Monday, November 05, 2007

All Growed Up

Shelly and I drove to Spokane this weekend to see the nephews and the folks. Now that the boys are living there, I'll have to make the trip more often as the vital vitamin N blood level drops when I go too long without being tackled or told that I'm loved by a three year old with a lisp. This time, Christian couldn't go as he had to work absurdly long hours to prepare for some big work event, so we left early on Friday afternoon after picking up Mark to take him home before he had to return to work on Monday as he's not telecommuting right now. We listened to mostly Broadway musicals (Curtains and Avenue Q, which both give me hope that the American musical isn't dead) and then some really dirty comedy once the musicals were over.

As this time we left early and returned late (as I don't work on Mondays), we saw the boys repeatedly, visited my grandma, got fitted for bras, walked around the "old" part of town and met up with a former college professor with whom I've maintained contact. Now, when I was 20 and he started teaching, he was in his early thirties, so his first group of students weren't too far from his age, and many of us maintained friendships after college as he's still one of the most hilarious people I've ever known. Mom had sent me an article a while ago on how he purchased an old home in town and was renovating it. Consequently, we got in touch and made plans to meet up and see his house. However, what I didn't remember from the article was that he bought one of the original Kirtland Cutter mansions. We met up at the Music Building on campus to see all the changes in my former program and went to see the house. I wasn't prepared. As we were driving there, we discussed the absurd Seattle real estate prices and crappy square footage and I asked him how big his house was. He asked me about mine, and I told him that it was around 1,200. He replied that his was slightly larger. As soon as I saw the house, I could communicate only in expletives and choking sounds. I think my exact words were, "motherfuckingsonofabitchholyshitohmygodareyoufuckingkiddingme?"

At around 10,000 square feet, the Mission revival style house, built in 1907, was the house I had driven by perhaps a million times when I was a high-schooler and undergrad coming home from my friend's house around the corner and cried over with lust and longing. The house was in, what could most kindly be described as, a catastrophic state. The stucco was discolored and crumbling, the addition on the north side had been veneered using garden lattice and aluminum, and the outside was defaced with wires and tubing.

Since buying the home a year and a half ago in a transaction described my him as borderline insane, my friend had to wait for the current occupants, elderly individuals in need of round the clock care, to be moved to their new home before he could move in and begin any work. That took six months. It took another two months to reskim the stucco, and, while he was encouraged to demolish the addition added in the 60s, he went in the non-recommended opposite direction and rebuilt the infrastructure, recreated windows and doors to match the main house, added a porch on top surrounded by a retaining wall to perfectly match the porch below it, and converted the entire wing, which had formerly been the dormitory for the residents and was in ghastly and deeply disturbing shape, to a master suite with a closet larger than my living room. I cried when I saw that room. I also cried when he showed us the new living room/dining room/concert hall that had recently been completed. Two sets of pocket doors were recovered and refinished and replaced to lead from the foyer to this room, box beams were recreated to match the library across the hall, travertine floors were laid and a bathroom at the rear of this hall with its two filthy toilets was torn out and rebuilt to now contain an original claw-foot bathtub found in the prison-like basement bathroom.

As he walked us through the rest of the house and laid out the plans for work and Shelly and I sobbed a little at every bit of stone (hand carved to represent medieval-style woodland creatures) and woodwork and each piece of molding and leaded glass, I recalled a line from Pride and Prejudice, when Jane asked Lizzy when she first fell in love with Mr. Darcy. She replied that she could date it from first seeing his beautiful estate at Pemberly. When I asked him if he was dating anyone (because I have no boundaries and married people always want everyone else to be married), he replied no. I don't think that will be the case for long.


shellswick said...

It was, indeed, good times. And WOOT to Kevin.

KUrlie said...

Single and with a charming mansion? Me thinks I should meet this one sister.

snusnu said...

Don't think we weren't thinking of you. I'm trying to get him over here.