A renovation tale, part 1…


This could take several posts to explain.  Background information is needed.  Personalities need to be fleshed out a bit.  My passive aggressive wimpiness has to be explained.  Family dynamics are involved.  There will be more pictures as well.

As I have previously explained, S and I have been together for a little over ten years.  Because of the whole gay thing, S’s parents took about eight years to warm up to me and the concept of “us” as a couple.  “Warm up” being an understatement.  When Mr. S first met me, he took a swing at me.  I ducked (my oldest brother was a Golden Gloves boxer and taught me some skills).  There were a couple of years where we had limited contact with her family.  Those were the years when her parents we convinced that I was controlling S like some sort of puppet master (yeah, I sometimes wish I could).  Then things changed with the puking on their couch incident and we have been on decent terms since then.  There are now even pictures of me in their living room (although I still wonder if they only put them out when they know we are coming to visit).  Last summer, after we moved into the house, Mrs. S got this bright idea of throwing us a house warming/wedding shower, which we nixed because I am anti-social and we already own everything a young couple needs to start out a new life together.   And it would have been embarrassing because, well, we’ve been non-technically married for 10 freakin’ years.  We totally hurt her feelings by saying no, but looking back on it, either of us having the courage to say “No” to anything is a memory that is going into a scrapbook.  You see, after that glorious moment in time, we stopped saying “no” or stopped saying “no” loud enough.

In November of 2006, S’s parents came to visit us in our apartment.  We had really just formulated the idea to start looking for a house to buy since we had lived in our new city for 3 years and we then confident that we were here to stay.  Since I have a difficult time talking to S’s parents, I have a tendency to just let things fly out of my mouth that I think they would like to hear.  And those things have to be short spurts of information because Mr. & Mrs. S have the attention spans of gnats.  During a lull in the conversation I blurted out that we were going to buy a house.  Oh, the S’s were thrilled.  They have hated every apartment that we have ever lived in (about 6) because they were old or grimy or in bad neighborhoods or because I slept in the same bed as their daughter…  S’s brother and his wifehad just purchased their first home and since he is the favorite child, he apparently invented home buying and renovation.  They gave us all sorts of tips that they had learned while going through the process with the favorite son.  And then Mr. S said that once we found something he would come stay with us while we fixed it up.  I, of course, said “Brilliant!  We could use the help!  Thanks!”   When clearly I should have said something like, “Hell no.  But thanks for offering.”

On December 12, 2006, we found our dream house.  We put in an offer, it was accepted, the house was inspected and we closed the deal on January 29, 2007.  The house is over 100 years old, which we love. It has character and funky shaped rooms.  It is not a cookie cutter. The house inspector told us it was in amazing shape except for the wiring, which was the old school knob & tube stuff.  But everything else was great.  And it turns out that we got a steal on it as well.  Truth be told, we fell so in love with the house it really wouldn’t have mattered much what the inspector said.  Sure, there were tons of cosmetic changes (sorry looking wall paper and ugly tiled floors, etc) that we wanted to make, but we could have just moved right in.

We had a plan.  A great plan.  Since we didn’t have to pay a mortgage payment for February, we were going to stay in our apartment for another month so that I could scrape wall paper and have everything painted before we moved in.  Those were the big things we wanted to get done and once we lived there we could spend years renovating the house to utter perfection.  We could afford a month of rent and pay for the utilities for two places and still have money left over for paint and supplies.  A month would also give Mr. S, an electrician, to come up on weekends to work on our wiring.  Great plan.

The second week in February Mr. & Mrs. S came for a visit to check out the new house.  They didn’t care for it.  They don’t like old.  Anything built pre-1970 is old to them.  Mrs. S said, after walking through the house, “Well, we always knew S liked crapholes old houses.”  You could actually hear the disdain drip from her words.  Mr. S tried to convince us that we had been screwed by the sellers because the place wasn’t inhabitable.  By inhabitable he meant “1970’s split level“.  While S, her mother and I started scrapping wall paper in the kitchen, Mr. S walked all around the house checking things out.  Now, I need to explain that in this old house, the walls a thick.  You cannot hear much from room to room and you really cannot hear anything from the first floor to the second floor.  It is well built. 

It did strike me as odd that Mr. S was upstairs for so long, but I figured he went up into the attic to check out the wiring situation.  But then he reappeared for a few seconds to go down to the basement where the fuse box thingy is.  Electrician stuff, we assumed.  When Mrs. S got bored with the wallpaper task (after 45 minutes) she wanted us all to pack up and go back to our apartment.  It kind of pissed me off that I was going to lose an entire renovation day because of her attention span troubles, but I didn’t want to rock the boat.  She went upstairs to find Mr. S, but she failed to return.  Then S went up to check on her parents and she failed to return.  So I went upstairs to check on the three of them and the picture at the top of the screen is what I found.

2 Responses

  1. […] on February 4, 2008 by myrenovations At the start of our renovation process, I had a plan.  Of course, that all went to hell.  Not all my fault.  One of the biggest changes to the plan was in figuring out how to rid […]

  2. […] him.  You are going to need the background story for that explanation, so I now refer you to Renovation Tale part 1, Renovation Tale part 2, Renovation Tale part 3, Renovation Tale part 4 and Renovation Tale the […]

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