Last month I ran into a friend and before I could get a "hello!" out, she grabbed me by the shoulders and said "WHERE ARE THE MANOR UPDATES!?!". I didn't think it had been that long but after checking, I realized I did not post one update in 2016. To those who follow this crazy journey, I apologize. I could go into the 20,000 reasons I neglected the blog but I'll spare you the boring details and just say that 2016 in one word was "hectic".
To dive right back in, last year was the year of more brick repointing. Surprise! It was also the year I realized that my calling in life is NOT brick repointing. Believe me, I tried. I asked Jeremy to teach me how to do it, thinking it would speed up the process. I thought, well I took ceramics in college and worked with my hands in other fine art classes....how hard can it be? It was counter-productive to say the least. I had more mortar on the ground, my clothes, body and hair than I did in the joints. I might try it again this Spring but I'll have to work on a different part of the house....preferably a part that is going to get covered by a deck or something.
Jeremy on the other hand is getting faster at it and we might be done with the whole house in 2055! It's like the hokey pokey song on repeat and skipping....you scrape the old mortar out, you put the new mortar in, you scrape the old mortar out and you smooth it all about. Over and over and over and over....
The president of the Danger Squad, aka Dad, has been helping out as well. We're getting ready to break the "don't jump around on projects" rule and take a break from the brick to rebuild the front porch. It's necessary because this year we are putting a new roof on the house and the porch & terrace need to be ready for the roofers.
Don't try this at home kids....
Porch is down to the bones right now and ready for the rebuild!
After the realization that masonry was not a natural talent of mine, I decided to jump back on a project that has been eluding a check mark since 2014...the attic. You will soon find out why something so simple as cleaning an attic has taken 3 years. Again, the "don't jump around on projects" rule was broken but here's why: Working on the attic causes extreme cases of isolation, paranoia, gagging and PTSD. Back in 2014 I posted a blog called Simon and the Attic of Horrors depicting our troubles with the boom lift and the daunting task of cleaning the attic. To refresh your memory, this is what one small section of the attic looked like.
This is probably 1/8 of the attic and the whole thing looked like this. Just tons of junk scattered all over the floor. I can't even begin to tell you how many contractor bags FULL of junk that I've hauled out of there. Every once in a while I would find something worth keeping but it was mostly crap. And speaking of crap, that brings me to the second reason why this project has been on and off again and the reason why it causes PTSD. I'm not sure I can properly convey what I actually witnessed in that attic and I'm sure it's some kind of disgusting world record. As you know, the whole roofline was exposed where the soffits had rotted away. This was a big neon "OPEN" sign to every raccoon in Macon County over the many years that the house was vacant. Bevier...you must have a coon problem and I think they were all in my attic at one point just having one big shitfest. I really debated on posting this picture because at some point in the future when the house is done I would like to have people over and food will probably be involved and I would like for said people to actually eat the food and not politely decline because they are thinking of this picture and know that it happened right above them. But, I said I was going to post everything about this renovation journey and this is part of it.
Lovely, right? And to put this into perspective a little more, this is a floor joist not a flat floor which means that poo is about 6" deep. This is also just one floor joist and most that were exposed were full or almost full. For anyone reading this that is wondering what kind of precautions I took (MOM!), yes I was wearing a heavy duty ventilation mask...although I am fairly certain that I should never donate blood, plasma or try to have children.
And to make things even more sanitary, why wouldn't I find a mummified..."something"?
Ok, deep breath everyone. Let's leave those images for a second and go to our happy place.
Over the course of working on the attic, I've said "I just need one more day and I'll be done!" about 50 different trips up. However, I really do feel like I'm one day away from that check mark.
Before & After
The poo has left the building!
Still a few things that need to be cleared out but definitely a big difference.
The roof peak and chimney make it a pretty cool room.
So there you have it. 3 years in the making but the attic of horrors is almost conquered!
In other Manor news, I attempted to make the house look festive this year during Christmas and put battery powered candles in the windows. Not sure I achieved festive or creepy?
I also put a tree in the window. My sisters exact words, "You're nuts".