Making progress but need help. I spent six hours yesterday cleaning out seven rooms plus the stairway and back door entry, took off burnt back door, and made a few more neighborhood contacts, including Stacey who lives on Harmon, heading east toward Oakland; and Msgr. Michael LeFevre, the Rector at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament (our parish church– yay!).
I also found out that our neighborhood is called “Gateway Community” and that we have a common garden on Belmont Street, with rain-barrel irrigation and some healthy looking cultivars of lettuces, peppers, and tomatoes planted in well-made, raised beds.
I am getting some information back from emails sent to various City offices, like from the DWSD (Det. Water & Sewerage Dept.) (Ms. Moore), and the District 5 Neighborhoods office (Mr. Keenan) — but wish the Mayor’s Office had email contact available. Also thinking about additions to the film treatment, like including having our neighbor Tenisha stand on the ruins of the next-door burnt-down house and read Anne Bradstreet’s “Upon the Burning of our House, 1666” — talk about connecting my academic life to my material culture life! Also, maybe we can get Sixto Rodriguez to bring his guitar and play at a future block party? We should for sure include a slow tour down Boston Ave. (just three blocks south) for it jaw-dropping mansions. And Jon’s project on the French painter Claude Monet seems to keep intersecting as well; check out the plaster impressionism on a wall in the Kitchen:
There’s still one of the bedrooms, the bathroom, + the whole third floor to clean out — the mashed slurry of wet insulation, drywall, plaster, and peeled paint, all with the likely toxins of asbestos and lead, make the house environmentally hazardous. But it has to be done, and all it takes is time, effort, and love. Things look better upstairs, the exposed wooden ribbing and sherbet-colored cracked plaster create their own patterns.
Yesterday was dirty, hot, dusty, prickly, and tough. I decided to recover the back entrance first, an old-fashioned Michigan ‘mud-room’ or pantry off the kitchen — there’s a beautiful old built-in cupboard that has a true (not faux) ‘shabby chic’ aesthetic. I want to make this ‘mueble’ the object of the re-design of the house — everything should riff off it — with a craftsman meets farmhouse groove– Here are the before and after pictures:
Like the Giving Tree, or maybe Boo Radley, just as I was getting a bit discouraged and honestly thirsty, the house gave me Gatorade! Really, there was an unopened, perfectly okay 12 oz. Citrus Gatorade behind the left door of the cupboard! “Thank you House, I needed that!”