Ranch Redux: A Ranch Done Wright

Year of the Dragon | February 13, 2012

Normally when the New Year comes around I feel nostalgic and a little sad to see the previous year end.  Not this year.  That White Metal Rabbit year was a real tough one.  I remember so clearly Christmas 2010, siting at the kitchen table doggedly writing our Christmas cards.  We had no walls, no heat, and trenches that filled with water running through our house, but I was determined to have a great Christmas in spite of it all.  And we did, largely due to Tim and the kids going along with my fantasy, and our dear friends who gave us the refuge of their home while they were visiting their family back East.  So when the Year of the White Metal Rabbit began, I had high hopes. Years of the Rabbit are usually pretty awesome; Joey was born in the last one.

Year of the Rabbit started with the theft of our car.  We got it back, pretty much unscathed a couple of months later, but this should have been a warning sign of the trials we were to encounter.  Last winter was the rainiest in recent memory, and the rain seeped in to the trenches leaving the house damp, dank, and cold.  The foundation pour had to be postponed again and again.  Later in the year, we found out about having to rebuild the back room from the foundation up.  As we got further into the remodel, we knew that we really were beyond our ken. Framing took twice as long as we expected, we had several problems with our windows and skylights, and the summer slipped by.  Then Joey broke his knee.  I was pretty much at my wits end, but I knew we had no choice but to go forward.

Toward the end of the year things started to look up.  The framing was finished, the roof was completed, and we no longer had to worry about rain streaming into the house.  Moreover, and more importantly, Joey healed well and fast, so he didn’t need knee surgery.  What a relief.  Corrina and Sam were coming home for Christmas and we had some amazingly low tides!

Right before Christmas, Tim and I moved upstairs.  It isn’t completed and we only have a bed and night stand, but moving upstairs made all the difference in my attitude.  It is like living in a tree house.

Often I stare out the picture window and wonder how Tim and I ever managed this project.  With a shoestring budget and no real understanding of construction it feels as if we pulled off a casino heist à la “Oceans Eleven” or something.  Tim and I underestimated everything: the cost of construction, the time it would take, the disruption that the construction would cause.  The only thing we overestimated was our capacity to live in chaos.

Nevertheless, this time I didn’t have to pretend all was well at Christmas, it really was.  We set up our dining table, got a beautiful Christmas tree, and reveled in friends and family.

Corrina and Sam came home to a livable space, not finished, but livable.  We now are water tight with paper and lathe. Tim is working on the electrical system.  We will begin the plastering process in a week or two. Living here is hardly a challenge anymore!

As bad as it was, I did learn some things in the Year of the Rabbit however.  I learned that I have a very resourceful husband who would be great to have around in a post-apocalyptic world.  Tim managed to keep us safe and relatively happy during some of the most difficult times.  Like when someone drilled into the water pipe and we had no water inside for a few days, Tim fashioned, Rube Goldberg style, water from the hose outside to cook, clean, and bathe.  I also found out that if you are without a toilet for any length of time, it is better to use the grocery store’s bathroom, which is clean and well stocked, than the gas station’s bathroom.   I learned that I am very lucky to have friends who will drop what they are doing when I call, to help us battle the rain. Without them we would have lost hope and abandoned ship. And, I know that I am tough, but not as tough as I thought.  Tim would always say it was like we were living in the pioneer days.  I cannot emphasize enough how glad I am that I did not come of age during the pioneer days.

Yes I am happy to see that mean old Rabbit in my rear view mirror.  I have high hopes that the Year of the Black Water Dragon will be auspicious for us all.

Happy New Year!




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We are embarking on an adventure turning a boring little ranch house into a modern style remodel.







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