Cleaning Therapy

I know that I am still traumatized by the events of last Tuesday because I am in Full-Blown Obsessive Cleaning Mode.

An intervention might soon be required.

When something really bad happens over there, I find that if I can make things better over here, like by, say, antiseptically cleaning my toilets bowls, I will feel better. I mean, who doesn’t feel better with a clean toilet bowl?



I posted this yesterday. I don’t think anybody would call this room a pigsty, but to my suddenly Full-Blown Obsessive Cleaning Mode, when I looked at this image I thought: EEK!!!!!!!! WHAT A MESS!!!!!!!! MUST MUST MUST CLEAN!!!!!!!! All I could think of last night, and about the first thing I thought about after waking this morning, was rushing to the Cross House and doing something about this room OVERWHELMED by mess. (Yes, the room is actually not overwhelmed by mess, but YOU try and convince my Full-Blown Obsessive Cleaning Mode otherwise.)


Today. Ahhhhhhhhhhh, all is better now.

Today. Ahhhhhhhhhhh, everything is better now. All the stuff leaning against the walls (oh, the horror! The horror!) is gone, and the 2400-square-foot floor vacuumed.



While things WERE better, this only briefly assuaged Full-Blown Obsessive Cleaning Mode. For, while vacuuming, Mode peeked into a crawl space under the roof eaves, adjacent to the south chimney. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!! DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!!!!!!!!



…and forty minutes later. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Beeeeeeetter! I did mange to restrain Mode from scrubbing the flooring. Although I am a bit concerned how Mode will now passively-aggressively punish me.



As I was getting ready to crawl out of the space, Mode clicked on the flashlight on the iPhone and pointed into the void behind the angled chimney breast to the bedroom below. We are looking down. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!



Ahhhhhhhh, better. Ahhhhhhhh. (Image not at same angle as previous image.)



I pulled this cup out from the chimney void. Cool. I am pretty sure it was left by the guys working on the house in 1894. Right? Right?



As I was again getting ready to crawl out of the space, Mode clicked on the flashlight and pointed it into the void above the huge curved cornice. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!! This mess was caused by a long leaking built-in gutter (now fixed), which just pulverized the wood support. The vacuum was rushed into service and this horror rectified. And not a moment too soon.


By the end of the day, I had also cleaned numerous basement windows, and all the first-floor front windows.

I also cleaned the recently varnished front threshold. It was dusty!

And vacuumed part of the basement.

And scraped the rest of the north porch ceiling.

And primed some more wood.

And stripped a window sash. And grinded smooth two sashes.

And I did all this while hobbling around due to an attack of gout to my left foot.

Geez. I hope there is never another election. I doubt I will survive.





  1. Cindi M on November 13, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    I doubt I would survive either. Just remembered some things I put off till the last minute while I curled up and hid. The last minute is now. Bye!

  2. Frank M on November 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Strange.I deal with drama/trauma the same way. Luckily I’m in Canada so I didn’t have an attack after last Tuesday 🙂

  3. Carole Sukosd on November 13, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Dear Frank, Rosetta Stone was running an election result sale on French lessons for any Americans who wanted to move to Canada if the turn out wasn’t to the likings of some. Seriously, very seriously ! How many rooms to rent do you have for Ross’s support system ?We can be our own support group with Ross teaching us even more about American restorations.And Ross No More Voting – not even for paint colors. I love the idea of blue on some and green on others. That decision is well worth discussion on the first Cross House House Warming Tour!

  4. audrey B on November 14, 2016 at 12:04 am

    Funny thing, I have removed quite a bit of clutter from my abode this past week. I too deal with stress by cleaning my nest.
    I want to thank you for giving us some bits of brightness. A little “Cross House Ross Therapy” does much to sooth my shaken soul. As you have told us many times, just righting small pieces of your beloved house brings one small piece of better in the universe. This week I have checked here several times for some assurance and something good. Thank you, know you are appreciated.

  5. Jakob on November 14, 2016 at 2:23 am

    All that flat ceiling…does your attic have an attic? Is it stand-up sized? I would love a Tour de Attic akin to your basement post.

    • Jakob on November 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      P.S. How did the Cross Family use their attic originally? I can’t fathom the square footage, it’s larger than my entire house!

  6. Cheryl Restoring home in Monson, Ma. on November 14, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Please have faith in your new President elect.

    • Ross on November 14, 2016 at 8:48 am

      Dear Cheryl,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I cherish my readers, and love love love their input and observations. This blog is better for your participation!

      I also know that both liberals and conservatives read this blog, and it has surprised me that, so far, no one has defended Trump. Until this week, I have never mentioned politics while writing about the Cross House. And my recent observations have been deliberately focused on my feelings rather than any of the candidates. I have also never voiced a criticism of Trump.

      To me, our country works because of both liberals and conservatives. Put simply, liberals like change and conservatives like to maintain the status quo. Or, as I see it, liberals are a car engine, while conservatives are the brakes. Would anybody buy a car with no engine? Or with no brakes? NO! Both are necessary!

      For our society to be healthy, change is necessary. But change too quick can destabilize society.

      In my life, I have voted both Democrat and Republican because I believe experience and ideas are more important than party affiliation. I also believe more in my country than party affiliation.

      In my life, “my” candidate has sometimes won. And sometimes lost. I understand this, and have never felt like I no longer recognized my country because “my” person lost.

      But not now. Not this election.

      You request that we have faith in Trump. To respond to this I must break my rule about not discussing the candidates, and beg your indulgence.

      Cheryl, I just don’t see how I could ever have faith in a man:
      1) Who is an admitted sexual predator. His disgusting “pussy-gate” tape is NOT just locker room talk. This is locker room talk: “Hey! Looks at the jugs on her!” This is sexual assault: “I grab women because I can’t control myself.”
      2) Who brags about repeatedly going bankrupt, and has advocated that the US just walk away from its debt. NO economist, conservative or liberal, thinks this is a good idea. This would be a disaster for our country. My country. Your country.
      3) Who has zero experience for the office. Would you allow a surgeon with no experience to operate on you? A mechanic with no experience to work on your car? A contractor with no experience to renovate your house? The answer is no no and no. So why is it OK for a man with no governing experience to assume THE hardest, most complicated job in our country?
      4) Who has repeatedly insulted Mexicans, African-Americans, women, Muslims, the handicapped, veterans, and others. This is appalling. Appalling. And such a person should never be president, a job which requires that ALL citizens be treated with grace and dignity.
      5) Who is clearly a full-blown narcissist. I used to work for Trump in the 1980s. And, I can assure you, he is a full-blown narcissist. All that matters to him is him. But a President needs to be concerned about OTHERS, not himself. Trump has shown zero ability to do this.
      6) Who cannot take advice, and reacts violently to criticism. God help us all with such a person in the oval office.
      7) Who has no concept of national/international finances. I am one of the few voters who bothered to research Trump’s economic/tax plans. I did this by going to conservative economic/tax websites. And they each concluded the same thing: Trump’s plans will be a disaster, and bankrupt the country. Massive tax cuts for the very wealthy have NEVER proved a good idea, and such cuts are responsible for the 2008 economic disaster and the creation of the largest deficit in our history (which Obama has significantly reduced).
      8) Who hired a racist, misogynist, and anti-semite to run his campaign, and who now will, it seems, be advising the President-elect.
      9) Who lies most of the time. This is not just my opinion, but a proved fact. By way of contrast, Hillary tells the truth 75% of the time.

      Well, I can go on but the point is clear. I see nothing at all about Trump which could give me faith. I have never before felt this about a winning candidate. I feel sick about our future.

      Cheryl, would you agree that respect is earned rather than given?

      If so, isn’t faith earned rather than given?

      And while we disagree on this issue, I embrace you and hope you will continue enjoying the restoration of the Cross House!

      • Californianinkansas on November 14, 2016 at 10:55 am

        I am a second-generation Mexican-American woman Army veteran who is also progressive Muslim. I fully agree with everything you wrote. I got your back.

      • Miriam Righter on March 10, 2017 at 10:13 pm

        Totally and completely agree with everything you said. Totally have your back too.

  7. Carole Sukosd on November 14, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Amen !

  8. Cheryl Restoring home in Monson, Ma. on November 14, 2016 at 9:47 am

    I have to disagree, conservative people want a change.

    • Ross on November 14, 2016 at 10:04 am

      I stand by what I wrote above. Conservatives, in general, want to maintain the status quo.

      And, yes, I agree with you that conservatives are eager for change.

      I know these two statements seem an oxymoron!

      Conservatives have an incredibly low opinion of Congress, and they want change. I concur with both these thoughts! But Congress is controlled by conservatives!

      Conservatives, in general, also want change in getting rid of marriage equality, abortion, ObamaCare, and a host of other liberal policies enacted doing the last half century. And this is what I mean by stating that conservatives, in general, don’t like change. And when they do advocate for change, it is to erase changes which they don’t approve of.

      One of the appeals to conservatives about Trump is that he is different. With this, I agree. And I even appreciate this. But, and this is vital, Trump’s extraordinary negatives vastly outweigh any quality he has by being a different kind of candidate.

      • Travis on November 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm


        This is your blog and you may say whatever you wish. I will not defend many of the things that Trump has said. I will point out again that the DNC was working with Hillary against Bernie. I would have supported Hillary in 2008, but she damaged herself as a candidate by 2016. I do believe that Trump will help move the Republican party toward the center. I would consider this a good thing and long over due. That’s all I am going to say. Your blog is about your beautiful house and doesn’t need to be tainted by the sharp division of the real world.

      • Miriam Righter on March 10, 2017 at 10:17 pm

        Totally agree with you. And totally felt the same way that you did, except it took me two months to come out of the fetal position and start to move on.

  9. Chad on November 14, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Those holes look like major sources of drafts. Will you be able to get all around the cornice line with spray foam from the inside?

    • Ross on November 14, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Yes, the big curved cornice is a major MAJOR headache in terms of getting the house tight. I can access some of it from inside, but not all of it. I ponder this issue often.

      • Chad on November 14, 2016 at 6:55 pm

        How bad is it to bore and subsequently plug holes?

        • Ross on November 14, 2016 at 7:04 pm

          Bore holes in my beautiful curved cornice???????????????

          Chad, I am going to have to spank you!

          • Chad on November 14, 2016 at 7:31 pm

            Well I was thinking the siding right below it… you’ve filled all kinds of damage already.

            [From Ross: I was teasing you! I kinda thought you meant the siding. It is not easy to explain, but if you come for a visit, I could show you my plan to deal with insulating the area behind the cornice.]

  10. Cheryl Restoring home in Monson, Ma. on November 14, 2016 at 11:57 am

    I said conservative people, not conservatives. Stop worrying, Congress is not getting rid of marriage equality, do not worry about that, it will never happen. Abortions maybe left to the states to decide. Obamacare will be cleaned up and made affordable.

    Our President elect will do whats best for all our American citizens, and it’s about time. Remember your blog. Is about restoring a 1894 house not tearing it down and putting up a new apartment building. I think that explains my point. Can we now get back to restoring our historic homes?

  11. Elin Noller on November 14, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    I’m with you on this Ross. Every single point. And could add a few of my own.

    10. America is not a small country, what happens there will affect the world bigtime. Like climate change, or denying it. It is well known that Americans consume far more natural resources and live much less sustainably than people from any other large country of the world. If America does not pull its weight in trying to save the world, we are all fucked.

    11. Trump has no clue what diplomacy is. His narcissistic ego prevents that. Diplomatic relations will suffer.

    12. He is willing to use nuclear power. NOT as a deterant to keep other countries in check, but to strike first. Americas role as a power balance to keep less stable countries and leaders like Russia/Putin, North Korea/Kim etc, in check, will be over. Cause now Americas president will be one of them, one that needs to be kept in check.

    • Miriam Righter on March 10, 2017 at 10:19 pm

      Yep, these points too.

    • Ann on December 11, 2017 at 10:25 am

      I have recently discovered this blog, and have been frantically catching up. So I know I am a year late in responding to this comment.

      However, I just wanted to point out how none of us who railed against Trump were wrong. And the 12 points that were made in these comments about the disgrace that is Trump not only hold true, but seem almost prophetic. And we’re not even a year in to his presidency.

      • Ross on December 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm

        Thank you, Ann.

        And nice to meet you!

        I also concur with your observation.

        NOTE: In less than a year, the Trump Administration has more indictments than another other first-year administration in history.

        NOTE: The number of indictments during the 8-year Obama administration? 0.

        NOTE: Job growth has gone DOWN in 2017, not UP. Trump will have to add 400,000 jobs during the next two weeks to stay even with the 2016 numbers.

  12. Doug Walker on November 14, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Ross we can help. When your obsessive cleaning mode flares up again, just call. My wife is a 31 year nurse at the State Hospital and we have a house for you to work out your frustrations. A therapist and therapy in a setting similar to yours. If you do a good job of cleaning, we will give you a discount on the cost of your therapy (which is probably not covered by your insurance).

    • Ross on November 14, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      Can I bring my cats?

  13. Mike on November 14, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    For me, living in an old house is a needed reminder that time marches on, through good times and bad. Our houses have been through the Spanish-American War, WW1, the lawless roaring 20s, the Great Depression, WW2, Korea, Viet Nam, 9-11, plus all of the local events that might have brought about their end; they are still standing proud, they still reward our efforts by revealing forgotten beauty, and they still provide us with a place to call home in this crazy world. This Christmas, Lord willing, my old house will be full with 4 generations ranging from 2 to 92 years old, full of laughter and love. I have a granddaughter who has already said that she wants to live in our house “some day”, so hopefully my old house will be home to my descendants when Trump, Hillary, and I are only memories…

    • Beverley on November 14, 2016 at 5:53 pm

      Well said, Mike.

  14. Linda on November 14, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    Ross, thank you enjoyed your updates. All I can say is thank goodness I am in Australia.

    • Ross on November 15, 2016 at 8:14 am

      Do you have a guest bedroom?????????

  15. Sue C. on November 15, 2016 at 12:31 am

    Ross and Elin Noller, I agree with everything you said. Never have I been so frightened and horrified. I am sick to my stomach.

    P.S. To those who say Ross should only post about his house: This is Ross’ blog, and he can talk about whatever he wants on it.

  16. Californianinkansas on November 15, 2016 at 8:11 am

    This is Ross’ blog. It’s his world. He can write whatever he wants on his own blog.

  17. Cheryl Restoring home in Monson, Ma. on November 15, 2016 at 9:14 am

    My remember your blog. Statement was a metaphor, nothing else.

  18. Marjorie on November 15, 2016 at 10:33 am

    My husband and I keep saying WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE that voted for Trump.
    Now we know.
    Love your house and posts. I vote for blue ceilings on the porch.

  19. Farlena on November 15, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Thank you Ross for an awesome post!

    As for the rest, I believe in doing your best on a daily basis..
    men propose, God disposes

  20. Pat on November 16, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I think people were more upset with Clinton’s actual actions than with what Trump said. His first few hires seem to fly in the face of the whole racist, sexist, homophobic thing, so I guess we’ll see what else happens. No matter the office holder, Americans need to hold them accountable.

    As for Obamacare, that can’t go away fast enough. Ironic that it was supposed to make healthcare more affordable and inclusive. It has just priced me out of the market. 2017 prices are 25-33% of my gross income. And have none of my doctors. & they can’t fine me because I’m unable to find affordable healthcare (less than 8.13% of gross income), so I guess there’s a silver lining in that. I have put my future healthcare in God’s hands.

    • Miriam Righter on March 10, 2017 at 10:23 pm

      The ACA did not price you out of the market. Greedy insurance companies that want to make it go away did. They have to protect their monstrous salaries and their billionaire stockholders, don’t they? The insurance companies were fighting the ACA from the get-go, preventing all sorts of things that would have made it better for everyone but their bottom line.

  21. ArtistSusan on January 1, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Awww Ross… I felt the same way. You did something productive with your emotions. I vote blue porch ceiling, but I will keep reading to see what you decided.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will NEVER be made public or shared, and you may use a screen name if you wish.