It was April when the title finally transferred and we got keys to the house. Doc was in the middle of teaching spring semester. At the time, I wasn’t working. That was a good thing because we never would have gotten the house in livable condition if I’d had a job to go to.
I went to the house everyday. It was even more of a mess than I’d remembered. I had no idea where to start. The upstairs bedrooms seemed the least daunting since they were nothing but bare rooms with new-ish carpet. Cheap, thin, new-ish carpet but it would suffice for the time being since money was tight. It was a nice ivory color that would go with anything.
I rented a rug scrubber to make sure it was clean and I painted all the walls and trim. I took down the Mickey Mouse ceiling fan in what was to be our Master Bedroom and replaced it with a pretty new light fixture. The room had a window that looked out into the tall, front yard spruce trees. I loved the feeling of being perched in the trees but the trees also made the room dark. The money I saved on carpet was spent on my first splurge – I ordered a roof window from Home Depot and hired a contractor to install it. We came across an antique mantle at flea market. I stripped the paint and stained it and we put it in the corner of the bedroom. Later we would add a gas fireplace to it.
Throughout the spring and summer I moved through the house painting every surface. On weekends Doc would join me and we’d do heavier chores like removing carpet and refinishing floors. Once school was out he was with me full time all summer. We laid tile in the bathroom and laminate flooring in the kitchen. We hired a plumber to install a new jacuzzi tub and a dishwasher and kitchen sink. We bought a section of Kraftmaid home show demo cabinets for the kitchen and I removed a couple of the plain doors and replaced them with pretty glass ones that I special ordered. We faced one problem after another, worked out solutions and gradually watched the house come back to life. By the end of August we had a house we could live in. Almost.
We moved in just a day or two before Kent’s fall semester was to start. The first night we were there, Doc took a shower. I happened to be going to the basement for something and discovered that water was pouring through the ceiling and down the walls of our newly dry walled basement study. The plumber, who had finished his work a week before, hadn’t really finished at all. He’d never connected the shower’s water pipes to the drain.
A week later our well ran dry.
To be continued…