Thursday, March 8, 2012

attempting resuscitation

Did I mention that my son and DIL are moving back to Texas? They decided that Portland was not the place for them. Their plan is to move back to Houston for several months while they reconnoiter Austin with the intent of settling there. Instead of moving cold like they did to Portland, they want to line things up beforehand so they asked if they could stay in the Houston house for a while.

Which is fine. No problem but you know, right, that we still use the city house when we have work, not that we've had that much work in the last two years but we are hoping that will change and soon. So we will still need to stay there when we have work.

The old house in the city sits vacant now that we don't live there and I don't call our days in when we have work, living there. We don't do housework, cleaning, or cook. And we don't do maintenance. A house as old as ours, and I would put it at between 110 and 115 years old but could be a little older, needs constant care and when no one is doing that, it tends to fall apart at a faster pace.

It's first and main problem is termites but short of tenting they can't really be dealt with and tenting for termites for a house we don't live in is way down on the priority list. The second big problem is the plumbing which was probably last tended to in a significant way back in the 50s and some of it could possibly be older. There are several major plumbing issues that need to be addressed before they move in.

And since we decided to wall off a little studio apartment for ourselves (the two smallest rooms in the house and a bathroom about the size of a postage stamp), the first order of the day was to get a functioning toilet in what would be our bathroom. It used to have a toilet but it broke and we never replaced it and ended up using the second bathroom as a storage closet for our camping and boating stuff.

So. That is what we did this week. We took the toilet out of the one bathroom and moved it over to our bathroom. You'd think that it would just be simpler to go buy a new toilet except that we had to take it out anyway because it had sprung a leak at the bottom and rotted out the floor underneath. It was like being on a rocking horse. So now we can repair the floor in the other bathroom and then put a new toilet in there.

I say we, Marc did it except for an occasional hand from me. He also repaired the pipe from the sink in what had been the laundry room and is now to become our little kitchenette (hot plate, coffee maker, and sink). It was rotted out and just drained under the house. Now it drains into the sewer line.

I wouldn't want you to think that I was just lolling around waiting to lend a hand, I was out clearing out the ditch in front of the house which had become overgrown, filled with leaves, and filling in with wild petunias. I do love the mexican wild petunias, they are kind of old fashioned and when they go through their bloom cycle they are gorgeous. But they get tall and reedy and they are highly invasive and you can't just cut them down. You have to pull or dig them up. So that is what I did. I cleaned out the ditch.

We still have plumbing issues beyond the bathrooms and the sink. The kitchen sink is completely stopped up (which is why we don't cook there) and if you turn on the cold water you won't be able to turn it off. You can see, we have, ostrich-like, been ignoring the ancient plumbing for a long time.

Another thing on the to-do list is to hang a door between the kitchen and the back hall. Then we can each be completely closed off and our comings and goings will be easier and they won't have to host their parents/in-laws for three or four days every week (it could happen when we're working).

They are arriving the end of this month so I hope we can get all the basics, at least, fixed before their arrival but next week is spring break and the grandkids will be here Sunday thru Thursday. So, we'll see. We may be in each other's pockets for a few days.


  1. Wow. They are so lucky. And you - it never stops, does it? You're good at everything. Wow.

  2. oh, you are very generous to give up your 2nd 'stay place' (i won't say home) for them - AND to put such work into it beforehand. i do hope another move (or two) will work in their favor... yikes!

  3. That's a great graphic. I bet I could make something just like it...pipe to nowhere. Enjoy. The kids and the grands.

  4. Nice to have them nearby again, and probably good for the house to have somebody in it all the time. I hope they're a little bit handy with stuff like this; that would sure help.

    And no, I doubt that you are very good at lolling around!

  5. Whew! You definitely have your work cut out for you. I know it is not going to be easy; but having them close again is great for you!
    Enjoy the grandkids.

  6. I think the young ones should be aware how fortunate they are that you do this for them; of course, you must not get in each others' way if it can be avoided, but it's THEY who descend on YOU and get free accommodation and baby sitting (presumably), so a little gratitude might be in order.

    It's probably also a good idea that the house gets fixed up, you too gain in the long run. But a house 100 years old would be a fairly new one here!

  7. How nice for you to have them close by again ...

  8. Enjoy the grandkids and then onward and upward. Your kids are very fortunate to have a place to come back to. Much like our yo yo daughter, your kids will so appreciate your sharing what you have. Good luck with the repairs...I hate doing stuff like that but like me my house needs more and more repairs....tee hee, Oma Linda

  9. It will be nice to have that seperation for privacy. AS much as I love my kids ......

    Nice to have them close by, though. Good luck with all the repairs.

  10. Nothing like a "visit" to get things ship shape! I only clean when folks are coming...

  11. It always seems easier to build a new house than to rehab an old one. Where my brother lives in the Chicago burbs, they tear down old houses and build new ones in their place which they claim is cheaper. I wish you luck; I couldn't face it.

  12. Wow! That's a lot of work, but I least you get to celebrate in the end. And you get to cook in the kitchen, too.

  13. Wow - you're good parents :) My mom would have been the same way - but my dad would wait until we get there & make us help - ha!

  14. I was about to write the same as Friko - in the village we lived above the shop. That building was 100 years old and was one of the more modern ones! I'll also admit to doing little or no maintence during our 10 year stay - the vegetable patch I built was marvellous though!

  15. Even living in a tent calls for repairs...we have been doing some's not fun, cheap nor pretty but it's getting done.

    Have fun.


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