The first week at Forest House

The view from the front porch of Forest House

Edit six months later: Once upon a time, I thought I’d be able to catalog the work we are doing at Forest House, that I could write a weekly list so I didn’t forget all the good and bad. How very naive. I know better now, but left this post here as a reminder of best intentions and hard work.

It’s been one week since we received keys and we’ve been at Forest House nearly every day – a couple hours in the morning before work, returning at 7:00pm to work until dark and eat dinner before heading back home. It’s 30 minutes between houses, but worlds away.

It still doesn’t feel real to me despite how right it felt the first day we saw it. Maybe so much of our energy was tied up in the search for the last 9 months, I feel a little lost in the accomplishment. Maybe it seemed so unlikely that it is hard to believe it happened. Likely there is some fear – me taking chances on what seems like a dream has a history of blowing up. So I turn now to Neil’s steadfastness; though it takes him forever to make a decision, once made, his solidity bears the weight of my flapping about with anxiety.

It only took one day of work before Forest House was cheery again, looking less forlorn and more determined. At night, her lights shine warmly in the midnight blue – with no streetlights or immediate neighbors, it is the first true darkness we’ve had in a couple years. An owl calls every evening in the distance, and the rain falling on acres of big leaf maples sounds like a trickling stream. It is quiet here – quieter even then some hikes we’ve taken. It is a friendly quietness, not ominous or heavy. It feels like the forest and house have been waiting for us to arrive. I feel my shoulders release as I breathe deeply and despite the work, I leave feeling restored.

Neil seems equally happy and excited. We have worked together professionally for so long (and still do) that we move within each others orbit smoothly; intuitively knowing when the other will need a hand or going for long stretches without talking. Where working together/doing a remodel would challenge many couples, this is fun for us. Both us have enough building experience to feel confident doing the work ourselves. Neil is a generous and patient teacher who (mostly) never makes me feel dumb for not knowing how to do something or being nervous about using a tool.

Turns out that Fionn the warrior-mystic dog is scared of the dark, and though he doesn’t mind loud noises like fireworks, the sound of paneling being torn off the studs sends him into a frenzy of concern. He can’t decide if he wants to hide or protect me, so we leave the door open and he sits in the grass watching me from a distance.

He’s exhausted when we get home, but the next time we turn off Firetrail Road to our little road through the trees, he’s running between open car windows sniffing all the smells he can get.

I worry about the day he is loose and runs into a deer, but the property is fenced and he wears a GPS tag, so…..

What we did this week:

  • Overgrown shrubbery around skirting cleared
  • All skirting removed
  • Driveway parking area size doubled by cutting trees (with a Sawzall!) 
  • 30 yard dumpster was delivered and is already 1/4 full
  • Internet installed (a whopping 6mgs!!)
  • All 5 skylights inspected and leaks repaired. (oops, one is still leaking🙄)
  • Roof cleared of moss
  • Gutters adjusted to drain properly and cleaned out (fewer mosquitoes now!)
  • Bathroom One partially cleared and almost ready for new tub/shower and sink installation this weekend.
  • All fake ceiling beams removed
  • Entry wall removed
  • Kitchen nook walls stripped to studs and ready for new corner pantry electrical and build
  • SW wall stripped to studs and readied to remove windows and move/install a double front door.
  • Living room closet ready to build out
  • Master walk in closet partially ready to build out (expanded to 7ft square)
  • Trim removal (OMG SO MUCH TRIM!!! — Thanks, Mom and Dad for helping!) )
  • Old ceiling leak areas inspected (this is ongoing – first time I’m super grateful for days and days of hard rain!)
  • Built in hutch removed
  • Brass fan light removed (anyone want an 80’s relic?)
  • Mouse infested insulation removed and area cleaned 🐭 
The first of many long nights

One thought on “The first week at Forest House

  1. I love this story. Be careful and take a break to rest when you need it. Do you have at least ten feet of clearing around the house? A fire break is important. Right now in Tucson we have swarming bees and baby quail.

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