When we bought the farm seven years ago, we knew we were in for a long slog of construction. The farmhouse was in poor shape inside and out, but we weren’t in any rush to begin work – it was going to be a summer place for the most part anyway. The one thing that could not wait was painting the exterior, since the clapboard and wood trim were in especially bad shape, and we worried that another harsh upstate New York winter would only cause further damage. So, the house was painted.
The first summer here, in between prep for the next school year ahead, I cleaned every inch of the house and painted every room. Then, that was that. Construction season here begins in late April (when all the snow has melted and the driveways can be reliably accessed) and ends in early November (when hunting season begins and all the folks one needs are off in the woods day and night), and we’d be too far away in New Jersey to manage any work begun in any case.
Once I retired from teaching and moved to the farm full time, we could finally turn to begin the work we had been avoiding. Besides, we could no longer avoid the fact that certain important things (the oven, dishwasher, furnace, to name just a few) had stopped working entirely. And so began what is now our fourth year of construction.
Bit by bit that very long list of projects has been ticked off, and now we are left with just the last one: combining a small bedroom on the main floor with a small office to give us a bedroom we can use when the days of climbing the stairs to our current room finally arrives, as it surely will.
Friends and family assure us that one is never really done with home improvements, and some other project will surely come to mind and need to be worked on, even though we think we’re done. But, remembering the three weeks in which I lived in the house with the kitchen floor entirely removed leaving a gaping hole into the basement, I beg to disagree. We are done!
Last week, however, when one of our trusted handymen was finished making a small repair to one of our living room storm windows, he informed me of something that was already beginning to dawn on me: the house needs a new coat of paint.