So we decide to drive down for the first time in years to check out the house. We arrived late that night so we couldn’t see much of the outside because it’s pitch black out in the country unless you have a full moon. We were tired from the long drive and ready to sit and relax before heading to bed. Well guess what…remember in the last post when I said it was humid? Everything, and I mean everything was covered in a thin layer of mold. Thankfully not black mold but still mold. A white, gray, bluish nasty fuzzy mold. My heart sunk. Here I was ready for relaxation but now I had to start cleaning and bleaching everything before we could even sit down. For a split second we thought of checking into a hotel but the only one around was probably dirtier than what we were dealing with. So we spent the next 4 hours covering up the fabric furniture and cleaning out the bedrooms just so we could get to bed.
Finally about 1 AM, we were able to sit and rest. My back hurt, I was hot and a bit grouchy but grateful for the central air the in-laws had installed several years back. The well water smelled like rotten eggs but the Mister said he could fix that by morning. I started the next day with a trip to Wal-Mart for more cleaning supplies. That seemed to be the one thing the in-laws were lacking. The kitchen had stacks of cokes, paper towels, and boxes of trash bags – 5 super large boxes to be exact.
The process was very overwhelming. Stuff was everywhere. She had more clothes than a department store and plastic containers crammed in every cabinet. In one cabinet alone I stopped count at 72 containers. The refrigerator was really bad. Imagine what it’s like to be so stuffed with food (OLD FOOD) that you can’t see the lightbulb inside. I used several trash bags for that. In the country, in an old house with no disposal and no trash pick up, we had to take several trips to the dump.
I think hoarding material possessions is a generational thing. We always teased that if we needed anything; a paper bag, a plastic sandwich meat container, a toilet paper roll, old yarn, old cans of salmon from 1978, that we could ask the in-laws and she’d have it. I am not exaggerating y’all. She kept everything. And now it was my job to get rid of it!
It was much easier to see its potential after contacting antique dealers and family members to come and get what they wanted. I thought this will be fun. I have the opportunity to love on a house that people have cherished for decades. But my rose colored glasses were quickly knocked off my face and smashed to smithereens. Just the shear amount of work was unbelievable. What I thought would take us a couple of weekends turned into weeks and months.
The worst part was the mice living in their new mansion. They had gone unbothered for months and there were mouse droppings everywhere. I’d find them on the kitchen counters, in the cabinets, in the drawers of the dressers, under the beds…everywhere. I’d vacuum and bleach the day away and find more the next morning. EEEEEWWWW! Just the thought of little mice running around while we were sleeping grosses me out! I think that first week we caught 4.
I remember saying many times, I hate this, I love this, referring to the work but also finding treasures tucked here and there. Suzy has lots of things I can reuse, paint, and repurpose into adorable farmhouse décor.
The worst part is over and I believe this little journey is finally turning into a true love story.