We’ve not yet rented one of those green dumpsters that so often accompany a renovation project. To date, at least, that’s been one expense we’ve skipped. Yes, I’ve learned about the recycling center, as it’s called – in the old days, town dump was the term – except that now these things are hauled off somewhere else.

What it does mean is that we have temporary mounds of debris until I can borrow a pickup truck or find some new use for the waste.

With the bathroom and utility room projects, I kept pondering secondary uses for all the tile we ripped from the walls and floors. Any ideas? Can’t see using it as fill if there’s any possibility someone might want to dig there in the future. And yet?

As for the wood, I’d love to just have a big bonfire but know I’d never get a permit from the fire marshal. Alas.

Old piping, wiring, vents, fans, other mechanical parts, insulation, lathe … it all adds up.

The old drywall, at least, will disintegrate in the garden, and it’s a good source of lime to loosen up our clay soil. I’ll be using that stack on the new raised beds we’re planning for flowers.

As I blog about this, please remember I have no intention of speaking as an expert or saying this is how it is done, step by step. Far from it! Instead, these are simply the confessions of someone who’s fallen into the situation of being the owner of an old house – and whose abilities and interests fall far more into literary or theological realms than those of more pressing domestic matters. So much, it turns out, is a matter of muddling through. Or as one expert replied when asked where we were going with one problem: “We’ll know when we get there.”

OK, we did get that overbuilt monolith out from the doorsill we needed to repair and left it on the other side of the driveway. Six months later, I finally buried it – all 500 pounds – in a hole. We’re still thinking of building a gazebo above it. Now there’s one project I think I can handle!


My poems on the challenges of renovations, repairs, and relating as a husband are collected as Home Maintenance, a free ebook at Thistle/Flinch editions.


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