Monday, May 9, 2011

Vacation Homes: The Agony and the Ecstasy

If you've been with me for a while, you may recall that our family is blessed to have a small, rustic cabin on a lake in Maine. Emphasis on small and rustic, which means it will never grace the pages of a glossy "lake living" magazine. However, I am well aware that the phrase "on a lake in Maine" nullifies any mention of the showering-with-weird-insects characteristic we also enjoy. I suppose that's part of its charm.

Yet another trade-off is the way our cabin siphons funds that should be going into the girls' college savings accounts. Himself points out that, until this year, we've never done anything "major" to the place. A water heater here; a new circuit board there, et cetera. Emphasis on et cetera.

Until this year.

The front part of our cabin is quite old and was built on wood pilings as a foundation. The back part was added about 20 years ago and had a concrete slab foundation. Since the yard can be wet, we had to run a dehumidifier in the back part of the cabin to keep the floor (indoor/outdoor carpet) dry. Otherwise, if I kicked off a blanket during the night, it'd be damp by morning. Two years ago, we noticed that the floor was bowing, an indication that something was wrong with the wood pilings. Turned out to be rot. So this fall, we hired a contractor and put in a crawl space.

A couple of weekends ago, Himself and I made a whirlwind trip up there to check on the status of the work. Our contractor, who was stuck in Florida with car issues, couldn't meet us as we'd planned, which was a bummer. But we did meet with the mason to make plans about repositioning the chimney and wood stove. Here's what the place looks like now:

Looking from the sliding glass door in the family room to the kitchen. Note the sub-floor in the kitchen.

Looking into the girls' bedroom, which is crammed with stuff: the wood stove, the TV, books, and various furniture. 

The family room. Yes, that's the back of the fridge and our brass headboard, which needs a good polish.

Clearly, there's still lots to do. And we're due to arrive in eight weeks, with our packed-within-an-inch-of-its-life minivan, two children, and a corgi. It will be a nail-biter!


  1. Your title describes it all! With all the current mess, it still looks pretty charming to me... I'll take it, with insects and all, ha ha ha.

    Hope it is soon in a better shape and that you get to enjoy your time there with your family.

  2. Oh neat! Although I am sure it is a pain sometimes with the work that needs to be done, but neat! to have a rustic cabin to go to in the summer :)
    And I've never been to Maine :) The farthest east I have been is Ohio (lived there when I was younger).
    Hope your vacation is a good one :)

  3. Blossom, you must get yourself to Maine! I'd never been until I married Himself, who is a Mainer. I know I wouldn;t love it in the winter (being a Southern girl), but I ADORE a Maine summer! Autumn is nice, too. :-)

  4. Ellen, I love your story-telling style of writing! And it is a dream of mine to get to Acadia. My grandparents went there and loved it. How wonderful for you. Even if it is work :)


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