Friday, January 25, 2013

Remodeling the House

Esther told you in another post about us moving a house on some land and remodeling it. The house that we moved onto the land was a not a big house but it was an old sturdy house. Vicky our daughter, is now a contractor and she calls a house like that "a house with good bones."

It was funny looking back on it that we didn't have a clue what we were doing.  We had a house moved to the property of 5 acres. When the men brought the house out I stood behind the truck and motioned which way I wanted the house to set on the land. I wanted the bedroom windows to face the south and they would drive the truck forward and then back it up again and again to get it right. It worked out the the house faced the road. Another thing we did was put the front of the house facing the back. The old living room served as a big master bedroom and we added a living room to the other end of the house (the back) and now that was the front of the house. We had a carpenter to build the living room, which was a good idea.  It set way back from the road and that would be scary to me some nights when Wayne worked the night shift.

Esther and I sat out to remodel. She would come over on my days off and we worked. Wayne was on the police department in McKinney and we never had the same days off, nor did we work the same hours. I worked in the day time and he worked different shifts all the time. So he didn't see what Esther and I were doing. Maybe he wouldn't have noticed anything wrong. He is not a handy man, let alone a carpenter. I think he would have noticed what we called things though, probably wouldn't have sounded right to him, like magic sticks and measurements called marks.  As I said it was an old house and things didn't always match up so we had to improvise. While I was at a lumber yard one day I found these loooong sticks, probably about 8 foot high. They were about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and about an inch wide. Perfect for hiding mistakes. We called them magic sticks.We used a lot of them. Like if the paneling didn't meet in the corners or close to the ceiling, we would put up a magic stick to hide the gap. Sort of looked like a border. It looked nice. Really, nobody ever said anything about it. I guess nobody noticed it. Some of the men in the family started using them. I remember my brother in law Weldon and my sister Ione visited from Colorado. Weldon started piddling around doing something in the closet that I was working on and started helping me. He said I had a gap and I told him we just used the magic sticks. He looked at me kind of funny, at the sticks and at me like he was saying "Are you serious" and after awhile he started using them when fixing gaps. He and my other brother in law, Leland who is married to Esther had always been perfectionists when it comes to fixing things. The fact that they both used the magic sticks convinced us we were doing the right thing.

Just a note here to let you know since we weren't carpenters, we didn't know how to read the yardstick. So one of us would measure and the other one would cut. Which ever the one measured would call out  "It's 3 feet, 4 inches and 3 marks" or whatever the measurement was. We knew how many feet and how many inches, we just didn't know what the measurements were for the fractions. Like 3 marks is how much? I couldn't tell you to this day how much that is.

Leland did the wiring and the septic tank. That was totally out of our expertise.

One other interesting thing happened in the remodeling. One day Esther and I decided this is the day that we will put down the linoleum in the kitchen. We spread the big roll of linoleum on the ground outside and went in the house to measure the kitchen and an extra room extended out from the kitchen. We had a lot of cabinets to go around. I don't know how many times we measured that kitchen and extra room and wrote the numbers down on a piece of paper. Then we took the paper outside and began to cut. I think we used a box cutter. When we finished we took it inside the house and boy was it heavy. A time or two we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. We finally got it in the big area of the kitchen & extended room. We knew we had it in the right position, pertaining to which side of the linoleum went to which side of the walls. The only thing is, it had unrolled by this time and we were under it, it was heavy and we didn't know how to get out. We were way out in the country by ourselves. We didn't have cell phones then to call anybody. After standing there under it in the dark for awhile trying to figure out what to do, we just started backing out from under it. Best I remember we were on opposites side of the linoleum and when we got out about the same time, that rug just fluttered to the floor and fell just exactly in place. We didn't have to do anything to straighten it. We just stood and looked at each other.  The only thing I can say is The Lord must have been there that day under rug with us. Years later Esther & Leland had some linoleum put down in their kitchen by professionals. Esther asked them why they didn't put it down in one piece and one of the guys told her, "you can't do that." Ha!!, we did. Us and The Lord.

Just a side note here. That house did not look bad at all. We may not have known what we were doing but it turned out o.k.. Except for the concrete on the front steps. We didn't know what we were doing there about concrete. Oooops.

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