A Few of My Favorite Days

They say a house is just a place to live, but a home is a place to love (do they say that? If they don’t, they should.)

We didn’t live in our Cape May house, but we certainly did love the time that we spent there. Even the time that we worked there (which was pretty much of the time that we spent there).

Here are just a few of my favorite days (and/or nights, and/or weeks):

1. The night we realized that the pipe from the upstairs bathroom came straight down the house and emptied in the crawlspace. And had been emptying there for weeks. My husband didn’t just “crawl” out of the “space” when he realized that, he scurried backwards like a spider…one that was scurrying away from a bigger, poop-covered spider. You can see the whole story in yesterday’s post.

2. The day our pool contractor drove into the fire hydrant next to our driveway and broke not just the hydrant itself, but the water main underneath it. We had owned the house for two weeks and had not yet met any of the neighbors. We could see them all, of course, as they walked outside and watched the water rise with worry (it ended up about halfway up their car tires). Although it would have been convenient to meet them all at once at this impromptu block party, I didn’t think that that was the time. So the hub and I fell to the floor, and painted baseboards until the water receded. I darted above the windowsill just once, to take this photo.

3. The day we wanted to plug in a radio to play music while we painted the third floor bedrooms, only to discover that there wasn’t a single.solitary.outlet anywhere on the floor. (This, despite the fact that the old owners had multiple lamps in the room as if there were outlets there).

4. The very next day, when I called the home inspector and screamed at him for not mentioning the lack of outlets (there was only one outlet on the whole second floor as well). Highlight of my call: “Even an IDIOT can count to ZERO.” (Note: I didn’t even call him about the sewage line that opened up underneath the house. I didn’t think I could top my earlier line, and I wanted to go out on a high note with him).

5. The day we came downstairs and found Mike’s 4’8″, 86 year old grandmother standing ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER wiping down the inside of the cabinets. “Does your daughter know you’re up there?” I asked as I walked through. “She doesn’t need to know,” said Grandma. We needed the help, so I continued on my way. I’m not sure how she ever got down again…but I know she wasn’t on the countertop when we stopped by the house last weekend.

6. The day/week/month we realized that our friend Birdman had no home renovation skills whatsoever. He couldn’t pull out old carpet tacks. He couldn’t paint baseboards (unless, by painting, you mean slapping a full gallon of paint onto a two foot section of baseboards so that it all slid off and onto the newly painted floor. He did that pretty well). He couldn’t scrape wallpaper (although he determined that in less time than I think it actually took to get the wallpaper scraper out of the toolbox).

7. The day we realized that Birdman was invaluable for providing comic relief as we did all the crappy jobs like pulling out old carpet tacks and painting baseboards and scraping wallpaper. And, subsequently, the relief we felt when we realized that he was somehow able to pick up lunch without hurting himself or anyone else. Everyone has a gift, Birdman, and we are just the kind of people who will exploit yours.

8. The day my dad and my brother drove to Cape May with their farm truck, pulled out all of the horrible old carpeting, and TOOK IT HOME WITH THEM to burn. I am still grateful, and I hope it isn’t still smoldering!

9. All the days that friends and family came to help us…like Karen, who painted, and my brother’s girlfriend Heather who helped me lay a path around the pool made of broken slate (I am convinced that that was the day that my brother decided he would marry her). My friend Mary Jane, who painted the shutters on the shed, and who bought the rockers for the front porch…and who passed away five years ago from breast cancer. The 140 hours that Mike’s mother and grandmother spent scraping wallpaper from the bathroom (full disclosure to the new owners: we just painted over the wallpaper in the kitchen and the downstairs bathroom). Eating dinner in the living room…with Mike’s Dad (who could never get enough of Tony’s batter dipped fries), Mr. Mark, me and the hub. Speaking of Tony’s, we made a sign one weekend that said “Thanks Tony: Corporate Sponsor of this Renovation.” We ate a lot of Philly cheesesteaks (fried onions, provolone cheese, and hot peppers, please) in those 18 weeks.
10. The day we finally finished everything and had time to just lay in the pool sipping mai tai’s. Oh wait…that never happened.