Tuesday, April 7, 2015

through the attic window

The attic project continues here.  The space now emptied and prepped, it was time to try to make it a bit more hospitable for hanging out in.  After a good deal of head scratching and considering, something we have strong skills in, it was time to begin to get some things done, something we are not necessarily very good at.  

First up, putting some cushy padding and soft carpeting on the floors to cover the tippy uneven splintery slopey wide planks that were there already.   These planks are lovely and old and fabulous, but not so fun to walk across, or roll on, or jump on, and whatever other nonsense and hootenanny we hope will happen up there.  The beams are still there, just covered and protected.

And so, carpeting was researched, bargains were found, measurements were made, and three extremely large rolls were purchased.  

And in the driveway it sat for a few days, while we figured out how to get three 18 foot long rolls of very heavy and very stiff carpeting up to the third floor of our very old house. With sharp turns and undersized doors and twists and steep attic stairs and sloping roof lines all along the projected path indoors.

Attempts were made.  Things were said.  Suffice it to say, the camera was not available for these attempts.

We decided that going in through the attic window was our only chance.

Jonathan busied himself with sending large loose beams down the ladder, beams that we had not been able to get out the sharp turns inside the house.  

The kids busied themselves with last minute floor repairs.

And I busied myself with installing the foam padding to go beneath the carpet.

I had an Owen Meany moment when I realized all the wall papering I have done in my life, with my mother and then in each of our homes before this one, had prepared me for this moment in the attic, trying to fit square edges around chimneys and decidedly very unsquare edges.

And also?  My head is a very helpful holder.  Please note, someone took a picture of me doing this, rather than helping me hold up the foam.

Apparently we are making a padded room for ourselves.  Interesting.  Yes, we have made all the jokes during this process related to Jane Eyre, Romeo and Juliet, and Rapunzel, and even Flowers in the Attic.  We are very literary.  Other things have been said as well.  Which shall not be repeated.

After Jonathan and I got it all set up, with a ladder not quite tall enough and some ropes to hopefully make it all a bit safer, and after I tried to lift said 18 foot long roll of carpet myself, we decided we needed help.  And got the children, who were swirling about us, not really understanding why a home improvement project was taking so long.   Nicholas helped me lift, and Julia and Elliott held the rope snug to keep it from snagging on things, and Jonathan ran up and down the stairs for a while.

I also handed Julia the camera and told her to snap way.  She took some interesting shots.

I can't tell you how many times each of us ran up and down the stairwells of our house, one of us up top, one of us down below.  Heaving and pulling and grunting and gasping for air.  Telling one of us to hold the roll in some extremely precarious position with one foot on the ladder while the other one ran as fast as we could up or down the stairs inside to try to push or pull from another location.

But at some point, during all the noise and screeches and yelling of instructions through that attic window, Julia noticed, and snapped a shot of, the buds emerging on our very very old tree, Sylvia.  And looking at this picture, I am reminded of the new view out this newly accessible window and space that we are making for ourselves.  Another way to know this home and its property, a new place from which to look at and admire Sylvia.

Looking at her pictures, it is clear Julia was very taken with the view and the light from this window.

It was, indeed, all very exhausting.

But we all got to work with those three rolls, now in the attic.

It's home improvement, do it yourself style, with children.  It's slow.  It's sometimes a bit dangerous.  It's definitely imperfect.  But it's going to be something we all did together.  And an experience that had us all in hysterics at several points.  And something that will definitely make a good short story, a small part of, a moment in the lifetime of this old house.

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