The Red House Gets A New Set of Clothes (And A Hot Water Heater, Too)

A few weeks ago we came up to the Red House to start “prepping” for the siding that would finally be put on the house. I made the mistake of driving into Manhattan to pick up Lynn from work which meant our usual 4 hour drive turned into a 7.5 hour drive.  Consequently, when we finally arrived at the Red House at 10:35 pm after leaving Long Island at 3:35, I was not a happy camper.

Imagine then if you can that after a quick dinner and a bottle of wine, all I really wanted to do was jump in the shower and go to sleep.  Except when I turned on the hot water in the new bathroom, the water was barely luke warm. Ditto for the kitchen, the guest bathroom and the downstairs bathroom. I sucked it up to “old” pipes and figured we would deal with it in the morning. (Except most of the pipes have been replaced and therefore not “old.” )

In the morning, Lynn and I went down to the scary basement where we proceeded to stand and stare at the old water heater. Yep, there it stood.  Ironically, this is the first hot water heater we’ve ever had in any home we’ve lived in (not that it made an iota of difference in this situation) but the fact that there was this gizmo that made hot water like magic was impressive considering our history of being hot water heater-less for over 30 years.

After a suitable amount of time staring at the darn thing, we went upstairs and I started to call plumbers. Plumber #1 was on vacation. Plumber #2 was retired. Plumber #3 had to go to a wedding and a funeral in the same day and didn’t think he could swing by the house.  I called our contractor who said he would come out and “take a look,” but he had to cook a birthday/graduation meal for like 300 people (well maybe 30 but you get the idea) so could we just shower cold until Monday?

Since the sole purpose of visiting the Red House that weekend was to deal with all the  weeds and the vines that were growing around and up the side of the house (meaning we had to cut them down), in order to prepare for the siding installation, we figured lots of hot sweaty work outdoors would be just fine when faced with our cold shower conundrum.

We had lots of vines growing up one side of the house in particular that had the Red House been a stone cottage somewhere in the south of France or even Tuscany it might have been particularly pretty but here it just didn’t work.

So we pulled and we tugged until we noticed a big part of the vines had attached themselves semi-permanently to a heavy black electrical wire going out to the street. Deciding that we didn’t want to risk electrocution or take down the power lines for the entire neighborhood with a too hard tug to try and dislodge the feisty plant, we left it as is.

Then we moved onto the weeds. There were weeds that were nearly as tall as I am (that would be 5 foot 8 inches). Some were easy to simply pull out of the ground, others needed to be cut down with a knife and some really stubborn ones needed the weed wacker.

This was an incredible amount of hard work on a really HOT DAY which is exactly what we needed given our hot water situation.  It took us about 5 hours (who says Upstate isn’t fun?) but we did get it all done and while I did take a cold shower, I will admit that I washed my hair in the sink (less traumatic that way.)

Meanwhile a quick garden update. The tomatoes are bountiful this year, but the zucchini is just revealing blossoms no fruit.  But I’m excited we have our first ever acorn squash! I haven’t seen the evil bunny in a while, so I’m hoping he/she has left the property!


We arrived Wednesday night (8:30! No traffic!) to find our new hot water heater installed AND WORKING.  Look how pretty it looks!

Yes, the water is sufficiently hot although it does take a while to get up to the second floor from the basement. (I’m not complaining.)

In the morning, the first of many boxes of siding and insulation and wood appeared in our driveway – the start of a very difficult and large job.

So far so good. The siding is nearly a perfect match for the exact color red we wanted. After all, the Red House couldn’t suddenly become yellow or green or grey!

Stay tuned.

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