TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2004

Building Permit

Well, the bad news is, there’s no way we’re going to have a building permit in October. The good news is, we don’t need a building permit to replace the roof, so we can start anytime. This strikes me as quite bizarre — we need a permit to replace a window, but not the roof — but then again, everything we’ve gone through has been quite bizarre. I let the contractor know that we’re a go, and Dawn is getting ready to move…

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2004

Moving Day

Gary Kopperman and his entire crew from The Restoration Clinic arrived with a trailer truck, and spent the entire day clearing out all of the furniture. Dawn’s mother, bless her heart, spent the whole day helping. I know it was traumatic for her and I would have done anything to save her from that, but I was grateful she was there. Dawn, of course, spent the whole day wondering if she’d ever see her furniture again.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2004

Resurrection

Dawn is amazing. She talked to the county engineer and somehow got him to agree to a one-lane driveway with a pull-off instead of a two-lane road. They have agreed to have another meeting. We still have to show adequate access and parking, floodwater levels, stormwater management, well capacity, and an approved septic module, but I’m now okay with all of that. Always amazing what a little perspective will do.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 09, 2004

Warped

Yesterday, in addition to the mold on the walls, we also found much of the furniture was in trouble. We immediately called Gary Kopperman from The Restoration Clinic, who couldn’t think of anything more supportive to say than, “I told you so.”

The humidity had caused the veneer to pull away on much of the dining room furniture, and warp all of the table leaves. I thought the entire dining set was now worthless, but remember this was Dawn’s grandparents’ furniture – it could burn to the ground and she would insist on restoring it. So we asked Gary to take care of it. He can’t do it before we leave, but he’ll be back first thing next week.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 08, 2004

Charming Forge

When we first met Bill Coleman, I asked what made him want to restore the Coleman-Stiegel mansion, and he said “Charming Forge.” Another ironmaster’s mansion, it was later used only as a summer house, and so had never had heating or plumbing. After being vacant for many years, it was sold at public auction, so you can imagine the shape it was in. The new owners, Chip and Vonnie Henderson, completely restored it, and Bill said once he saw that, he knew he had to restore his place, too.

Well, in need of some inspiration ourselves, we contacted Chip and Vonnie, and they invited us over for a tour. Well, I have to say, I wasn’t inspired, I was depressed. I’m tired of seeing houses older than 1760 that are larger, grander, and fully restored. I offered to trade houses but they weren’t interested (and Dawn gave me “The Eye”).

Afterwards, we brought them down to see our place. This was the first time we’d been inside since July, when I mentioned the walls were damp. Now they were covered with mold. Dawn burst into tears at this newest insult to the house. Later, Vonnie said to me that she would have a lot more tears to go through before this project was over. Truer words have never been said.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 07, 2004

Small Town

Our friend Sally suggested we talk to the township supervisor, Jeff Burkholder, to which Dawn replied, “Hey, I went to school with Jeff.” I am moving to a very small town… Dawn did talk to Jeff and, basically, we’re at the mercy of the engineers. If they want to hold us to every regulation, that is their perogative. The project won’t get done, but it’s their choice.