This Old House: Three Years ago Today

Three Years ago today, Nature Boy and I were escaping the gray and dreary Upstate New York winter…


We moved to Cooperstown from Northern California, and after five months of gloomy weather we were going through serious sun-shine deprivation.

It wasn’t pretty.

You know what they say Seasonal Affective Disorder? It’s all true and I was a good case study. You need sunshine to be a happy camper. And in case you didn’t know it, there isn’t a lot of sunshine in Upstate New York between November and April.

Mud? Yes. Snow? Yes. Sunshine? No.

So we escaped. We fled back to Chico where there are palm trees, and friends, and Chipotle.

Which is why it was three years ago today that we were lounging at the side of a pool when my cell phone rang. My older sister was calling with some news that was going to turn our lives inside out.

Our ugly duckling farmhouse, with horrible pink paint, mind numbingly ugly bathroom fixtures, and a God-forsaken heating system, had one more surprise for us… really bad plumbing.

Three thousand miles to the east the pipes in our farmhouse kitchen had burst. And for two days gallon after gallon after gallon of water had been pouring into the first floor of our house.

Kinda put a damper on our vacation.

We came home to this…


Some of this…

A bit of this…

And a whole lot of this…

I wish I could say that I handled it joyfully, with grace, determination and faith….

But then I couldn’t tell you that I had a little breakdown and started crying in the paint aisle of Home Depot. (It wasn’t pretty. I think I scarred several burly working men for life.)

I couldn’t tell you about the dust and the discouragement and the four week stretch that I fed Nature Boy frozen pizza for dinner. every. single. night.

And I couldn’t tell you about how I strategically packed my entire wardrobe behind the mattress, kitchen sink, and refrigerator, requiring me to climb over all three of them in order to get dressed each morning.

Truly my finest hour.

But what I can tell you is that we survived it.

We worked hard and stayed up late. We painted and sanded and painted and scraped and painted a little bit more for weeks on end. We bonded over wooden floors, window panes and our new (old) kitchen sink.

And somewhere along the way we fell in love with our ugly duckling farmhouse.

And today, three years later, she’s turned into a swan.

Good, True & Beautiful

And what about you? What brought you JOY this week? What put a smile on your face, or a leap in your step? Willing to tell us about it?

If you have a blog, add a link to the “MckLinky” application below… (please be sure to link to the post, not to your home page) AND add a link or a button connecting back here – that way everyone has a chance to benefit from each others posts (and I appreciate it!)

If you don’t have a blog, please share your thoughts in the comment section below… it’s wonderful to read them!!

And of course, everybody should click on some of the links listed below, and be sure to leave a comment so they know you stopped by for a visit. Joy is infectious you know!

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    • says

      let me assure you, I cried more than my fair share!! Looking back it seems surreal, but in the middle of it… really lousy

  1. Nancy says

    Our weather forecast put a smile on my face this week – six days in a row with temps in the mid-sixties. It was actually 72 and sunny today:) Spring is here!!!

    Great job on the house…it looks beautiful.

    • says

      I KNOW! It’s freakishly spring like here too… I can’t believe it! And I don’t want to jinx it by hoping for more!

  2. says

    Oh gosh, we didn’t have water damage but your wonderful post reminded me of our kitchen remodel where drywall dust and pizza was on the menu for months! Your home is beautiful so I guess everything happens for a reason, even it it does cost lots of money and causes even more headaches! Great post!

    Kat :)
    .-= Kat´s last blog ..Soup, Sand, and Some Facts =-.

    • says

      you are totally right! It all worked out for good in the end. A reminder of God’s great faithfulness to us! (and what is it about kitchen remodels… they are the worst!)

  3. says

    Reading your post reminded me of the time my electricity got turned off the day I left on a 3 week vacation (it’s a LONG story I might blog about some day, but not right now) … the smelly mess I came home to in my brand new refrigerator and 2 year old freezer in the garage … the hassles to get rid of the lingering odor in both … and the months of follow up with the electric company who finally paid to replace all the spoiled food. Methinks I would have shed tears too. Your home IS beautiful 😉
    Hugs and blessings,
    .-= Small Reflections´s last blog ..Beauty … Joy … Sunrise … Reflections … Quotes =-.

    • says

      OH NO! That must have been horrendous! I’m thankful we didn’t have that problem to deal with! Fortunately our insurance company (USAA — the BEST!) was an absolute dream to work with. I don’t know of a better company!

    • says

      Thanks Debi! it’s fun to go back and remember how far we’ve come. Almost like looking at pictures of the kids when they were babies!

      (I’ve really enjoyed reading about your family — they are beautiful and wonderful and inspiring!)

  4. says

    I will have to scan in and share some of our renovating pics – they are just as drastic as yours. We had to move our then family of five out of the house for 4.5 months!
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..365-69 =-.

    • says

      NO WAY!? Oh gosh, I can’t even imagine how you could do that with kids… actually we think that was one reason that God had us wait so long to get pregnant with the Little Man… I don’t know how we would have pulled it off with him around!

  5. says

    Wow! This reminds me of what we are going through right now. My husband and I decided to gut our kitchen and bathroom during the winter months. It’s been 9 weeks since we started and I am still crawling around the table saw and other equipment just trying to get to my dining room table. Our house was built in 1901 and we are slowly trying to restore it to it’s original beauty.
    Thanks for giving me hope that we can finish and have beautiful results!

    • says

      You’re right… frozen pizza is such a rarity in our house, that he thought it was a treat (for about a week). But trust me, by the end of the month, you never want to see another Mystic Pizza box again!!

    • says

      thanks Jeanine… I’m not sure I would sign up to do it again, but now, looking back on it… nope. Still pretty awful!

  6. says

    Wow, that must have been crazy difficult to go through! But now you live in an adorable farmhouse! I mean, a farmhouse! That’s just beyond cute. And my most recent posts are all about GPSs and towing and the gnashing of teeth, but I’ll link up an old post about joy.
    .-= Megan (Best of Fates)´s last blog ..Frugality’s Revenge, Part 1 =-.

  7. says

    Sharon, What a great story! I could just imagine the discouragement you must have felt. After years of wanting to move to another state where there are four seasons, we have decided we will be staying put here in California due to the stories and photos we read and see from our family members and bloggers. I have to say though when I first went to your blog your beautiful home was what attracted me and then there’s your humor! Oh, and not to mention you have a cute little man about Peter’s age… :)
    Thank you for sharing your duckling story. I almost cried myself reading it as I could totally related to what you were feeling.
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..Another Step Reached =-.

    • says

      thanks Jenny! It sure was a big adjustment leaving warm and sunny CA to get back to the NorthEast, so I can understand your sentiments and hesitations! It’s lovely here, but the first few years were a doozy! Of course, if you change your mind, I would be delighted to have you guys as a neighbor!!

  8. says

    Swan indeed!

    I’m sure the Home Depot workers have training in how to deal with distraught women! I think we’ve all been there at some point, but maybe just not to that extent.

    Your hard work (and tears) has definitely paid off! Your home is so welcoming and warm, just like you.

    You probably won’t ever move, right?
    .-= Jamie´s last blog ..Letters To My Children No. 5 – The Small Stuff =-.

  9. says

    I LOVE before and after pictures! THANKS for sharing. Ohhh you decorate just like I do. It looks gorgeous now…one would never even know it was once an ugly duckling, if you didn’t have the pics for proof.

  10. Nicole says

    The smile came tonight on the drive home at 5:48 pm…work was the pits, inter-office drama blah-blah-blah, I picked up my kiddo & we went for a 2 mile scooter/walk in a local neighborhood. The promising spring air, the new sun (because in Maine we don’t get a lot of sun Nov – April either), and my kiddo singing loudly from the back seat ‘A HUNTING WE WILL GO! A HUNTING WE WILL GO!’ finally chased those last final grumbles of the day away.

    Your home is beautiful! You survived it & won! woohoo!