This will mostly be about 2 misadventures. One has just already been mentioned before so I won’t go into too much detail.
The first was two weeks before our back and forth to WA would end and we would totally settle in the house. The house was crashed into by a car, destroying the kitchen. We came home to a mess and it has taken a month of negotiation before we’ve finally been able to make an appointment to have our broken foundation beam replaced with a new, steel beam. So, that project is still very far from finished. We have to have the beam installed, repair the walls, fortify the house against further accidents (thank you reddit for the advice! Getting in the local news was pretty cool too), install a new floor, install interior walls, paint, install new cabinets and appliances, etc (the refrigerator is fine!). And we plan to do a lot of it ourselves. Exciting!
The most recent misadventure was when the ceiling in our bedroom collapsed.
When we moved in, the drop ceiling in the bedroom was a little loose in one spot. Drew’s mom and I took this opportunity to peak and see what was up there (probably making the situation worse). It looked like we might have a smooth ceiling with boards that I could paint which seemed nice. It seemed like a lot of nice things had been foolishly covered or ignored (high ceilings, a chimney, hardwood floors, solid walls that had plenty of room for good insulation, usable crawl space, an epic attic, excess cabling and wires that were just left there willy nilly).
In this case, it was not so lovely. Drew was sitting in the bedroom when he heard a noise that just didn’t seem right. He got up and walked out. Just after exiting the room, the ceiling tiles started to drop. He called me up. More ceiling tiles dropped before my eyes, as did filth, insulation, and a couple mice (tiny, adorable ones!). It was clear we would have to pull it all down. The fall was inevitable as many of the tiles were thinning and were forming holes. The boards above were as well. The reasonable thing to do would be to take it all down and put up a new ceiling. Or, as we had talked about in the beginning, we could build into the attic and do a vaulted ceiling. Drew made call to his dad (who had been a general contractor) and consulted with him and the vaulted ceiling is what we’re opting for.
Tearing down a ceiling below an attic full of blown in insulation is not fun. As we pulled down and stacked the tiles, another mouse fell and scurried off. We also found one that had been flattened by one of the tiles. It was a sad moment. There had also been a bird dead and floating in the little pond in the yard. We took a break and buried them both.
As a intermission from the bedroom story, allow me to explain a little about this pond, the 3rd misadventure.
When I first saw the pond, it was dirty and needed some work, but I found it very pretty and saw the potential for it to be prettier. To keep the mosquito population from growing in there, I turned on the pump so some water circulated. It was weak circulation, but I thought it would be enough. On coming back the final time from Washington, there was a dead bird in it. I thought it might be heat related. I disposed of the poor thing. The mosquito issue expanded. Drew hated the pond. Whatever the case, ours was a problem. The brother of the lady that used to own the house would stop by now and again an he’d tell me all kinds of interesting things about the house and we’d exchange stories. On one occasion he warned me about birds falling dead in the pond. That gave me pause. I told him about the one I’d removed. He just thought it was a weird thing, but it got me thinking.
I wondered if there was something toxic coming from it and if a good cleaning and renewal and installing proper circulation would help. Drew and I had already decided to dump it and I wanted to clean it.
Then I found the second bird dead. Between the mosquitoes and the death, I started hating the pond. So, we both wanted to be done with it. I still thought a good cleaning and nice set up with strong circulation would help, but I cared less about that and just wanted it dumped out and not there killing things anymore. Drew read online about bird deaths by ponds. It could be that they were being electrocuted because of the pump or that they were going in for a bath and because it’s deep, they drowned. The day after the bedroom escapade and dead animal burial, we bucketed out the water and emptied the pond. Good riddance, bird killing, mosquito breading water hole!
After that solemn moment, I was up in the attic, balancing on supporting boards and rafters, shoveling the insulation to the sides of the attic that were not above the bedroom. Meanwhile, Drew was tearing down the boards from bellow.
We made some progress. I climbed down. Drew had the shop vac and I had a broom and dust pan and we started the process of cleaning, even though we’d be fouling it up again. The result of our work was a big hole in the ceiling and a dirt, insulation, and mouse filled bedroom.
Photo of Drew in bedroom. It is raining filth and insulation in there. Drew’s arms (not showing) are completely covered in dark grey.
So, we’re short a kitchen and a bedroom. Nothing we can’t handle! But, we’ve finally decided to allow ourselves air conditioning as we sleep on my old futon in the living room, crowded with the packed stuff that will someday be in our kitchen and set up in the living room.
At least we have Internet and running water . 🙂