Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A New Gate and Some Old Floors -- jcarolek

The past few weeks have been busy. The old farmhouse, charming as she is, or at least, as she will be after a lot of work, is still a very old structure, sitting on some very wet ground.  It is clear to me that her former inhabitants did not experience the record-breaking rainfalls we have experienced in these past few months.  What with all of the snow and rain, the tasks we had to undertake prior to even getting to the house renovation, included many, many truckloads of road dirt and gravel, installing rain gutters on the main structure and the detached garage, emergency septic system repairs, and over 500 feet of trenching, dug with shovels, to divert the excessive water away from the structures and the overwhelmed septic system.

Now, understand, all of this work had to be performed after my regular job working hours.  Suffice to say, digging trenches in the dark, working on septic tanks and drain fields in the dark, became the norm.  Add to this schedule, the hours and hours of time spent in the divorce process, and I can honestly say, I was burning the candle at at least three ends!

April 1 was my first court date.  I was attempting to have my husband's attorney removed on the grounds that by representing my husband, having previously represented me in my first divorce, as well as in several real estate transactions, and in dealings regarding my current home, this attorney was operating under a clear conflict of interest.  As it turned out, there was only one witness in the motion to dismiss hearing (me) and both my current attorney and this attorney whom I had employed variously over a 12 year, questioned me. The judge asked me some questions and then asked both counsel to join him in chambers.  When he returned, he did what I knew he'd do, the minute he entered the court that day.  He declined to remove this attorney as my husband's counsel.

While this might sound a little odd to the casual observer, I mean, no fewer than three qualified attorneys had provided me opinions that this attorney SHOULD have declined to accept the case, what is not as obvious is the local, small town, good old boy environment.  What I do know is there was no court reporter in the room, nor any mechanical recording being performed.  Though I was sworn in and was testifying under oath, there is no transcript of either my words or those of the attorneys or the judge......  I'm still trying to wrap my brain around this whole process that results in a judge's decision, without any official record of what was said...under oath, or otherwise.  At any rate, I will be appealing etc........

In early March, my husband had called begging me to work out a settlement agreement with him, which, again, I spent MANY hours trying to do.  In the end, and even though the settlement agreement was EXACTLY what he'd said he wanted, he did not follow through...in fact, 10 days after he called, requesting the settlement, he abruptly stopped his correspondence.  I suppose his greed simply overtook him and he is certain he will be awarded better terms by the courts.  We'll just have to wait and see.  Nevertheless, I did NOT appreciate the additional waste of time this little exercise afforded me.

Still, I kept working toward getting into my old farmhouse, and kept my eye on the  treasures being offered up on Craigslist -- treasures that would be useful at the old farmhouse. Last Saturday included a trip to a nearby town where my friend and I secured some tools from one such Craigslist seller. We hit it off with this seller, Hank, and made plans to get together again this past Saturday to play some music and share a pizza.

Before I knew it, we were in Holy Week and choir practice and church services took over.  Still, Saturday we made the time to enjoy a beautiful afternoon of music and shared meal with Hank and his wife at their home.  The weather was finally delightful, the rain taking a well-earned vacation for a few days.

We left Hank's and headed to the old farmhouse to drop off our latest Craigslist "finds".  My new neighbor was in his yard as we drove up and he and his wife invited us to eat some supper with them.  I still had a little time before I had to leave for Easter Vigil service, so, though not hungry, we accepted the invitation and shared a second meal in a single day with new friends.  Technically, we did not get a lot of work done on Saturday, but the day of rest was very welcome.

Easter Day dawned another beauty and, after the morning service, it was yet another trip to another Craigslist "find."  This time, the seller had some hinges that could be used in some of the old farmhouse projects.  When he was selling us the hinges, the seller, Charlie, asked, "If you don't mind my asking, what are you going to do with all of these hinges."  We explained about the old farmhouse I had recently purchased and which my friend is helping me renovate, and Charlie got real excited.  He told us the story of the old farmhouse in which he'd been raised, the farm owned by his grandparents, and on which is now a huge mall.  He described his sadness at the old farmhouse being torn down and told us of his father's determination to keep and reuse everything that was able to be salvaged.  Charlie then produced a box full of beautiful, century old door handles with porcelain knobs, and locks from the doors in that old farmhouse.  This little box of treasures he GAVE to me to use in the renovation.

Back at the my old farmhouse that Easter afternoon, we installed the gate I'd purchased nearly a month ago, but which had sat patiently awaiting installation -- taking its turn behind all of the "water related tasks."  And after the gate installation, it was on to the task that had us intrigued from the very beginning.  The tearing up of the sagging floor of the old farmhouse.  The task is not an easy one.  Others have performed "updating" over the years, and their updating, though presumably intended to improve the home, actually only succeeded in covering up some problems that should have been addressed.  We intend to address them.

The filthy carpet and underlying padding were removed first, exposing OSB board, likely installed in the 1980's or 1990's.  Under the OSB was another layer of carpet, this a VERY colorful pattern of reds and oranges and probably from the late 70's or early 80's.  Below this layer of colorful carpet we found the original floorboards.....in VERY bad repair, showing damage from both water and termites/insects.  Of course we already knew we'd find the damaged floor joists, and that is why we decided to expose the beams and joists by removing all of the first story flooring..... We managed to pull up 2 1/2 sections out of a total of 14 sections in the living room.... The going was much slower than speculated, and I think it will be VERY likely I will STILL be writing about this floor repair a month from now...

At the end of the day, as I crawled into bed and reflected on my Easter, I decided it was a good one indeed.  No, it did not include the traditional Easter dinner at Dad's with the rest of the family.  But the morale boost of FINALLY being able to install the gate, and start the floor removal in the old farmhouse, was long overdue.  The meals and music shared Saturday helped make my Easter weekend a truly lovely one.


Nekkid Chicken said...

Awe Judy,

Isn't life wonderful, small blessings one day at a time. I love the LONG driveway -- way nice.

Happy Easter,

Chris said...

Your eternal good humor through overwhelming trials (at least for all the rest of us!) helps me get through all the ups and downs in my life right now. Good luck in court; I know all will be okay with your latest "project"! Chris