It's the Little Things

Well. Today, very little happened, but quite a few things happened. The biggest progress move is - Andrew's switchplates arrived! He'll be busy for awhile replacing every ugly plastered switchplate in the house with the new brass covers. The biggest personal move is: we finally have internet. AT&T just had issues with the house being so old, and having not been occupied for so long. Andrew had a choice of putting DSL through the Library (current boys' bedroom) or the room directly above - his room. He made the best long-term move and put it upstairs. Of course, this means that until he can make the wireless router downstairs connect, there is no direct internet for the PCs on the first floor. Also of course, in the long-term, this won't be an issue as he will feed the network cable down from his room through the alcove into the downstairs. Networking IS a priority to make this place 21st century.

Then, Andrew received a statement from our homeowner's insurance. Apparently, three things need to happen to ensure we maintain coverage after June: 1) we need to fix the loose shingles on the roof, 2) we need to paint the house and 3) trim back some branchs. This rather changes our priorities. We were planning on painting in the fall, with more of an emphasis at present on renovating the upstairs. This means that, while we may still be able to renovate this summer, first things first - PAINT! So, I'll be running to the library and looking for any books they have on Queen Anne homes and paint.

Also, on the topic of the library - I spoke to a few people today. Well, I called a few people today. I only actually spoke to one human being. I spoke to a lady named Ellen at the Preservation Longview group. I thought they were some sort of group that helped with the oversight of restorations. Nope. As it turns out, they are just a group of folks who believe in reclaiming historic homes and restoring them. They do this by obtaining grant monies and contracting out the work. So, she couldn't tell me much information herself - but she was still most helpful. She gave me a name: Lynn (Bivins) Simpson, whose grandmother was the Mrs. Bivins our home was named for. Ellen apparently went to school with Lynn. The Lewis-Bivins house holds a special place in Ellen's heart, as her grandparents were married there by a Justice of the Peace! This was somewhere during the depression, as Ellen and Lynn are now in their early 60s. She sent me looking at the Gregg County Historical Museum, as she believes they have a book published with photos of the house. She also suggested looking under Bivins in the resource area at the library where they keep all the newspaper clippings on file. Hopefully, we can find some photos there - perhaps of the interior, though that may be too much to wish for.

Ellen gave me the name and number of the Longview city planner, mentioning that the house is state recognized landmark, but not yet a local landmark. With the city planner's aid, and our attempts to restore it made known, we may be able to get it recognized as a local landmark, which may carry with it some tax benefits - Yay! Finally, she told me to get in touch with the Texas Historical Commission. Our house is number 11678 on the State Atlas. The historical commission should be able to give us any and all specifics as to what we may or may not do toward altering the house. Those two offices were unavailable, but I hope to hear back soon.

Meanwhile, back in reality-ville, even though the dishwasher doesn't fit, and we'd have to build a special jutting out bit from the counter until we renovate the kitchen - it isn't even worth doing until we figure out what's got the sink backed up. I already did this dishwasher spilling over onto the floor because of a backed up sink business in Laura Ln and if I despised it in a slab foundation house that wasn't even my own, doing that kind of damage to MY historic peer and beam house is unconscionable. So, that's on hold until Andrew can have a look at the plumbing -which he thinks is a mess. A short-term project I'd appreciate having done would be popping the slipped ice maker line up from the crawl space into the freezer. But, as I don't want to crawl down there - I'll be patient for the man who is going to do it.

Yesterday, Andrew, Mr. A and Jman went at the huge runoff block the neighbors placed on the edge of Bivins Ct. to keep the rain from drenching the backyard. Lovely idea - and while it is fine for high riding pickups - Andrew couldn't park his own car in the backyard without bottoming out. So, the guys lowered it with pickaxes and sledgehammers, and augmented the yard side with a brick slope. It was a lot of work for a temporary fix, let me tell you. Meanwhile - I took out some attitude on a few Crepe Myrtles - uprooting the stinkers.

Saturday, we used our new electric hedge trimmers. Andrew says they are wonderful! I picked all the really nasty weeds that were ruining the look of the front yard. So, our house, with all it's beautiful roses, is presentable for the moment. Andrew spray-painted X's on some sidewalk slabs in the front yard for removal, I swept the porches (for a huge improvement in curb appeal), and we moved almost everything left downstairs up to Andrew's room. I also moved things out of the upstairs entry and into the future boys' room. Andrew is fairly sore from all the pickaxing. He says he remembers hacking at asphalt with a sledgehammer as way less painful when he was 13.

Final note of the day: we need to get some fairly comprehensive photos of the outside as thorough as we did of the inside - for 2 reasons: 1) we need to be able to prove our before/after and 2) we need photos so we can preview our color choices before we actually paint. I'll tell you this - the house will no longer be white and it will involve at LEAST 4 colors!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.