The first time I went to the Hall for the weekend, I was with Laurie. We were going out for a weekend project – I believe we were going to paint the bead board for the bathroom. I think one of my first questions to her as we approached was “is it haunted?” If you have read the previous posts, you can make up your own mind about that topic. 🙂 Anyway, she told me that she had a mutual agreement with anything that might be in the house – they leave her alone, she leaves them alone. Plus, we had all the dogs (Spinner, Guinness and Natasha) and they would let us know if anything weird was going on. That was enough to satisfy my momentary panic about staying there overnight. After that weekend, began my weekends out at the Hall.
I didn’t spend too much of 2006 out there as I was still getting to know Laurie, and eventually Kelly.
I think the years of 2007-2009 were when I spent the bulk of my time out there. From 2007 to 2008, I worked at a bank and was off every other Saturday – which invariably meant we were headed out to the Hall for a work weekend.
Some weekends involved light work; others, not so much. And Laurie, bless her heart, would always give me warning – “it’s going to be a nasty job. We’re going to be pulling this down and that down and you’re going to be blowing black snot out of your nose for a week”. It didn’t faze me one bit. See, even though the weekends were filled with projects and what-not to do, the Hall was becoming my home away from home. Every time we would be on the road and finally hit the 301/50 split, this relaxing feeling would come over me. I was getting away from the stresses of life, work, and school – and I loved it.
I could go on for hours about all the fun times we had, but I’ll limit it to three for this particular post:
1. The apartment
Oh My. What. A. Job! Even though Jason did most of the grunt work tearing down all the plaster and lath, all three of us got so dirty and grungy –and- I was blowing black snot out of my nose for a week. Anyway, Laurie and I were downstairs outside cleaning up the junk piles while Jason was upstairs in the back section with a crow bar knocking down the plaster and the lath. We would hear this loud hammering noise, then a tear, then a crash and then *POOF* – a puff of dirt and plaster dust came billowing out the window. Once he was done, we went upstairs with buckets and proceeded to throw the large pieces out the window and put the smaller pieces in the buckets for transport to the dumpster. Now, this lath and plaster is no joke. It was heavy, so even with the three of us, it took a while. You could really tell how heavy it was because of this fact: on the left side of the house (if you were facing the front) the area where the brick section and the back section met, right at the roof, was separated. It had separated because of the failed caddy corner support of the foundation. Once all the lath and plaster had been removed, the gap between the brick section and the back section had gotten noticeably smaller. With all the excess weight gone, the house just bounced back!
2. The stupid crown molding in the bathroom.
Ah yes – Laurie’s and my ONLY disagreement in seven years. Seriously. We get along so well in general – I think it was a combination of things and the crown molding was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. So we had gone to Home Depot to get the crown molding, came back and tried to use a miter box to make the cuts. Between Laurie, Jason and myself (and the dull hand saw) it just wasn’t happening. So we tucked that project away, seeing as it didn’t HAVE to be done at that moment in time. Later, Denny informed us that he had a professional table saw that he would be happy to leave there for us to cut the crown molding. “Great!”, we thought, “How hard can it be, now that we have a really cool tool to use!” As we learned, a tool is only as good as the people who are using it. Laurie had her vision of how we needed to cut it. I had my idea of how we needed to do it, and this one and only time, our ideas didn’t match. And neither of us was budging! If the table saw had been a person, it probably would have chuckled at the bickering going on. The constant movement and readjusting of the table saw angle, the practice cuts, the occasional expletive when one idea (mine) turned out to be wrong, the sigh of exasperation as we stood back and looked at the result of our ideas combined…and the final “Well, we can just caulk it and the gaps will go away” solution. But, we got it up and learned some valuable lessons that day. – Laurie’s note (we still can’t cut crown molding to save our lives!)
While we all think of insulation as being a good thing, we don’t always think about the effort needed to go into the actual installation. This project also came with Laurie’s warning – “if you get it on your skin, you’ll be itching for days” and “whatever you do, don’t breathe it in”. So, with a mental image of small shards of glass burrowing deep into my skin if I so much as brushed up against it, we got ourselves ready. Boy, we were prepared. For a hot summer day, we were dressed in boots, jeans, sweatshirts (or a long sleeve shirt), masks, goggles, and gloves. This is probably why we were never bothered by any ghosts and what not – we entertained them during the day with our work outfits and projects!
Anyway, we were insulating because it got so cold during the Fall months. So, we figured we should put some insulation underneath the floor so as to keep the warm air in and the drafts out. So, marching down we went – to the cellar. I can’t remember the exact order in which we put it up but I did notice that soon, my goggles fogged up from the hot air coming from the mask. After not being able to see and not providing much help because of this fact, off went the goggles. Next to go was the mask because it was hard to breathe as it was. Next, were the sweatshirts because we just got too hot. By the end, we had our system down and just wanted to get it done as quickly as possible. Those showers/baths at the end of a work day never felt so good!
Morton Hall also holds a special place in my heart because through meeting Susanne and her dog, Trip, we adopted Schafer, Trip’s brother. Schafs is that very special “first dog” and is one of a kind. I know he misses Morton Hall and being able to run around as he pleases.
It is so wonderful to see how far Morton Hall is coming and the direction in which Laurie and Kelly are taking it! I am so thrilled to be a part of and witness to a little bit of the Morton Hall History.