A Dizzying Time

The pace is picking up. Yesterday morning the house company delivered the last of pieces of the house: all the doors, stairs, railings, banisters, shelves, porch and deck rails, and trim.

You don’t realize how many interior doors a typical house has until you see them stacked everywhere. Here are some in the office…

… and in the front hall.

The stairs are stored on the front porch to wait. They will be installed near the end of construction, to keep them from being damaged by the workmen’s boots and ladders.

We are running out of room to put anything. Here is Lucy’s yellow kitchen with the cabinets waiting to be installed.

The cabinets couldn’t wait in the garage because that is full of appliances. They couldn’t wait in the basement because that is full of boxes. They couldn’t wait in the mudroom because that had to be cleared for Nick to tape the ceiling (and soon, to tile the floor) …

… and for my friend Tom (Alison’s husband) and me to panel the walls.

The paneling is some very inexpensive tongue and groove pine that I bought at the same time as I purchased my flooring. The boards cost less than 1/3 the price at the local lumberyard. They, too, are “rustic” — knotty short pieces. However I thought any wood paneling would be a desirable, tough surface for the walls of a farm mudroom, and with lockers and cabinets, one won’t see a lot of it anyway.

Before we could start work on the walls, Tom realized he would have to fix the doorways. Tom is a very gentle, kind soul. He looked at the messes that were Dean’s door installations and said merely, “I can’t quite think what his plan was with these doors.”

Tom has taught woodworking at school and camp for decades, however, so he has not only skill but patience with mistakes. Without further comment he began chiseling out the massive gobs of hardened foam that hung all over the interior of each one and then cut scrap wood to create jamb extensions, to bring the doorways out to be flush with the future paneling.

It is a great relief to me to watch Dean’s expensive, problematic work disappear.

We are staining the boards with Minwax Ipswich Pine before putting them up. (For once I didn’t agonize over choices: this is the color I picked for the trim in the apartment seven years ago.) The stain hides a lot of the paneling imperfections. We will cut around others.

Staining the boards will make the room dark but the mudroom in this lake house is paneled in stained wood and I’ve been impressed how practical and carefree it is.

While we waited for boards to dry, Tom and I inspected the basement. The wall of the mudroom foundation, which Nick tied into the house foundation, is 7.5″ shallower than the new walls. Tom is going to help me bring it out to be flush.

Eventually, most of our dozens of white melamine bookcases will go down here, and the basement will be walled with books.

All day long, the house was a hive of activity. Nick was on the roof, finishing the flashing before the predicted days of rain.

Dan the electrician was doing some final wiring. Jerry was starting to paint. Nick’s father, Mike, was installing doors. I kept looking around and wanting to cry.

I have a house and my house has a kitchen and my kitchen has a door!

Meanwhile my friend Mike arrived to mow. I had told myself last summer that I would hire a boy to help me keep on top of the mowing. Instead I will hire Mike, who is retired. I have teased him that it will be a happy new convenience to have the mechanic right on site when the mowers inevitably break down.

In between staining boards and working in the basement, I made trips out to the pastures to move the sheep, to bring Mike gas, and to pump up various tires. I also stopped in the barn to check on Moxie, who is due to calve at any minute. Since she went down with milk fever at her last calving, I know she is likely to go down again. I have the meds on hand to save her but I am nervous.

Speaking of nerves, on Wednesday morning I got an email from my mortgage man at the bank, alerting me that the Federal Reserve was raising the interest rate, and I probably wanted to get my application in immediately, i.e. that very day, before the bank’s rate rose to match.

I spent the afternoon with papers spread out across the dining room table. I finished all notes and calculations, drove it to DH for his signature, drove into town, and squeaked the mortgage application in just before closing.

The pace is making me breathless.

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3 Responses to A Dizzying Time

  1. Elaine Murphy says:

    Whew!!!

  2. Missy says:

    So exciting!

  3. Shawn says:

    It’s the home stretch! Hang in there!!

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