On Friday, I spent a lot of time pregnancy-napping on the couch in our library while the kids did math through Khan Academy, and when I would wake up, I would hear, through my haze of exhaustion, the whine of some large insect at the window. It sounded too large to be a ladybug (our current infestation) and the stinkbugs have all gone into hibernation (at last). On and off all day this buzzing continued. After a while it got under my skin, and so finally I got up and commenced a seek-and-destroy mission. Oddly enough I couldn't find any bugs in the room, so I tried to trace the noise. It was coming from one particular corner, up near the ceiling, and as I stared up, I realized that there was no bug. The plaster ceiling itself was groaning, and the ominous bulge we'd been remarking on for months was throwing more pronounced shadows.
Well, it turns out, after consultation with the handyman, that what seems to be the case is that the lathe and plaster have detached from the joists and are merely holding up through the surface tension of the plaster. It can be re-anchored -- an incredibly dusty process, apparently -- and either replastered or drywalled over, then repainted. Since the ceiling is going to be opened anyway, we're going to have the cloth-covered wiring replaced with something less fire-hazardous, and we will replace the awful chandelier (not the original fixture anyway) with something that will actually light up the room and not be actively ugly.
The universe seems to know when the trees need to be trimmed, the front porch repaved, a new van purchased, and a second child in need of braces, and to give, of its bounty, a little extra so that we can be grateful for the parts of the house that are not actively in the process of collapsing.
Just so's you know that some parts of the house can be fixed up on the cheap, here's the downstairs bathroom before:
|We call this color "insanity green".|
This was done last year for the cost of the paint. Darwin stripped and refinished the radiator cover (there's no radiator behind it, oddly enough) and I stained the table and did all the painting. Each of those squares on the tileboard was painstakingly taped off and given two coats of cobalt paint, giving them the effect of glazed tiles.
Of course, that was simply cosmetic and didn't involve the imminent possibility of gaping holes in the ceiling and plaster coming down on a good portion of our books.