Save the beams.

The plan is to take the money from the Westford sale, use it to build a modern house on the back pasture in Morrisville while living next door in the Green House, and then tear down the Green House. This sounds foolish and extravagant sometimes, and I have to remind myself that the place is just plain falling apart. There’s no way I’m going to spend my golden years fighting a losing battle with the fixer-upper from Hell.

And yet Mary has a sentimental attachment to the place, and it makes sense to salvage and re-use what we can. Mary is tuned in to reclaimed wood, and the living room ceiling beams and upstairs flooring were said to be the genuine 200 year old articles. When hauling load after trailer load of stuff to Morrisville became routine, we decided to take a hard look at how much, and what kind of wood was available. 

So I got my flat bar and a hammer and I ripped out a chunk of ceiling. Behind the sheetrock was … more sheetrock.  I ripped out another chunk, and behind it was … gorgeous, wide, aged boards.  I looked at her, and she looked at me, and we knew we wanted these in the new house.




And they’re free!!  Unless you count labor. I know I’m not good at estimating how long a project is going to take, but I should have known better than to think I could get them down before we moved in. But you never finish what you never start, and I started the next day.

It took me less than a day to pull down most of the sheetrock in the living room, working above my head on a broken step ladder.






It took me another day to remove the upstairs rugs and rip up the underlayment covering the original floor boards. This was a bitch: There were ring-nails in hardwood on a 6″ grid, and Time had rusted them into place. Every Single Piece of underlayment had to be pried up and rrrripped away. Every Single nail head pulled thru the masonite, leaving a 1/4″ projection to tear my pants and bloody my knees. 

I “took a break” and went back to hauling trailer loads of junk to Morrisville. At this point, there was a mess of broken sheetrock on the floor downstairs, and a mess of broken underlayment upstairs, and we had 6 weeks to move in. Well Mary has allergies and doesn’t like dust. And if we’re going to re-use these beams and boards, then they’re going to have to come out now or later. And if we take them out later, while we’re living downstairs, there’s going to be dirt Everywhere, and someone is going to die. So Now is the time.

Again, I’m not good at estimating how long a project is going to take, but I should have known better than to think I could get those beams down and still have time to move in by Memorial day.  But I got started the next day.

You can’t remove the beams until you remove the floor. You can’t remove the floor until you remove the interior partitions. You can’t remove the interior partitions until you’ve made sure the roof won’t collapse. And you can’t be sure about the roof until you’ve taken off some sheetrock.  So guess where I started? I opened up an old hole in the ceiling about 3 feet square and started throwing stuff through it. Doors. Shelves. Trim. Sheetrock. Lath. Plaster. Insulation. Studs. All of it: down the hole.



It sounds stupid, but I needed some convincing to realize that we needed a roll-off box. And both of us needed some convincing to realize that we needed a big one. We’ve seen that my own forte is making a mess. Well, Mary is very good at cleaning up, and we made plans to get rid of the pile. 

On 4/27, I loaded the trailer, ate breakfast,  put air in the trailer tire, lashed everything down, and we were off.





At the green house, the pile in the living room was still there. We opened the  back end of the roll-off box and set up some ramps. For 4 hours, Mary worked the small pieces and the wheelbarrow, while I moved the wood and the large pieces. Mary made sure that we were loading the roll-off box neatly and as high as possible and slowly, it filled up. Without a break, we totally got rid of the pile. Then we started making another pile. I set Mary to work pulling nails upstairs while I removed screws from the undersides of 2 sections of beam. I pulled more masonite and sheetrock from the hall+closet area near celia’s room and dumped everything down the hole. And then hauled it all outside.

Finally, we decided to take up one floorboard, just to make sure that there Really Is something good down there that we were going thru all this trouble to harvest. It was beautiful. By this time, Mary was having a hard time breathing, so we headed home. What a woman!

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