Monday, January 23, 2012

A Trashy Post, with Treasure Too

The wasp nest is a nice touch, don't you think?

While paint is drying and blinds are being hung in January 2012, lets move backwards in time to September 2011, and remember what was going on as summer was saying goodbye.

By Labor Day, we'd created a refuse pile: carpet, carpet pad, tack strip, carpet tiles, ceramic tile, a couple of weirdly yellow vinyl accordion doors, all the ooky and odd looking pinkish plywood paneling, broken roller blinds, plastic curtains (the less said about these the better), busted up packing boxes, and assorted demolition lumber. Possibly the remains of our sanity.

It was all stuffed in the garage to prevent it getting rained on (and thus becoming a festering refuse pile), and to camouflage it from the neighbors (and potentially becoming a citation of city code refuse pile). But after a few months, I was beginning to have nightmarish dreams about the slithering mass, and really, in the Midwest one tends to want one's garage for the actual storage of automobiles by the time snow flies.

I hiked up my demolition pants (really, I don't know what those would be. But it sounds very Tank Girl, doesn't it?) and ordered a dumpster. We Labored on Labor Day.

Goodbye never felt so good.
While we were cleaning out the garage, we discovered that it had an attic. Worlds to discover! We're sick of this garbage! Grant took a flashlight and started up.

What we discovered was a whole entire additional dumpster load of building materials. What's salvageable, we have yet to sort out. But in the entire existence of this house, every time some one got done fencing a chicken, staking a tomato, patching a window screen, shingling a roof or paneling a room (more, we've found, is the pity), they stuck the remainder up in the garage attic. I roughly compute that if my garage caught fire, there is enough material in the attic to burn entire city blocks in a blaze detectable from outer space. Fabulous. I bought a hoard, and didn't even know it.

It was not without it's worthwhile discoveries. Mixed in with rolled up tar paper, mice, bat, and owl poop, were the missing shutters to the house:

Picture these babies....
On the front of this naked shack....

They were covered in dust and wasp nests and bird poop, but really heavy, well made, and I could tell they fit the windows in the front facade of the house. Score! Original, better than new fakey looking vinyl shutters, and money saved. 

We also found the coolest wood water skis:
And a map of Chippewa National Forest, some old badminton rackets, and a pellet gun. 

We found parts (alas, only parts) of an old treadle sewing machine, a DIY-built stereo speaker, some silk screening supplies, and lots and lots more mouse poop (this post has now mention poop three times. That's all about accuracy). It's all up above our heads, waiting for us one fine spring day in the months to come. The water skis, and badminton racquets and the map are going to become decorative elements in the boys' basement hideaway, a future project. The building materials we'll try to see if they are useable, and will go to our nearby Habitat ReStore.

Stay tuned for (finally, it's about ****ed time) some bedroom renovation shots in the upcoming weeks!


  1. How awesome that you found the shutters! (All the poop is less awesome....)

    1. Yes, I think there will be some poop, paint, and wasp nest scraping in my future. It looks like the shutters were once pear green, dark grey, and brown at one time or another. I love house "archaeology!"

    2. Wow, that's crazy! Did the home inspector not even notice that attic? You got some good stuff though - well.. in amongst the rat poop and extra work!

    3. The home inspector did not notice the garage attic! Can you believe it? Well, I can, sort of. We didn't notice it either. There's not even a hint, like ventilation ducting on the gable ends, that's there's space up there. And when the garage door is open, the trap door to the attic is hidden. So much of owning an older home seems to be a sort of crazy-ish mixed blessing. Funky discoveries, often followed by (more) work. Still, I love the trip!