newel post. At one point when we were stuck between the hallway, stairs, and bedroom, Meryl is all, “Guys, this is not an equilateral triangle, I think we should rotate it this way.” And I blinked 17 times and was all, “Meryl, you have to give me directions in swear words, not geometry terms.”
When we realized the shutoff valves to the tub supply lines weren’t actually shutting off the water all the way, Chris was appalled at my lack of soldering equipment. So we did what any reasonable people do at a time like this… shopping spree!
A long time ago, before I started constructing and deconstructing houses, I used up all this energyI have teaching myself “art” skills like flameworking and stained glass, which means I have some experience with both torches and basic soldering techniques, but I never put them together to actually sweat pipes. Chris was an excellent, thorough and patient teacher. And my first attempt at capping of supply lines, while not pretty, was a complete success.
There’s nothing I love more than getting comfortable with new tools and a new skill that will make me more self reliant around the house.
Except maybe starting new projects, and we did that too…
So basically it was a crazy, fun-filled, hard-workin kind of day. When Meryl described the way I tackle projects (and life) she used the words “reckless enthusiasm”, which is a really nice way of saying I start more shit than I finish and very rarely wear safety equipment. Or shoes. And I think it totally fits.
I’ll be posting more about the work we did, and the most hillbilly activity that has ever gone on at this house (including my car, rope, and that tub… and yes, there’s video) throughout the week. I tried to convince Meryl and Chris to stay here indefinitely (read: my kidnapping plan totally failed, but only because Chris is like three feet taller than me) so the road trip goes on… they will be posting about their adventures at the Liberty House (and the other stops on their road trip) at Picardy Project, Tinkernation, and BobVila.com.