As the sawdust settles in our new home, we mark one month now in the new digs. It still feels a bit like a dream.
On April 1 we took possession and we've been working on making our "forever home" perfect ever since. Now, while my husband and I could see the potential in our little bungalow on the hill, the accumulation of mould in the windows turned many would-be buyers off. Those horrible windows were the first thing to go, and I did a little dance when the initial one came out on April 20.
My husband and I took a "work holiday" during the week that followed and set to removing all the unhealthy eyesores.
My dad came over from the island to help, and after our contractor friend gave us a how-to demonstration, we were good to go.
I was on siding detail, mostly because it took me seven swings of the hammer to my husband's two to drive a nail into place.
I found the siding removal to be the most fun, but then I do enjoy destroying things a little more than putting them back together.
I learned a lot about my house throughout the work week, like how many spiders and yucky, crawly critters make their home beneath the siding and in between cracks.
I spent some time cleaning spider webs and nests before replacing the pieces of siding I removed. The men told me it was a fruitless effort, that the creepy crawlies would return, but it made me feel better anyway.
My 71-year-old father was the workhorse of our group, rising at dawn and getting us going before we could argue our need for coffee or extra sleep.
He's got a work ethic that can't be beat, and the crazy old guy actually likes the physical labour of building, which was evident in the smile on his face even when it was covered in sawdust.
Of course, as with any reno, things weren't all smiles and good times. Most holes needed to be cut larger and we found some "special" ways the old owners made some of the windows fit. I think they had a shim obsession when installing the sliding doors off our bedroom. But with a level, a saw, some choice words and brute force, we got 'er done.
We found some other interesting things while tearing windows out, like the special cement and rebar cutting job someone did at the back of the house to install sliding windows there. With a little sleuthing and Dad's concrete analysis, we figured out there were at least two other renovations done at our home over the years.
The revelation solved the mystery of the cement slab in the lawn outside near where the fireplace is now, which I've got to admit bugged me a bit.
We're using the slab for a hammock area, but now I know it was once a patio for a long-gone exit from the house.
We've been finding out other fun things about our new home during our first weeks of living there, and for the most part, our discoveries have been good. I vividly remember the first time I heard the doorbell ring. Our neighbour across the street had come to collect her son, and when she pushed the bell, a beautiful chime rang out that made me smile and possibly jump and clap a little. As I commented on how nice the sound was, she just smiled and said, "Isn't it fun being a first time homeowner?"
Yes, yes it is.
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