Good morning(or at least I think it’s morning—now ask me the day of the week and I have no clue), HOTTies!
Just checking in to say hi, wish you all health and share this find I (literally) recently unearthed.
As some of you know, last year, I decided to start renting out Cranstoun Manor Cottage, the home that Jamey, Caeley and I had begun lovingly rehabilitating(then loathsomely resenting) after living there for 15 years.
It was not an easy decision; no difficult, emotion-dense decision is.
But it was the right one.
The new tenants were eager to move in and(supposedly) didn’t mind the fact that I hadn’t gotten around to fully clearing it out.
I’d left about 6 or 7 boxes in the basement and a large, old piano my neighbors Kelly and Steve had passed on to us when they were getting rid of it.
This was our infamous $250 “free piano” that Jamey had to have.
He jumped at the chance at rescuing this beautiful looking and beautiful sounding musical instrument for free, so he decided we’d happily become its new home.
Unfortunately, the logistics of moving a lunky, 100+ year-old solid wooden piano were a tad too challenging for four normal adults to handle, so we had to hire piano movers.
They shuffled the piano out Steve and Kelly’s front door and into ours(all the while dodging traffic speeding down the highway outside our houses).
The movers moved it maybe a total of 1000ft.
And charged us $250 for their trouble.
So I was initially relieved when the previous tenants were fine with me leaving the piano behind.
We didn’t have to face the idea of parting with at least another $250(or, with inflation, likely more) for our free piano.
The previous tenants, however, have since bought a home of their own and moved on.
The incoming tenants asked that we move the piano. It definitely needed to go. But how? And how much more will I have to pay for my free piano?
I’d already shelled out $250 for a free piano. I’d be damned if I was paying anymore.
So Robbie and I googled “disassembling a piano” and set to the painstakingly slow and painstakingly painful(blisters as proof, upon request) process of taking a piano apart by hand.
It took us a bit and we had some glitches(not having the right fitments on power tools so having to do the majority of the labor-intensive part literally by hand).
But we got it done and out of the house.
But our troubles and struggles with getting this house ready for new caretakers were not over.
The amount of things that have gone wrong with this house these last few weeks is, in hindsight, comical.
The previous tenants moved out early and neglected to tell me they’d shut off the electricity(which obviously controls our sump
pump). And the house sat, sump pump dead, through 3 days of pouring rain.
I didn’t notice the flooded basement until a Friday at 4 pm. Panicked, I called the electric company who assured me they’d send someone out—Tuesday the earliest. And, of course, we were set to get more rain that weekend.
[Although yes, I understand that—given the state of this world, my concerns pale in comparison to thousands upon thousands of people dealing with life and death issues. Of that I am fully aware]
A wet basement, no electricity for 4 days and battery-powered generators to keep sump pumps running and scooting back and forth from the old to the new house(thankfully only 1/4 mile away) to charge the batteries in the battery-powers generator then a leaking pipe.
And that’s where our love-stump pic comes in.
I took advantage of the quarantine to spend some time doing something that I truly love to do—digging in the dirt.
(Cue Peter Gabriel).
I find it calming and satisfying—I mean, just watch—
The rains finally stopped, the electricity turned back on, and after replacing nearly all the pipes in the basement and putting in a completely new sump pump system, we set out to clean the overflow asu
How rewarding is that? The earth birthed a rock for me to repurpose. Love it.
So back to where we started. This love-stump.
In the Spring of last year, the previous tenants called me up—panicking—saying that they were cutting down the trees in the front of the house.
And these trees are hale, hearty and large—and likely very old.
As I mentioned in our piano-moving capers, we live(d) on a highway. As such, the State maintains the trees on the road and sends out crews every few years or so for maintenance.
They also “kindly” leave us with all the refuse.
So the previous tenants had dragged back all of these logs and branches and stumps(some quite large and heavy) and threw them about in the backyard.
I decided to clear them up a bit and maybe try to do something decorative with the stumps….maybe use them in some of the garden beds.
I initially tried moving the stump in above-pic, but it was pretty heavy and I could barely get it free from the pile of large, thick branches it was under.
It looked like it would make an interesting piece, however, so I preserved and rolled it on its side.
And I’m glad I did.
I turned it over and saw what I thought to be almost a perfect heart shape.
And…..(not at all someone who buys into the “everything happens for a reason” and “it’s a sign” mindset), I looked at that heart and immediately thought of Jamey.
I(likely dehydrated and suffering from exhaustion) chose to believe that there was a reason I persevered on that log—that Jamey had been willing me to do it.
I saw it as a sign from him(did I mention the dehydration?)
I chose to believe that he was trying to tell me he was ok with what I was doing.
And he was pleased to see that I was still driven to keep our home looking as good as it had when he’d been alive.
And that, after the floods and leaks and cuts and blisters it was all ok.
And that we’d both put our hearts into that home.
And that his heart is still there.
And always will be