Saturday, June 14, 2008

You Know You’ve Been Restoring Too Long When…

You know when you’ve been restoring your house too long when you open up a wall thinking that you’ve found new treasure, only to discover that it is something you put in the walls yourself for future generations to find.

That is exactly what happened to me. I’m always slipping little things in to the walls. Receipts and invoices are good. I won’t put a receipt for a tube of caulk from Ace Hardware in a wall, but maybe a receipt for some millwork I had made or some antique light fixture I scored. Old porn is also good.



You can see that one, lone green board next to the door in the picture above. There was a light switch installed there at some point, but I moved it to the other side of the room so it would be next to the door to the side yard. This was done about 4 years ago when I did a whole-house re-wire. At the time, I put a copy of an 1898 advertisement for Thomas Petch’s electric light shop that was located on F Street here in Eureka. I must have been doing a lot of research at time. Anyway, as you can imagine, I had long since forgotten that I put it in there.

Well, this week I wanted to replace that board so I could get rid of the hole cut for the light switch. This is 1X6, double-bead, tongue & groove beadboard. I got out the sawsall and cut down the middle of the board and then removed the too halves. You can imagine how excited I was when I pulled out the first half and saw a piece of paper behind the board.

Quickly and gingerly I removed the other half of the board so I could extract my newly found treasure. Oh, what could it be! Maybe it was a turn-of-the-century, tear stained letter filled with all of the juicy details of Mr. & Mrs. Petch’s divorce. Maybe it was an envelope filled with money that Mrs. Petch was trying to hide from her husband. Even though this is the butler’s pantry, this was were Mrs. Petch lived after the divorce when she opened up the house to boarders.

It could have been just about anything, but all it was was a Xeroxed copy of an ad I made and shoved in the wall 4 years ago. It was not only disappointing that it wasn’t something old and really neat, but the realization that I’m to the point finding the things that I put in the walls was a bit much at the time. I stopped working, poured myself a glass of wine, and collapsed on the couch thinking to myself, “Holy crap! I’ve been doing this a long time”.


PS: I shoved the ad back in the wall before I put the new board on. If I ever find it again, I'm walking away from the house and never looking back.

5 comments:

StuccoHouse said...

Funny. Lately I have been buying supplies only to find that I already bought them and stored them in the basement a couple of years ago in anticipation of the project.

G said...

I believe I may have snorted limoncello and tonic all over my keyboard, and I blame YOU, Greg!

Green Fairy said...

Oh my God, that made me laugh. I'm always tucking things into nooks and crannies, too. When we were getting my mom's house ready to sell, I found where my mom, dad, and I had signed a bathroom vanity with the date of the bathroom upgrade. I had forgotten all about it.

STAG said...

I write love notes to my wife in pencil under the wallpaper.

I got the idea from my friend in Ottawa, but it backfired when his current wife re-papered the kitchen and found a big penciled heart containing his name and the name of his ex wife.

These little notes seem to help with the renovations.

C&C said...

Oh no, that is too funny! It's worth it though, right? That's what we keep brainwashing ourselves to think...