FCFI

June 13, 2021

Kevin Cernek

We’re remodeling a  house. By remodeling, I mean getting it ready to move into. Last week the story was about changing the pump in the well and successfully getting life-giving water to the house. The house has sat empty for a few years. Exactly how many years, no one seems to know, although I know someone knows. This week, the story continues. 

You may or may not be aware of the fact that the housing market is somewhat crazy right now. If you have a house to sell, I suggest you list it as soon as possible. If you are looking for a house and you find one you like either to buy or rent, you better jump on it. By a miracle of God, after a relentless and vigorous search, our son and daughter-in-law found one. They pursued it with aggression and landed a deal. Now the work begins.

The old carpet had to go. I’ve learned a few things over the years when it comes to taking out old carpet. For one thing, a good utility knife is essential.  Instead of continuously buying the cheapest utility knife I could find at the store, a while back I broke down and purchased a fancy one. It’s been a good investment. Rather than tear up a whole room of carpet at once, I cut it into about 6 feet square pieces before I start ripping it out. Six square feet of carpet is a lot easier to roll, lift, and carry out to the dumpster than, let’s say, 225 square feet.The whole house had carpet – including the kitchen and both bathrooms. If you can remember back to when carpet was the thing in kitchens and bathrooms, that should give you some idea on how old this carpet was. 

After the carpet was gone, the nails, staples, and carpet tack had to come up. All three of those jobs are tedious, to say the least. But we went at it with a passion. By we, I mean, for the most part, it was my lovely wife and myself. We had some help every now and then, but 90% of the work fell on us – by our choice. We like this kind of work because of the transformation it creates, but also, our son is working at his new veterinarian job in Stockton and the surrounding community. And, our daughter-in-law is taking care of our beautiful new granddaughter, who is exactly five months old today. (We are doing this for her). Priorities.

The carpet is out and the floor is ready. The next job is wallpaper.  Every room had wallpaper – no exceptions. Most rooms had two layers on the walls and ceilings. Who wallpapers ceilings? Some of it came down in big sheets. 99% of it had to be peeled and scraped off the wall inch by inch. My advice on wallpaper is just say no. Don’t do it. There are plenty of other options out there that will make the next generation of remodelers much happier than your wallpaper choice. 

After a couple of tedious days with a spray bottle and utility knife, we got our hands on a steamer. That helped a lot, but it didn’t change the course of the project – inch by inch it had to be peeled and scraped off. We talked about leaving the last room and they could just use that room for storage. That sounded good until the last day when we decided to just finish it with the rest of the house. Why leave one room that you’ll have to come back to later? 

The wallpaper is down, the carpet is out, and the house needs a thorough cleaning. All this time, we’ve been working in 90 degree heat. We were advised not to run the air conditioning because all that would do is circulate dust and particles throughout the house. Speaking of dust, we had to wear respirator masks this whole time to protect our lungs from foreign particles. Since the virus, I’ve despised masks. Common sense and logic tell me a little cloth mask over your face is not going to stop germs and viruses from spreading. The directions on the respirators say that they are good for blocking smells – and that’s about it –  but do not use them for mold and other airborne substances. If a respirator isn’t going to stop those things, how can a simple mask? Anyway, the respirators worked. No coughing up or blowing out any black gunk. It was 90 degrees downstairs, even hotter upstairs, with respirators attached tightly to our faces, leaving big indents on our cheeks, we got the job done.

Now the walls are ready for spackle and paint. But first, everything has to be cleaned from floor to ceiling, inside and out. We hired out for that project. The cleaning crew came and vacuumed and scrubbed from top to bottom, upstairs and down. Every room in the house now sparkles. I met them there in the morning, and came back in the evening and locked up when they were done. That was nice. The house smelled fresh and clean, totally sanitized and dust free. We don’t have to wear masks anymore.

Today the painting begins. I can’t wait to see the results when this project is completed.  After the paint, it will be time to put down the new flooring – some carpet, some hard surface. Then there will be a house blessing and a big cookout. In the meantime, until the job is finished, in our “spare” time, my wife and I continue with the 11:00 p.m. dinners and midnight bedtimes. We’re here to help and we do what we can. My hat is off to those who do this for a living – making our world more beautiful one home at a time. You’re appreciated. 

2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away and behold, all things have become new.” Have a great week everyone!

(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).