March, 2014: the air was still damp and cold, Thomas began work in Wellfleet, and the lichen covered everything in that part of the world. We barely saw one another. We lived parallel lives via texts; I sent photos of the cat to keep him company until he'd come home...only to pack up and leave on Sunday nights. He slept on couches, on the floor at the jobsite; he has lived out of a bag far too long. Neither of us enjoyed looking at one lonely toothbrush each morning.
Now, six months later, we're tying up our city lives, preparing to move into the house we bought, preparing to begin our new lives on the skinny, sandy piece of land known as the outer Cape. What brought us to this point? Luck, the push and pull of new moons and full moons, fate.
This has been a bizarre journey, but we are almost home.
Last night, I read through the all the deeds for the land our house was built on. Starting in 1888 and ending in 2000, it was surreal to think about the first settlers of Nauset who left the safety of Plymouth Plantation, to set up a life on the unknown, narrow land of Cape Cod - Snow, Prince, Doane, Cook, Higgins, Smalley, Bangs - their ancestors once farmed the land our little house stands on.
I know each house we live in, each step we take over the blades of grass on our lawns has been done before. We're not the first to be here. Holding this handwritten paper with its beautifully scrolling penmanship somehow made the connection between our house and the seven pioneers of Eastham a real thing. Our deed will be added to this collection of paperwork, declaring our ownership of a piece of land, a piece of Massachusetts history.
It blew my mind.
Anyway, onto the renovation progress:
Our new roof has been installed! Thanks to Ed Callahan, we now have a weathertight roof over our heads, AND a nice neighbor to call upon.
Our Rose of Sharon is in full bloom - perfectly timed with the death of our minnehaha roses.
Our priming and painting continues, much to the screams of our neck and shoulders. A finish coat has finally been applied to the living room walls, with the trim and doors up next. The red brick of the fireplace will be painted a deep steel grey and our woodstove will finally have a home.
Our kitchen floor is also done and looks like the ocean on a grey day. We chose a commercial grade vinyl tile - mostly because of the color - but we chose the installer because of the beautiful job he did with the floors of the Weidlinger house.
This has been (and I'm sure will continue to be) a daunting, exciting, insane project. We're exhausted both physically and mentally, but we are totally, 100% in love with our little house.
Thanks for reading and staying tuned to our story. We hope to get back to working in the shop later this fall, once the air has that crisp edge to it, and the color of the sea changes from the bright blue of summer to the deep grey of the looming winter to come.
If you've followed along with us, you're aware of our love for the outer Cape. When we'd visit, the drive home was spent daydreaming and brainstorming how we could live there, how we could make it happen.
With the moons and the stars on our side, it did.
We bought a little Cape and are busy making this old house a new home: tearing up flooring, ripping out the bathroom, cleaning and painting and getting our hands very, very dirty. It sat empty for quite some time. The roses have grown wild up and along the honey locusts, with catbirds and cardinals nesting amongst the land. It needs work. A lot. We're doing it all ourselves, on a budget, reusing and repurposing what we can. We don't come from money. We grew up with loving families, not wealthy families. This home, these 4 little rooms, will be brought back to life with our sweat, our hard work, and the devotional love in our hearts.
This home, these cedar shingled walls - we are enamored.
Things will temporarily quiet down in the Shop, but stay tuned for new goods inspired by kettle ponds, sandy shores, and the way the sun ebbs from the sky to make room for the moon.
The big open sky above our little roof, and the first Rose of Sharon to bloom.
Septic work begins and ends with a yard full of sand.
The layers of sandy Cape Cod soil held treasures: shells, porcelain remnants of long-forgotten teacups, tiny ink bottles. The worms have been unearthed and the catbirds are happy.
A welcome gift for our avialae friends; the chickadees and cardinals have eaten quite well from this house full of seed, while the catbirds stick to the worms and insects poking from the ground.
Who needs cable when this view (see below) is nearby? The satellite dish was one of the first things to go. We're turning in our TV remote for marshy views of the Cape Cod bay.
Thomas' nemesis: kitchen tile put down in 1964; it is not going without a fight.
Between tile smashing, we took a dip in Wiley Pond to cool off - both physically and mentally.
This is an improvement, trust me. Not shown: the pink sink, toilet and tub that used to reside here, all sitting on a rotted-out floor. Thomas put in a new subfloor along with new insulation for the tub surround. We're keeping the aquamarine tile and vanity not just as an ode to the ocean, but because it's just not in the budget to yank it all out.
We're determined to make this sea of blue work.
Next up for the bathroom: new tile floor is put down, clean white bathroom fixtures go in, walls get a fresh coat of paint, and a new window is installed.
Elsewhere in the house: we'll be hanging new bedroom windows, painting the fireplace and prepping for the wood stove to go in, and the kitchen work begins (if we can ever get rid of the old floor).
More to come soon.