Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Age Doesn't Stop This Family

So I had the first-time task for me of taking out the chimney in my house.  I think I might have mentioned in an earlier post that I thought I could get a head start on this project while I waited for a carpenter with roofing skills and I would take down the chimney myself, and let him patch the roof.

Funny how roofs don't seem that high or steep until you get to the top of the ladder and literally crawl on the roof with claws like a cat. Anyway, I was determined and I made it to the chimney with sledgehammer, hammer and chisel in hand and ongoing prayers for coordination.

When I got ready to take the first swing, I noticed a wasp flying out of the chimney, and then another, and then another.

I quickly got back in cat-claw, must-crawl position and was now praying out loud to Jesus to please get me down that ladder safely and I will never be this stupid again.

He answered.  I made it down safe.  I went inside and tore up the couch.

The carpenter had a busy schedule, and said he didn't have time to take the chimney out in the attic. I was really hoping for since I had no access to the attic other than the tiny dormer outside, which would require more prayer to get up a ladder and likely Spanx.

Well, I had thought about taking the ceiling out of my kitchen and doing something different there, so what better way to get to the attic.

So what looked like this...(I know, not a pretty site as it is)

Soon looked like this...

Once I got into that attic, I realized I had a lot of storage space here, if I could eventually finish it a bit.  I had even hoped I could brainstorm a way into making this into a third/kids bedroom, but not likely.

In any case, I once again prayed for coordination as I walked from beam to beam, and placed a few scrap pieces of plywood down to provide a boardwalk to the chimney in the center of the house.  

I quickly learned that the process of taking the bricks down, across the boardwalk, and down the ladder was not going to work.  I began tossing the bricks down the chimney, only realizing the chimney was clogged from other bricks.  Ugh...eventually, I stacked out enough bricks to allow me to keep unclogging the chimney, and kept repeating the process.

When I got down from the attic, there was a knock on my door.  It was my cousin Jayne who is 78 years old.  She had on her jeans, sweatshirt, a ball cap, gloves, and tools in hand.

She had advised me to take out the chimney as one of the first projects and like the Talley side of the family will do, analyzed just how it should be done, how long it will take, etc.  So when I was in the living room removing the rest of the chimney, she took every single brick into the bedroom for me and tossed them out the window.

In this shot, you can see the shelves that resemble a Christmas-tree shape to the right.  It was the creative solution of Roscoe and Margaret, a couple that I remember fondly from my childhood and lived there more than 50 years.  The creative solution was not working for me, though, it was in the way, and that's why I took it out.

Here it is with the shelves and panel board removed...

and this is my spunky, full of life cousin Jayne, ready to knock down the world.

This is a lovely shot of me showing as I often do these days, the importance of wearing a heavy-duty mask for tasks like this.

With just the right tools and attitude, it was proven to me once again that there is nothing a girl shouldn't try (even when they realize there are wasps in the chimney while on the roof) and that age doesn't have to stop us from these kind of adventures.  My cousin Jayne reminded me of that fact that day and so many other days.

We conquered the task that day.

And we created a pile of bricks that I (along with the help of an adopted brother, bless their souls) stacked behind my garage for future use.

Stay tuned for upcoming post regarding the kitchen, but that's it for now. 


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Slow Process...

So, I had to leave town for a week of computer training, had friends staying with me for a weekend in Nashville, and then had my niece's wedding...so, house progress has not been as fast as I would like (never is).

But few things have happened since my last post.  I came home one day after to work to find this Tonka toy in my driveway. My kind brother told me one day that he would pull out the bushes in my front yard as well as cut down the tree, and the next day by golly it was done.

Now, you can see the front my house.  I plan to close in the front porch, take the windows out and replace with a couple new windows, and center the door underneath the dormer. Eventually, I would like to add on a front porch, but we'll see what I get done with the rest of the house prior to spring/summer.

I have some great friends in my hometown, a few of the guys are sort of like adopted brothers.  So one day, my real brother takes bushes out and cuts a tree down for me.  I go out of town and I come back to find that an "adopted brother" surprised me by mowing my entire yard (1+ acre), cleaning up the front and doing who knows what with the boxwoods.  What a nice surprise!

This Saturday, the same "adopted brother" comes by with his four-wheeler on the trailer behind his truck (I love Southern Illinois).  He hooks the tree stump and pulls it to the backyard where the fire pit is.  He also takes the rest of the wood and stacks it up at the tree near the fire pit.

Because you see, not only is he helping a friend out, but my backyard is becoming a regular hangout with friends and some of these "adopted brothers."  My phone died before I could take more photos, but if you can burn a couch in one fire, you must try to top it or have some creative fun with the next one.  Prior to our bonfire, we had some discussions that somehow led to who has tried Spam and what your favorite cereal was growing up.  Turns out Cookie Crisp, Fruity Pepples and Captain Crunch's Crunch Berries were the clear winners and we (o.k., probably just me) had some serious cravings for these cereals.  So, this bonfire, among the normal hot dogs and chips, includes "Spam On A Stick" (in the photo) and Cookie Crisp, Fruity Pebbles and Crunch Berries (yes, with bowls, milk, the whole deal).

I graduated with all of these "brothers" in the photo, and am lucky to have these life-long friends.

By the way, another Southern Illinois thing.  When I left my house and drove down the main street of town, right smack in the middle of the road, in front of the funeral home, were two large deer.  Luckily, I didn't hit them, and at the next intersection was one of the town cops, so I just rolled down my window and told him. Moving from a big city to seeing deer in the middle of town's main street makes me laugh at the changes in my life.

Stay tuned for more demo, thus more bonfires. :)