The mariner owns an Edwardian Victorian home in Colorado. It was built in 1901 and in its time must have been the queen of Old Colorado City. His advice to everyone is never to own an Edwardian Victorian home built in 1901. Long ago, before most construction regulations were created, the grand house was converted to apartments.
The mariner has owned the home for six years. To this day, house wiring wanders uncharted through the huge home. Eight circuit breakers, four outside and four inside on the third floor control current flow. Like most older homes, the building was grandfathered in and is legal unless the function of the building (apartments) changes. The gas lines are equally obscured from logic or direction. He has never seen two water heaters joined together side by side with at least a dozen elbow joints.
The gas furnace in the basement distributes heat to the entire building via ducts two feet in diameter – delivered to original, ornate iron wall registers.
My son and I have rebuilt a significant portion of the plumbing and must deal with broken septic tile that runs not to the street but under another home built on top of the tiles that run to an alley on the other side. Constant rotor rooter service is critical unless one want a septic backup in the basement.
Together with my son and wife – and contractors, we have patched, plugged, refurbished, and otherwise sustained the life of the building. We have hung doors, rebuilt cabinets, rehung ancient windows with broken weight ropes, replaced broken glass, light fixtures and carpet. The whole building, inside and out has been newly painted.
But the mariner will tell you the worst job of all is replacing venetian blinds. Yes, it seems like a simple and effortless job. But you are fooled. It is a combination of circumstances. First, the windows are very high under a ten foot ceiling; the corners of the lintel look like the building was hit by gunfire regularly since the First World War. Where does one make the next holes to hang the blinds? Some corners are made mostly of wood putty, leaving no firmness that wood provides.
The next circumstance is the step ladder. It is never convenient and requires dangerous leaning over furniture with a large sheet of old window glass inches away. Try leveling the mounting hardware with one hand stretched to its utmost while marking the spots with the other hand somehow reaching over the arm holding the level. Then try to drill holes and mounting screws. By now your legs and arms are growing fatigued, the ladder sways under you and you drop the last two screws to the floor.
The final circumstance is the mariner: mid seventies, palsey that makes using a screwdriver a long, struggling experience to join driver and screw. What should have been a morning’s work lingered toward suppertime. His aching back spoke of the strain of imbalance and the shoulders whimpered with soreness.
Fortunately, tomorrow’s chores are hanging a laundry room door, and repairing cabinets in the bathroom. Simple stuff anyone can do. Building porch decks and properly fitted stairs and rails is easy; the square does all the work.
If you have to hang all new blinds, sell the house!
Our last chore is to pack for the return to Iowa. Our truck was full on the way here. We are returning with a bit more. An inversion table, a lawn mower and perhaps a grill have been added to a truckload that was full on the way out.
Anyone want to buy a Edwardian Victorian home built in 1901? The venetian blinds ar new.