All long-term restoration projects involve…creeping funk.
This is when somehow, when you are not looking, every room gets filled with clutter. In one room miscellaneous trim fills a corner, a stack of wood shingles sits in front of the mantel, small boxes rest adjacent, several doors (from where?) rest against another wall.
And so on.
You do not even recall how these various bits of flotsam ended up in the room. But, there it be.
And almost every room in the Cross House now suffers from this creeping funk.
Oh, the horror.
Today, I began the process of de-funking the house. Young Brock (who works with Justin and Scott) and I started in the Round Bedroom. A while back, while trying to ascertain the damage to the mortar holding the vivid blue tiles surrounding the fireplace opening, I first removed the oak mantle, and began poking at the mortar. Suddenly, most of the tiles (and brick backing) collapsed. I threw my body against this avalanche and managed to stop the irreplaceable tiles from smashing to the floor. The bruising I suffered was well earned.
With the mantel to one side, and blue tiles, bricks, and chunks of mortar on the hearth, I stepped out of the room vowing never to return. And this is how things have been ever since.
Today though, Brock and I reinstalled the mantel, the fallen tiles were placed neatly on the hearth, the old collapsed mortar was discarded, and the area vacuumed.
Oh. MUCH better.
Along the south wall was bits of the main stair. This was all taken down to the basement. Adjacent, were small bits of fiberglass insulation. This was discarded. There were tools laid down years ago (and often searched for). These were collected and taken down to the basement workroom. Tears filled my eyes witnessing the joyous reunion between the long-lost tools and tools properly stored.
And so on.
It took but a half-hour but the room was emptied of everything and the floor vacuumed. The difference was astonishing.
The Sewing Room, too, was de-funked and the adjacent sleeping porch was subtly modified to be hostile to pigeons. For several years the birds…for reasons which escape me…decided to roost on the bathroom window cornice and then shit shit shit on the porch floor. So, Brock made the top of the cornice unsittable via a 1×12 board screwed to the wall at a sharp angle. The porch was then de-shitted. Ahh, civilly returned. And one would naturally now be thinking: Ross allowed this to happen?
In the Long Bedroom were parts of scaffolding. Why was this still in the room? There were many many many bits of electrical parts, the result of when the room was rewired…a friggin’ year ago.
Covering the hearth was a large pile of lath. Where did this come from?
A Hefty garbage bag revealed curtains. I put these inside the 1950s Hollywood-Regency dresser.
And so on.
Then the now empty room was vacuumed.
In the rear hall is now a lot of…stuff. I asked Brock and Justin and Scott to grab some of this stuff every time they descend the servant’s stair and, thus, with no extra effort, in a week or so all the stuff will migrate to the basement so it can be properly stored.
The third floor is not toooooooo bad, having been cleared a year ago but it requires a vacuum, STAT. The first floor is pretty OK as I have been able to forestall creeping funk. The basement is immaculate after a huge amount of work this year. And the carriage house…praise the Lord…is more immaculate than it has been since I purchased it.
An issue, a huge issue, is that the blood clot I developed in 2020 really assaulted my energy (the clot, eventually, dissolved. Or so the doctors think). I feel like I have half my pre-clot energy and even before the clot I experienced annual reductions in energy levels from when I purchased the Cross House in 2014. Of course, this is normal as one ages. When I was 40 I was a whirling dervish. I am 65 now. Golly, what will 70 be like? The question scares me.
To compensate, I increasingly rely on Justin Scott Brock. If they are working on the house this somehow charges my batteries and I get way more done. They returned today after a week and a half off and during their absence I accomplished almost nothing on the house.
This compensating factor is, obviously, $$$$ but it is unthinkable to just stop working on the house.
Hiring Cody was another compensating solution, and to help with the business. His departure in March punched a huge hole in Getting Things Done. With his help I was able to get 30 lights listed for sale monthly but this dropped to to 6 in April (EEK!!!!!!!!), 8 in May (EEK!!!!!!!!), 10 in June ((EEK!!!!!!!!), and 15 in July (EEK!!!!!!!!). This is bad and will, no doubt, depress my numbers for a long while.
In short, I have to daily ration out my energy and the business is awarded about 80%.
And this is why pigeon shit piled up on the sun porch.
And this is why there have been vastly fewer blogs posts this past year.
I have friends who, due to health issues or depression, exalt if they manage a daily shower and cleaning the litter box. They marvel at my current energy. “I would kill for even half your current energy!”
This, thus, informs my response to a precipitous energy decline: I am both alarmed at the decline and grateful for the energy I still have.
Fear and gratitude, sharing space.
Life is weird.
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