Tag Archives: Renovation stories

Middle age

Last weekend, during “the blizzard” of Charlotte 2010, I attended a poetry reading which featured my friends and fellow writers Anne Hicks and Richard Alan Taylor.  At the close of the performance time for the featured readers there was an open mic session.  Anne made me aware of this before hand, but I had been poetically dry for a while and didn’t feel like I had anything new to offer.  That afternoon, before I left, the snow began to fall and I began to fantasize about quiet, snowy mornings and hunkering down with something good to read.  There is a fireplace in my kitchen and when the home renovations are finished, there will be a sitting area in front of that fireplace with cozy chairs, a floor lamp and coffee table.  At that time, my roof was still leaking and the possibility of snow melt finding its way into my kitchen cupboards, made the fantasy all the richer.

As of today, the new roof is complete:  the house is water tight and I am excited enough about that fact to re-live that warm, wonderful feeling that growing older and more comfortable is within easy reach.  Knowing how blessed I am to live in America where I can vividly picture this blissful possibility, I share the following poem that I wrote last week for open mic at Green Rice Galleries

Middle Age

Hot buttered toast
Crisp fried maple bacon
And a bowl of cheese grits

Taken with tea,
The morning medications,
And the paper

The joy of quiet simplicity
The click of the heater turning on
To squeeze out the damp winter morning

Elicits a sigh over the kitchen table
The crinkled newsprint pages turning…
It is peaceful

This is middle age.



Week 1: Rain and Pain

Yeah, I’m still smiling.  Week one of my renovation brought rain 3 days out of 5.  However, in that time, I still saw a little progress and got a story.

Day one, the shingles and debris rained down.  I danced in my kitchen.

Day two, red clay and brick dust poured down the chimney as it was being removed from the space where my new master suite would go.  (Don’t panic, public…there are fireplaces in every room.  Only one works, however.)  My husband, Frank, had the men tape off the upstairs and downstairs fireplaces with plastic and that stopped the flow of lung-clogging powder.  What a relief.  I had almost considered investing in a Swiffer.  Glad that didn’t happen:  for Pete’s sake, it’s a paper towel on a stick!!

Day three, rain.  The engineer arrived and assured Frank that the plan for the build out would be solid in the new room.

Day 4, rain and story.  Although the rain came down and the framers could not continue work upstairs, we began the replacement of the windows in our home.  Some of these are from the renovation done in 1920 and all are in bad shape.  When I got home, I asked my spouse if anything had been done because I had not noticed any change.  He smiled at me and shook his head.  In his best southern church-lady voice, he crooned “Well, Bless His Heaaaaaart!”  and told me the first of what is sure to be many stories to come. Our front and side porches offer cover from the rain so that installation on downtairs windows that didn’t require a new sash could begin.  The first few went in just fine, but the third was giving the installer a bit of trouble.  It appeared to be too big.  He called my husband over to show him some quirks, thinking that the project manager had ordered the wrong size windows.  Frank assured him that the gentleman who did the measuring came out for a good half hour and checked it twice before ordering.

“Well,” the installer began, “the ones in front are about a quarter inch too short and the one back here is too big.”  I wonder if a visible lightbulb appeared over both their heads at the same time.  The installer got out his measuring tape, Frank went to the front porch to check the sizes of the windows stacked there.  Sure enough, there were a few windows that varied in size.  The installer promised to return the next day to correct the problem.

Day 5:  framers and window installer due to appear.  Rain appears instead.  Looks like rain on Monday, too.  I should still be able to get some windows installed sometime next week.  Or re-installed.  Possibly.

“Bless His Heaaaaaaart!”