Our 1st Old House Big Surprise!

Last Sunday Mom came over and we spent the day removing wallpaper in the dining and living rooms in preparation for painting next weekend. This is the dining room before we started:

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20131014-205544.jpg You can see that the paper was practically jumping off the walls! It was time for it to come off.

And the living room:

20131014-205650.jpg Luckily it only had a border to take down!

After just an hour or so the dining room already looked like this! We thought we were in for a treat!

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Little did we know, seven short (Ha!) hours later, we’d be just scraping off the last few pieces of paper. That’s when the surprise came. I scraped off a chunk of paper and found what appeared to be a square of duct tape. Peeling the tape away revealed a quarter sized hole in the wall about a foot from the ceiling. Of course, I’m practically on my tip-toes to reach that spot, so I call out to Tony that it looks like something is inside the hole.
“I can’t really tell what it is, but it looks like straw,” I tell him.
Tony steps up on the step ladder. “Well, it looks like you might be right?”
“Why would there be straw in the wall?” I ask.
“That’s a good question. I don’t know,” he responds.
After some debate and a little bit of pleading on mom and my part, we convinced Tony to investigate further. He enlarged the hole by cutting out an 8 inch square of drywall and confirmed that yes, it was in fact straw, but no, it did not look like the nest of a creature. This news brought a little comfort (I’m a little scarred by my BVI vermin experiences) but many questions. Why is there straw in our wall? Will this affect our insurance? Ahh?!?

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Tony, calm and collected as usual, heads straight for the computer to conduct some highly scientific google-based research and reports back. “It looks like straw is actually a really good insulator, especially in climates that have major temperature fluctuations.”
“Like Kansas,” I reply.
“Yes. As a matter of fact, it seems to be very common as an insulator in homes.”
“Really? Like someone would build a new house and would insulate it with straw?” I hope you can hear the disbelief in my voice at this point!
“Yeah. In fact, it’s kind of the ‘green’ thing to do right now.”
“Hold it. You’re telling me our 123 year old house has trendy insulation?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”

I’m sure this is the first of many surprises to come! I’m just glad this one isn’t as bad as I thought it might be. One can only hope we’ll continue to be so lucky!

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2 Responses to Our 1st Old House Big Surprise!

  1. Debbie says:

    I love it…trendy!

  2. Beth and Bob says:

    Oh my, I read your stories and feel like I am right there. You two have the most amazing stories, BVI or midwest Kansas, doesn’t matter! This may be a really ignorant (or girlie) question, but do you leave the straw??

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