As you can well imagine a house that hadn’t been lived in for over two years would require a lot of elbow-grease to get it up to par.
The first pass of cleaning was a matter of literally clearing out the cobwebs, getting rid of surface dust and dirt, as well as sorting through all the stuff that was left behind. The latter step often made the effort seem more like a treasure hunt than work because of some of the wonderful thing I found.
As I cleaned each room in the house it helped me envision how I would likely set it up which influences how the electrical outlets should be placed. With a few exceptions the entire house needs to be rewired but I was aware of that when I bought it.
I got estimates before the sale was final, but after living here a while I realized I wanted to make some revisions. At last the electrical work is scheduled for April.
I’ve started the second pass of cleaning which is a bit more intense than the first. This entails washing walls, scrubbing floors, cleaning fireplaces, etc. Heavy duty, down and dirty, hard work.
The first room I tackled was the bathroom because that’s where I decided to have my washer installed.
It will be a while before the bathroom gets renovated; I decided to wait until after I install the second bathroom so I will have functional facilities when the current ones are out of commission. In the meantime I rigged up a shower curtain to protect the plaster wall until it can be re-done with tiles.
A few weeks ago on a Monday Colin took me to Brive-la-Gaillarde to pick up a shop-vac and a washing machine. They didn’t have the washer I wanted in stock but said I could have free delivery on Thursday. I took that to mean in three days. So the next Thursday I waited around the house for the washer to arrive. As it turned out it was a Thursday but two and a half weeks away.
That meant making another couple of treks to the “laverie” at the Super-U which required walking a mile to the supermarket, carrying laundry, slowly shopping while I waited for the wash to finish, then carrying everything back.
At least I had my shiny new vacuum to play with. I have to admit I never expected to be excited about a vacuum cleaner but I really was. I knew I needed something that would work for serious cleaning now as well as cleaning up after some minor demolition and renovation so I bought a shop-vac.
With the vacuum I could finish cleaning up the storage closet so I could utilize it to organize my tools, linens and other odds & ends. That really felt like progress!
The kitchen was the next room to undertake. My intention was to clean out the storage area under the stairs but while doing so I discovered that the boards of the shelves had dry-rot so I removed them and will just leave the area open for now.
I cleaned the overhead cupboards and discovered that there is a gap at the back of those shelves. If anything falls it goes behind the paneling below.
So my plans for preparing more storage areas were thwarted. There is one very narrow cupboard that I was able to clean and use to store most of my food.
Before the electrical work is done I will need to remove the existing paneling in the kitchen, repair the walls where necessary then finish the walls. This work will need to be done later in March since it will probably cause a loss of heat and heating fuel is quite expensive.
I had 1000 liters of fuel delivered about a month ago; I’ve already gone through nearly half of that and it’s been a rather mild winter here this year.
I am saving some on fuel right now though. A sensor on the heating unit went out so my heating, and hot water, are out of commission for about a week until the part arrives from Germany and can be installed. C’est la vie!
Fortunately I still have the portable heater which keeps my ‘living’ rooms warm. But I’m really missing having nice hot showers again especially since Colin installed a new tap in the bathtub when he hooked up the washer. (Did I mention what a nice guy Colin is? And he has his own houses to work on too.)
So I’m back to my camping shower in a rather cold bathroom. Brrrrr!
I’m moving forward with other cleaning. I’ve cleaned two of the fireplaces. The fireplaces and entry all have encaustic tiles. The tiles are rather stained and take a lot of scrubbing; even after cleaning there’s still some discoloration.
After finishing the woodwork in the first floor bedroom I’ve started on the hard-wood floor.
I never expected to have such a large house but I truly adore this one.
Although there is a lot to do I find that I actually enjoy doing it. – Who knew that I would ever like housework? It’s certainly a good thing that I do because I still have a lot of it ahead of me. It seems whenever I check a thing or two off my To Do list I end up adding another task to it.
So even if progress seems slow I am still moving forward.