Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Saving the world, one board at a time

Yesterday DH and I removed flooring from an old circa 1900 house that is being demolished next door. I had been looking for hardwood floors to reclaim for a long time--for some reason our second floor stairwell has no flooring and we have been living with paint-splattered plywood for three years already. The doomed house used to be the thrift store for St. Vincent's Catholic Church next door, until this year when the church constructed a tin building to replace it. I won't editorialize here about the prevalence of tin sheds in downtown Bedford historic districts, much as I would like to. Anyway, the old house next door was coming down, and we needed floors, so Fortune smiled on us.

DH and I started early--the floors were on the second level of the house, under the eaves, so we knew it would be hot work. Fortunately yesterday was a beautiful day. Temperatures were in the 70's and we stayed pretty comfortable. My job was to hammer a pry bar under each of the nails so that DH could come through with his saw and stick the blade in the space I created and cut the nails. We kept most of the boards in the room to stand on, then at the end threw them all out of the window to be loaded onto DH's dump truck.

I had no idea how many people visited that thrift store until I watched them come and go all day. Parking is pretty tight, so inevitably every time I wanted to throw a board out, I had to stick my whole body out of the window to make sure I didn't endanger anyone with falling wood. Then of course I would hit my head coming back in. At one point DH said, "It would have been a lot easier to just buy hardwood, but no, somebody always wants to save the world."

Everything went great until about 2:00 in the afternoon when my hammer hand started to go numb. At this point we were almost done getting all the boards loosened and nails cut, so I stayed to finish that part and left DH to load the truck. After a shower and a nap I felt a lot better and this morning I'm sore but completely functional. Added to the wood DS and DH reclaimed last week from the first floor of the same house, we now have enough for our whole second floor stairwell and my sewing room, too, I think, so life is good, as long as I don't think about how much work there still is to do to remove all those cut-off nails and then actually install the floors. Saving the world is a messy business.

I also got one of DD's charcoal drawings framed this week at Acorn Valley Frames. Gene Abel does such a good job. Here's the drawing--it's of a jacket she bought in France that she wears all the time. DH thinks it looks like a crazy bunny and is too creepy for our old haunted house. I like it, but if she wants to take it this fall for her new apartment that's okay with me. What do you think?


  1. Wow! That was a lot of work! I bet they will look fantastic though!

  2. I physically couldn't even image doing that type of hard work! I admire your determination to keep the old jail in good shape, and with original materials. Someday someone will appreciate all your hard work and faithfulness to the period! :) You are contributing to the next generations of that house/jail!