It has been a tough last few weeks on the Popes Store remodeling journey… Or has it?
Here are the facts. While putting in a ceiling fan we found the original 1900s “knob – and – tube” (K&T) wiring …still in use.
We also found parts of it with raw wire exposed due to the squirrels chewing into our house, making nests in our soffits, and eating through the antique wiring.
(Side note: People that “foster care” these rats with furry tails baffle me. They destroy cars and houses. They carry disease. They eat songbird eggs. Why are we bottle feeding them?) In order to remove this dangerous wiring, we removed the ceiling and were surprised to find water stains in the under layment of the fireplace ceiling. No, the roof never leaked. It seems prior renters locked up dogs upstairs for way too long and hence the stains on my ceiling. O…M…G…
Yesterday our beloved contractor went into the attic to examine our water heater because it was not giving more than four minutes of hot water. He found it alright. Leaking too. Forty gallons of water about to bust through our main bedroom ceiling. And if that is not enough, right beside the leaking water heater he found a naked 220 volt wire with electricity running through it. That’s right … a hot wire beside a leaking water heater.
Just to recap: Last week I found out I had to rewire major portions of the house, remove urine stains and residue from the main living area, battle a rodent problem, and replace the hot water heater. Oh — and the kitchen/laundry that was begun a few weeks ago is not being touched because this is more pressing. None of that is news a new homeowner wants to hear.
This was how my week could have ended. Let’s put the time travel bus in reverse and see the same story differently.
As Dan’s stamina increases, he goes about the business of providing us with a safe home. While installing a ceiling fan in the children’s bedroom, he uncovered dangerous, 100-year-old wiring. We reprioritze our activites and replace all of it. Hence, the wiring danger is resolved and our home is not a fire hazard any more. Problem solved.
The K&T wiring was even more dangerous because the covering of it was chewed off by rodents who became squatters in our home while it was vacant. But there is another angle: Squirrels are not an endangered species and removal of them is possible and even tasty in an economic crises. Little known fact – they do taste like chicken. I KNOW. They may not be manna or quail from heaven, but they are an option. Now they won’t bother my pecan grove. Problem solved.
While replacing the K&T wiring, we removed the ceiling of the downstairs instead of the flooring on the second floor. This kept the second-story original heart pine flooring intact. This is great news. And even though finding urine stains on the ceiling is shocking, it really is ok … we need new ceilings and will now install recessed lighting to brighten up the space. This is going to be so much better than before. Problem Solved.
Lastly while my friend/contractor had a few minutes, he checked out a concern I had about the water heater’s efficiency. Thank God he heard my concern and investigated it before the water ruined the south side of the house or worse, mixed with the live wire and caused a loss of life. Thank God he stopped working on the kitchen to make my home safe and sound before putting in cabinets and the washer and dryer.
It is shocking how one shift in thinking can affect my attitude (get it? “shocking”?). These are the same set of facts, but a different point of view. When stepping back and revisiting these facts I get a more accurate portrayal of God’s view. While this is my journey of remodeling an old home, it is also a journey to see if I trust Him in the details as much as the whole vision.
What about you and your facts? I am not suggesting that we pretend or faith-talk away our difficult situations. That is the stuff late night tv makes fun of. I am suggesting that we ask for a more accurate view of the facts … God’s view. As Ann Voskamp reminds us in One Thousand Gifts, gratitude changes us. The simple realization of gratitude as it washes over our wounds is more impactful than a changed circumstance.