Living in a cardboard box isn’t so bad after all


Well, I don’t actually live in a cardboard box, but sometimes it feels like I do.  Especially in late winter…like today.

My old house was built in 1888 before anyone ever dreamed of insulation – unless it was a combination of corn shucks and a little tar. 

Believe it or not, we found both when I renovated the house ten years ago.  We also found a squirrel skeleton nailed to an interior support beam.   Apparently the hapless animal was scampering through the walls when one of my predecessors decided to hammer a nail for a picture, or maybe a place to hang his shotgun.   Caught Mr. Squirrel right through the skull.  My contractor called all his friends to come see the spectacle.

We also found some old newspapers dated to the 1920s stuffed into the space between the bead board and the studs.  That’s the extent of my insulation.  I tell people that my toothbrush freezes on the sink during cold winter nights, but I don’t think they believe me.

People ask why I don’t have insulation blown into the attic.  I don’t know. No one’s ventured up there this century and there’s a teeny wee door which only a waif could fit through. If anyone knows a courageous waif, send him to me. I’d really like someone to take a peak.

Yet, there’s something special here that I can’t name.  There’s a strangely blissful feeling that engulfs me when I walk through the door.  I step back in time and leave behind the cacophony of rude sounds of the 21st century (especially since I banished my land-based telephone).

When I renovated, I left most of the walls in tact and tried to stay true to the original farm house.  A few had to go and were replaced with sheet rock. Every one of those new walls are bleeding – yes BLEEDING.  A red sticky substance runs down every time I try to hammer a nail.  It’s become a conversation piece, so I haven’t tried to remedy the situation.

I’m thinking if times get any harder, I can charge admission to see the bleeding house. Darn. I wish we hadn’t removed the poor squirrel.

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