We first saw the house almost two years ago, and the smell of mildew probably should have scared us away, but it didn’t. It was obvious, from the state of the ceiling (gaping seams between the sheets of drywall, with chunks and peelings of spackle trying to fall) and the carpet (large square in the corner cut loose, with the pad entirely gone from beneath it…the whole room’s carpeting rather damp), that we had some water issues, but we had no idea how severe those issues would turn out to be.
After a very quick succession of events that threw the house with its 2+ acres into our laps, we bought the house in October and moved in the night of our wedding—the first week of January. In the interim, we spent every spare hour there, working to get the essentials far enough along to make the house habitable. For the sake of our honeymoon, we decided to focus on the bedroom, the kitchen, and the bathroom. Thanks to a whole lot of late nights and the invaluable assistance of our parents, we were able to accomplish what we considered necessary, before moving in.
Over the almost two years since, we’ve had numerous surprise “water features” in our family room, thanks to what we determined are the leaks in the roof and the poor drainage behind the house. Via the roof, we get a drip or stream from above, generally over one of the couches. Because of the drainage issues, the concrete slab acts as an osmosis-type transfer agent, up around the firestone hearth, so that we end up with a concrete slab that is just generally damp. Since we have long-term plans to add a second floor, we’ve been delaying the larger-scale full-house remodeling that would solve the water problems, once and for all. There are a number of fixes here, there, and around, that have slowed the torrents, but we really need to move on to something more drastic, before the mildew behind the paneling grows legs and comes after us.
We don’t lack for ideas, even plans, but we’re painfully deficient in time and material resources, which means there’s no way we can afford a general contractor, even though it would save us time. The time we do have tends to disappear into odd jobs to help build up the stores of material resources, which then get burned up heating the house and eaten up filling our bellies. Such is the plight of many of us—the starry-eyed newlyweds that not only want the fixer-upper but are still to naïve to realize that these things take time, and that “time” is more than a few months, if we want to stay out of debt.
This is, though, a perfect time to have the unwanted wet—since we are newly wed and still learning to make the money last beyond food and heating fuel, our furniture consists mainly of hand-me-downs that were the givers’ newly-wed inherited cast-offs, in some cases. They’re perfect for us, now, especially as we’re doing so much house work, with dirty shoes and filthy pants, more often than not, not to mention that these are some of the most comfortable couches and sofas ever! All that to say, though, it’s not as much a crisis when one of these ends up with a puddle on it, as it would be otherwise, if we had brand new furniture.
It truly is a wonderful life, and after all, this old house of ours makes for great stories!