Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Four and a half years ago, we bought this "cute" little house. Since then, we've hit nothing but trouble. Have I ever blogged about the fact that I was never, for YEARS, able to get my shower walls clean? Then one day the walls started peeling, revealing big cracks in the vinyl. Turns out the shower walls had been PAINTED. Evidently, to hide all the cracks. And I have no idea what paint they used, but whatever it is, it doesn't clean well. Or at all, in fact.

But time here has made us grow to kind of love the place in spite of ourselves, and after having been keeping our eyes half open for once-in-a-lifetime incredible deals on land for the past few years, we finally decided to instead focus our efforts at making this place into our dream home. After all, there are some enormous benefits to living downtown. Like all the money we're saving by having only one car! And being able to walk everywhere! In fact, I was going to blog about this today--the fact that we're going to buckle down and make improvements here and turn it into a truly ideal urban homestead.

Then I got really ambitious and I decided to get straight to work. I went out and bought paint and started ripping up large pieces of carpet to paint the floors underneath (which we'd always thought were plywood.) my first glace at the floor underneath said "wide plank wood floors!!" and for about half an hour I was glowing with happiness. I ripped up more carpet--with gusto!

But, what the heck? These aren't planks. They're squares. And they aren't wood, they're... Particle board? Or something.

Time to call the expert.

And the expert said he didn't know of wooden tiles of that size ever being made. And he said that what we had under our carpet was something that used to be called (enter three letter abbreviation I don't remember) but now is referred to as letter-A-letter, which stands for (this is about the time my stomach was sinking, because I just knew what was coming) something-Asbestos-something. Greeeeeaat. I just uncovered a whole lot of toxic material in the room which is essentially my children's playroom.

Now, my dad ASSURES me that asbestos can't hurt you unless it gets in your lungs and that the tiles made containing asbestos keep them fully encased. And believe me, I trust the expert. The people I don't trust are the nitwits at NHS who did things such as painting over the cracks in the plastic shower walls instead of replacing them. The people who hung coat hooks on walls with double-sided sticky tape. Those are the people who would've sanded down half the floor (therefore releasing the fiber particles of death) before deciding it was easier to just put down (the cheapest) carpet (imaginable.)

It looks like we have a bigger project in front of us than we'd thought.

I asked Martin if we could sell the house for 20,000 and rent a nice apartment. And Anja, always looking on the bright side, said, "we can't move! You still have to finish the back room!"

And of course, we do. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop


Anne said...

Ugh. That sounds about right though. Seems like every time we'd get near to finishing our project we'd find something else that needed to be fixed as well!

Anonymous said...

Annie: look for a plastic shower liner for your shower. That is what we did with the nasty shower in the old bathroom at the cottage. It was not expensive and Daddy installed it himself. He could help Martin. It isn't as nice as tile, of course, but since tile is out of the question it is an inexpensive alternative and will be better that what you have now. You probably don't remember the original shower walls at the cottage, but they were pretty gross. I think you will be happy with the liner.
Love, Mama
PS In nearly 40 years of home ownership (all older homes) I can't tell you how many nasty surprises we encountered. The down side of owning a home.