Unofficially Autumn again

Besides continuing to work on restoring window sashes, we began the preparations for winter. Bringing in the plants and cleaning off the side porch are usually the first of these seasonal machinations.

It’s been a hard year for some of the moisture loving plants but a very good year for the ones that like hot, dryish weather. The fiscus tree, wandering jews, and the aloe all did very well outside. The bird of paradise plants…not so well.

Here’s a picture of about half of them, back in the living room, beginning the long wait for spring.

Plants back inside

Big Aloe plant


Not so much going on, quantity wise. But, quality is good. Exempli gratia, we had restored, and hung on prominent display, this beautiful light fixture.

Restored Pan Light

The wonderful restoration was done by By-Gone Days Antiques in Charlotte. They are finishing up a floor lamp that I will pick up tomorrow.

Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earle Keen, Jr.

We spent most of the weekend getting ready for Christmas. No real restoration work has happened at 118 Henry Street for almost 3 weeks. The annual end-of-year slump is definitely set in. The early darkness of winter days transforms the usually energetic DeShawn and myself into old bears. By the time we get home during the regular work week, get supper done, and calm down a bit, we’re both ready to climb in the sleeping bags and go to bed. Consequently, the weekend’s daylight feels short and, oh so, fleeting.

Our cyber-friends over at the Brickman House describe a condition they call the “18 month syndrome” that pauses house restoration. The syndrome affects weary old house restorers when they realize that they have to actually live in the spaces they are trying to restore. Subsequent to the realization, efforts, thoughts and money are re-directed away from demolition/construction and acutely focused on comfort/livability. We see variations of the syndrome occurring at other members of the house restoration cyber community.

After a summer’s energy of work, there are a couple of things that can neutralize some restoration momentum and ferment the “18 month syndrome”. Take for example, our cyber-friends at Enon Hall. Nothing less than a hurricane halted work in less than 24 hours time. After facing the devastation of flood waters and many, many trees down, they’re starting to recover in time for holiday preparations. It’s truly heart warming to see the efforts they are making to raise their son contrary to the overweight, overstimulated, overconsumptive lifestyle that seems to be, all too, common these days.

If a hurricane can’t stop work on an old house then, at the Worley Place, surely the delivery of a new baby boy can. The new addition, by all signs their first child, will most certainly fuel the need to live in, rather than work on, the house.

For us at Henry Street, the annual slump should mitigate by the end of January. By then, we will be sufficiently tired of winter to the point that we will re-start work on the house out of stir-crazy. If the past 2 year’s history is any indication, work will probably resume on the side projects first. For now, however, DeShawn and I spend our evenings lazing about, waiting for bedtime while drinking hot herb tea, reading books and discussing the marvelous things he makes from Legos.

DeShawn with Lego creation, $10 Christmas tree, and heart pine floors

We’ve got our first ever Henry Street Christmas tree. For $10 at the Dollar General store, we captured a 32″ tall tree. After a frustrating morning finding a tree farm and then being turned away because we wanted a small tree, Carole suggested the Dollar General for a fiber optic based, artificial one. Tiny strands of fiber optic cable are interwoven in the foliage. A light embedded in the base fills the strands of fiber with changing colors. The resultant effect is shimmering colored lights moving over the entire tree. We set it on an upside down brass flowerpot in the living room front window. It looks great from the street at night!

Carole and DeShawn made candy cane reindeer for his class at school. They made about 20 all told, using the candy canes as bodies, glue-on eyes, and brown pipe cleaners for antlers. We’re going to take them on Friday, the day of their Christmas play at DeShawn’s school. While they were birthing the reindeer, I made out the Christmas cards and went over our gift list.

All in all, a most pleasant sort of anti-house restoration weekend.