Rhythms of City Life - Part 2

Rhythms of City Life - Part 2

Around 5pm yesterday, eight months to the day since we moved into this old city rowhome, the chorus of hammers, drills, saws, extension ladders, paint scrapers and brushes that has been the accompaniment to our days went silent. The last of the major work we’d set out to have done on this place was completed. There was no grand finale, other than a tired goodbye from the last of the workmen – painters – and the rumble of their utility van as they drove away.

The house now has a beautiful, freshly-painted exterior to accompany the new roof, replacement windows, new gutters and downspouts, new furnace and water heater, new electrical wiring and plumbing, new bathroom, and new kitchen. Oh, sure, there’s still more work to be done, both inside and out – stuff we can do ourselves. But these were the projects for which we had to hire pros – “virtuosos” in their fields.

The sounds of their voices and laughter, their singing, stories and jokes have been part of our lives. Even the instruments of their work created a sort of strange musical refrain – the staccato beat of hammers, the vibrato of drills, the soft swishing rhythms of sandpaper and brushes.

This morning, it feels strangely quiet here. But it’s also good to have a rest.

Some of the neighbors who knew Ruth said that in the last few years before she died, it weighed heavily on her that her “Mama’s house” needed so much work. Ruth was in her 80’s and certainly couldn’t manage the work herself. But, according to one neighbor, Ruth had planned to get the exterior painted this summer. It turns out that the painter we hired was the same one Ruth had planned to hire (Lance Curtis, from Curtis Painting – he’s terrific, BTW!). Lance told me Ruth had approached him to talk about it shortly before her death.

And now the painting, plus a lot of other work that needed to be done here, is completed. There’s a sense of harmony in this lovely old place now. I think Ruth would have been pleased. We certainly are.

Coda: I’m pretty sure this news will be music to the neighbors’ ears, too! They’ve suffered through a lot of the dust, disruption and noise along with us – and they’ve been tremendously supportive and VERY patient! We feel so blessed that, along with this beautiful old house, we have gotten such wonderful neighbors!

Posted by Melanie Tagged as: city life lancaster pa ruths story home renovation

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