What have we done...WHAT HAVE WE DONE!?!
Well for everyone who has been waiting with baited breath to follow us on our one year RV Adventure with Pets trip across America, you may have noticed a conspicuous lack of current blog entries from the road during late June and into July. (I'm still not sure if there are actually any “real people” out there reading this; if so PLEASE leave a comment from time to time so I know I'm not completely wasting my time writing this blog.)
Well the truth of the matter is, instead of gazing at geysers in Yellow Stone or discovering quaint little towns in Wisconsin, we have spent the past four weeks of our lives peeling old paint and ripping out linoleum in Stevenson, Washington. What was scheduled as the beginning of an epic journey, has been waylaid and turned into some kind of masochistic installment of “Flip this House”.
|Is there ANYTHING yuckier than other people's old and dirty carpet? I think not!|
We have literally spent everyday, (and I do mean everyday) of the past thirty days toiling to get our little “cabin in the Gorge” up and running, and in the kind of condition that we have somehow come to expect from ourselves.
|Hard at work installing new hardwood Oak floors in the living room, kitchen, and both bedrooms|
Geez, we really can't get out of our own way. Our grand expectations coupled with our self imposed work ethic, have combined to produce quite the little working vacation. So far this summer has fallen somewhere between an internment camp and a continuously running episode of “This Old House”, an episode that never seems to end.
|Paint spattered Pauline diving into her work|
We are at this point shambling paint smeared creatures that wake up each morning in various degrees of pain, and set off once again trying to get this project completed, only to discover a whole new litany of hurdles to overcome. The target has been tantalizingly close, but always seems to be just out of reach. Yes, we are in home improvement purgatory. The more we seem to accomplish, the more there seems to be to do. On and on, world without end.
Add to all this toil and drudgery the fact that we also have to get our “Vacation Rental Conditional Use Permit”, a process where we get to sit up in front of an angry mob (all of our new neighbors), at the City of Stevenson Planning Commission meeting and have the pleasure of telling them our plans to ruin their neighborhood with our godless short term rental cabin. Good stuff to be sure. Ah yeah, we really know how to relax and enjoy a summer. It's not all bad though. It has been quite sunny and beautiful in the Gorge for the past three weeks, or at least that's what we think it looks like through sweat stung eyes, looking out through half scraped windows that are badly in need of glazing. (See how it's been?)
|Just about bottomed out with this load of 3/4" Oak Flooring.|
This self imposed work camp started June 17th., the day we took ownership of the cabin. Well that's not exactly true, on the 17th we actually just did a lot of wandering around the property and the cabin both silently wondering “what have we done?” as we stared gaped mouthed at the dingy peeling linoleum, the unkempt overgrown yard, and the stained and peeling paint.
|Could we really do this?|
I think there was a brief moment where the two of us almost bolted, but to where? The RV? Yes, that was almost a real possibility. Get in the Pleasure Way and drive away, like none of this had happened. We could always put it back on the market from the road. Yes, that was the answer. RESELL IT! Maybe we could get the money back, but truthfully, on that first depressing owner's remorse type of afternoon we had our doubts. We bought this? Hmmmm...
|Nice linoleum, classy|
What happened to our glorious vision? What on earth could we have been thinking? Several beers later, our vision started to reappear, and a couple more after that and we were once again gung-ho about this whole flipping the cabin scenario. What a brilliant bit of shrewd real estate foresight. Wow, did we make a timely purchase on a under priced piece of property or what? All you need is a little bit of forward thinking to see what this cabin could become with a little hard work and imagination. Still we slept a wee bit restlessly that evening.
|It smelled too!|
The next morning, and for that matter for the next six weeks, we basically rolled up our sleeves, cowboy'd up, and gotter done. We look fondly back on those days and think of them as A LIVING HELL. Ah yes, those were the days. Just days after we acquired the property Jerani's parents arrived and proceeded to work us to death.
|Marvin and I tackled the porch|
For the next seven days it was pretty much non-stop scraping, patching, painting, measuring, cutting, nailing, sawing, screwing, and just about every “...ing” you could think of.
|This was home during the flip, nice huh?|
All of the hard work coupled with the less than desirable living conditions brought on by deconstruction left all of our nerves a little frayed, and under these stressful conditions we snapped at one another from time to time, but in the end their help was invaluable in setting the tone for the entire project. After a week Marvin left for an extended bicycle trip, and a few days later we dropped Pauline off at the Vancouver Amtrak terminal where she caught a train back home.On our own once again the pace was set and we continued to work ourselves into a frenzy. All the days started to seem eerily similar. We'd wake, have coffee and whatever was around for breakfast, start working on anyone of a thousand jobs still left undone, stop for a quick bite to eat around one or two, work inside during the boiling afternoons (we hit a stretch of about five days over 90 degrees, we're SO lucky), eat whatever was around for dinner at seven or so, and then usually finish up the evening by going back to work on what ever project was most annoying us.
|Roof tear off|
|Lardo's Dirty Fries|
|Umi's Mexican Roll|
|From the Bridge of the Gods downstream|
This misstep was pointed out ad-nauseum by a neighbor of ours in a long winded and self congratulatory sounding letter written only the day before. In this letter this neighbor basically cast every stone he could think of at our vacation rental proposal, everything from our arborvitae hedge being too tall and our driveway too narrow, to the fear of the unknown and the demon vacation renters that would soon be raping and pillaging in his own backyard. In a nutshell, he HATED the idea. Well the rest of the meeting was quite uncomfortable. We were asked to take a seat up front, and to present our idea about a rental cabin to the Planning Commission, and then got to sit there while practically every one of our neighbors (and some from outside the neighborhood) demonized us, and threw every possible hurdle and suggested restriction our way. For the most part the Planning Commission seemed to like the idea, but it was quickly apparent that their would be NO ruling that evening, and that written notices would have to go out to all of the neighbors, and the soonest we could reconvene would be in two weeks. David started to get a little snipey with the so called neighbors, which was understandable under the circumstances with them practically Jeering at us while brandishing pitchforks and torches. In the end it was decided that we would meet again during a special meeting on Jerani's birthday (what a present!), two weeks in the future. We left the meeting frustrated, angry, and loathing our neighborhood. We felt completely isolated and vilified. We went down to the Big River Grill, a very nice restaurant in downtown Stevenson and had a beer and a late dinner to try and decompress. We ran into our realtor and let him know what had transpired, and although he was very sympathetic, there wasn't a lot he could do. After dinner we went home and spent a fairly sleepless evening tossing and turning and reliving the meeting. Bad JU JU. We both couldn't sleep, so we got up around three thirty and started working twice as hard if that was possible.
|Flipped Kitchen and Dining Area|
|Flipped Living Room|
|Living Room looking towards the Front Door|
|The Backyard looking towards the Gorge|
|Flipped second Bedroom|
|Flipped Master Bedroom|