Mr. Incredible Crashed the Party

Advance warning: I hope you like reading about home projects, ’cause we’ve been eating, sleeping, and breathing house stuff these past couple of weeks.

Most of our evening and weekends have been spent at the new house. As I’ve mentioned, as sweet a lady as Doris was, her taste in decor reflected her age. Our focus currently is on removing the wallpaper and painting every room upstairs. We have a deadline: the hardwood flooring will be installed on July 1 and the carpet and vinyl on July 8. The good news is, we can move in after that’s done. The bad news? We’ve got a shitload of work to do before that’s done!

We decided to tackle the kitchen first, since it required the most work. There was lots of wallpaper to take down, one of the walls had a surface that required texturing, and the cabinets, cupboards, and refrigerator needed cleaning. Here’s what it looked like before:

And today:

So: progress.

I painted the hallway sage green as well. The living room is a lot bolder – we’re doing it in orange. The shade is a little brighter than I’d expected, but I think it will look good when it’s finished.

Three really cool things happened in regards to the house. Last weekend, Tara stumbled upon the original blueprints and specs in the master bedroom closet. We’re planning on framing them and hanging them in the basement.

Second, we’d known that Doris – the previous owner – was an artist renowned for her pottery. I posted an ad on NextDoor introducing myself as the person who bought Doris’s house. I mentioned that we’d love to honor her by displaying a piece of her pottery in our home and asked if anybody would be willing to sell us something. I got a response from one of our neighbors that she would call Doris’s daughter Kristi and see if she had anything. Well, it turns out Kristi was so moved by my request, it actually brought her to tears. She will be making a trip to Rapid City in October and wants to bring us a piece of her mom’s pottery. And, she gave the neighbor her phone number so I can give her a call. How nice is that? I plan to give her a ring this week. It’ll be great to talk to somebody who grew up in our house.

Last, but not least, Tara had the brilliant idea of looking to see if Doris had a Facebook account. Well, she did…and we found these great photos of her firing up the kiln and making pottery right there in her (our) backyard. This is from 2009, so 10 years before she died.

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It’s funny, there are these circular rust stains on the patio. Now we know exactly where they came from.

I love that we have gotten to know so much about this very interesting woman whose home we purchased. I doubt very many others would go to so much trouble, but it just feels right, you know? She lived there for 46 years. I am going to feel like an intruder for quite a while.

Other than working on the house, we are busy with just plain work. I swear, there’s hardly time to come up for air! But we try to take the occasional break. Thursday evenings there are free downtown concerts in Rapid City, and those are a great opportunity to kick loose and have a little fun (and not paint for a change). We stopped by Thirsty’s last week for a couple of beers and a bite to eat, then wandered over for the Summer Nights show featuring Flannel, a 90s cover band. We even ran into Gregg, our realtor. Not that we recognized him at first, seeing as he was dressed head to toe as Mr. Incredible. With his Aussie accent, he was quite the spectacle. His wife was there, too – wearing a Wonder Woman costume. Don’t ask me why they were dressed up. Maybe they’re into role playing?

The weather has been typical for a South Dakota spring. It usually dawns clear in the morning, and within a few hours, towering cumulus clouds are building over the Black Hills. Most days there are at least a few rumbles of thunder. Friday evening, our painting was interrupted by some pretty impressive thunderstorm action. We couldn’t resist sitting out on the front porch watching lighting flashing all around us. And when it started raining, we went inside and pulled up chairs next to the living room window. We have the best view from our house!

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Hope all you fathers had a great day today! My kids both texted me their best wishes, so I can’t complain.

7 thoughts on “Mr. Incredible Crashed the Party

  1. You do have an incredible view. And I had no idea you had a second kid. Flannel, a 90s cover band.–Perfect name! Really neat finding Doris’ FB page and discovering that picture. So cool to solve the mystery of the rust stains. And that pottery on the ground is beautiful. So nice how you moved her daughter to tears. It will be great to have a piece of Doris’ in your home. When I saw your kitchen pics, I thought, “Is that sage green?” Then I saw that it was! That’s the color of our kitchen too. 🙂 It’s one of my favorites. I didn’t like the black cabinets that came with the house, though they matched the appliances, so I painted vines on several of them to match the walls and brighten the place up a bit. I was sad to see that the insides were brown–what I would’ve preferred–but if they weren’t black, I wouldn’t have thought of the vines! I know I could’ve just stripped the black paint off, but again, matched the appliances.
    Happy working!

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    • I’ve surprised you twice in the past few weeks: with the fact that I wrote and published a novel, and that I have a second child, lol. You did know that I’m descended from royalty and made a small fortune by investing in Amazon stock early on but then losing it all in the 2008 housing crisis, right…?

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  2. I am trying to figure out why it looks like you have a third window above the kitchen sink in the bottom pics! LOL, but I like the new color. It’s fun to update a house to make it yours, but also wonderful that you found the blueprints and are going to frame them as well as obtain a piece of Doris’ artwork to include in your home. Enjoy the process and have a great week, Mark.

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    • Astute observation! Tara pulled off some of the vertical blind slats near the corners to assist with painting, so it does look like a third window! I hadn’t even noticed that myself.

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  3. Mark, first, I think it’s absolutely wonderful what you did about posting that ad on Next Door! 🙂 No doubt that Kristi was moved to tears because no one would have done what you did. And I bet you can’t wait to meet up with her in October!!!

    “It’s funny, there are these circular rust stains on the patio. Now we know exactly where they came from.” That is just the COOLEST! It’s like you have permanent piece of Doris with you, every time you look at those rust stains on the patio!

    I LOVE that you shared the picture of Doris from here Facebook page. That was a brilliant idea from Tara!

    Love the before and after shots! Well done to you both!

    ” We have the best view from our house!” You certainly do! Beautiful sky!

    Have a faaaaaabulous week, my friend!

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    • Thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you!!

      Sometimes my wife comes up with these really brilliant ideas. Facebook seems so obvious, and yet, I guess I just figured the odds of a 79 y/o woman having an account were slim. Never judge a book by its cover!

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