Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Mysterious Mr. M. ~

This morning Adam and I went to the hopefully-soon-to-be-ours house, to meet with a potential contractor. We were happy to see that Adam's latest tarp work was successful, and the tarp remained in tact and tight while we were gone for ten days. Phew! A dry attic is a good thing.
Speaking of attics, Adam and the contractor spent some time up there inspecting the roof and ceiling.
Speaking of ceilings, this is the worst of it:
The nasty, old green carpeting on the floors must go away!
While the menfolk nosed around inside, I walked outdoors. The gardenia bush is lovely. I wish you could smell it.
These spreading pecans give great shade. Julia was excited about that tire swing, but pecans are notorious for dropping limbs, so it will probably go away also.
There's some sort of archway under all that ivy. I rather like it.
Pretty as this bridge might be, it's a hazard. Adam says he'll rebuild it.
And there's an outbuilding that might come in handy. We picture a little farm store in there, me selling soap and lotions, Adam selling honey or bees or mushrooms or whatever.
Yes, I said mushrooms. Don't ask.
The house has a roomy deck on the back. I think we'll make good use of it. It faces northwest with lots of shade around it, so I think it'll be pleasant most of the day.
At one corner of the deck is this large fig tree.
It's loaded with figs right now. I picture myself sitting there, sipping tea of a morning, picking figs for my cereal.
The elderly gentleman who last lived here -- we'll call him Mr. M. -- was a Frenchman from Brittany. This lovely ship is above the front door.
There is much of France in the house, including a map, of course.
And a poster of the Eiffel Tower.

Today I discovered a half-drunk bottle of port in a bedroom. Adam found a half-franc.
He was fond of copper molds all around his kitchen. So even though he lived alone, a crotchety old bachelor perhaps, he did decorate.
And he had a dog.
But why did he have a large rock on his kitchen sink? Anybody know?
And why did he put in built-in bookcases in the bedroom that block this closet door?
The bathroom is a bit snug. You may sit and wash your hands simultaneously.
Why did the mysterious Mr. M. mount a paper towel dispenser behind his toilet? I know it made sense to him. He must've been a practical man, as well as a decorator.
And this little bag is full of screw hole covers. The label is sticky, so he stuck it to the cabinet door above his washing machine. Why?
I turned around on the porch and found another pouch of them, stuck to the wood between the windows. That really made me wonder about Mr. M.
And this is absolutely adorable!! He put big hair comb clips on his curtains to hold the sheers when he needed to draw them back. I just had to giggle! Can you see it, clipped on there?
I believe he was a feeling man, with strong loyalties. On his front porch railing are two flag holders.
And mounted to the rail at the bottom is a pole with a strong light on top, pointing to the flag location. You may only fly national flags in the dark if you shine a light on them. I think he must've had both a French and an American flag there, don't you?
The front door has a pretty glass, but he mounted a metal blind above. Ick. Must remove that at once.
The back storm door swings free, needing a closer.
Mr. M. had removed the old, broken closer.
And he'd bought the new closer. But Death caught him in mid-project, and it was never attached.
I left a note on it, telling whoever clears out the house's contents to leave it there.
Well, for those still reading, here's a shot of the house from the front door, looking back through the living room, dining room, and into the kitchen. The house is airish in a lovely way; when you open both front and back doors, the breeze just wafts through. I love it. I like an open house when temps will allow.
I was hoping this shot would show more. I'm standing in the corner of the living room. The doorway on the right is the front bedroom. The dining room is rather dark. The doorway you can see only a thin slice of (on the right edge of that opening) is the middle bedroom door. The dark doorway you can see through the opening is the bathroom door, and that leads to the back bedroom.
And now you have seen ALL the house. Yes, we are downsizing, and it feels good.
And even though the house is small, I will have about 11 kitchen drawers there, compared to the two I have now. Forgive me if I'm repeating myself from a previous post. I forget what I've already told you.
The appliances are old and tired, but they work. Folks kept saying, "Get new appliances! Just finance them!" That means put them into your loan that you're taking from the bank. Ha! Like I would EVER buy new appliances and then pay interest on the purchase for 30 years! I'm dumb, but I'm not that dumb.
I'm wondering if this dishwasher works. The water's not turned on to find out.
The refrigerator is, I think, the scariest place in the house. Mr. M. (sadly) has been dead about two years. That milk has been tipped over in there for two years. I think some rubber gloves and clorox will be in order!
They did tell us that we could put notes on various items in the house that would we like for them to leave, if they are willing. Otherwise I think the contents will just be hauled away to the dump or donated.
I couldn't bear to think of this lovely French cast iron casserole being ditched, so I left a note on it. I hope that's not presumptive.
I love the laundry room/back porch because (again) it's airy and bright. I'm going to turn this into the perfect laundry space for me.
So, Mr. M., thank you for your home (provided our purchase does go through). It's always strange to me, stepping into someone else's life who has passed ... like walking over their grave, but moreso. To find his drink half-drunk, his project half-done, to see the grime he left on his bath towel, the indention his head left on his pillow, his tools sitting where he's left them only for a moment. Forever. I hope we can give this house new life and fun.


  1. Oh man! I find these posts so interesting!! I feel like I'm looking forward to living there myself. Maybe because I'm in that season of my own life, wondering where I'll live after this. So many things I want to comment on.
    1. Your yard is like a fairy tale! The Garden of Eden! However, I wouldn't like the thought of a pecan branch landing on my head while I'm swinging. I think you're right to remove that, although I've always felt nostalgic about tree swings.
    2. The little shed. What a fun idea to sell your wares there! I think raising mushrooms would be very interesting.
    3. I'm loving Mr. M in all his quirkiness! I wonder what's in that sealed closet behind the bookshelf?
    4. I would just leave a note telling them to leave EVERYTHING. So many fascinating items!
    5. The clips on the curtains made me laugh out loud. Right this moment I have a clothespin (it's actually a chip bag clip) holding my curtain back so it doesn't cover the open window. Mr. M and I are two peas in a pod!
    6. I can understand the blinds over the front door window. I have a similar window that is kind of frosted around the edges with a clear space in the middle. If someone came knocking on my door in the middle of the night they could look in and see me, but I couldn't see them until I turned on the outside light. That creeps me out, so I've taped a piece of fabric over it for a curtain. I'm too DIY impaired to put in screws and a curtain rod or anything that sophisticated.
    7. I think the paper towel holder in the bathroom is because he got tired of washing towels! :)
    8. I love, love, love this little place. I so pray that your dreams come true and you can live there. You are very smart not to finance the appliances. I have a dishwasher I never use. Wish I could mail it to you. :)
    Thanks for sharing your adventure! Keep us posted!

  2. What an interesting project. It will keep you busy but repay all your hard work. Good luck with the purchase.

  3. Cool. You even have an orange Le Crueset cooking pot! Older houses are truly special; that outbuilding is WONDERFUL. We have 3 old tobacco barns on our property. They had cool stuff in them like a branding iron from when the first owners raised cattle. I enjoyed the tour. How long before y'all sign the papers?

  4. God bless Mr M. He had some idiosyncracies, didnt he! I do hope the house works out. Oh and what are storm doors? From what I saw in the Wizard of Oz, they don't seem to be v good at stopping storms!x

  5. I'm guessing that stone is from a Breton beach- we've still some lovely stones and shells from the south-west Breton coast. We're for Brittany in August- I'll grab you a matching one for the other side of the taps! Bon courage x

  6. I love what Mags says! A stone from the Breton coast! Awesome!
    I'm so happy for you! The house is perfect and the little "shop" would be one of my regular shopping stops!

  7. You are discovering some interesting things in that house. : ) It has great potential and what lovely grounds it is on. Lots of possibilities!!

  8. I for one, don't find anything peculiar about the stone on the sink, but then again, I'm a little if not a lot weird. DH and I enjoyed collecting rocks and shells, friends give me rocks & shells, and some of them are sitting on the sink. :-)

    I loved this post, so interesting, and if you get this place you'll have more tales to share about it.

    The little shed is great and I love what you are thinking of using it for.

    I would put sticky notes on everything you'd really like from there. Even things that look personal like the boat, copper molds etc. especially if you think most of it will end up in the landfill. Total waste of interesting bits of Mr. M's life.

    I hope you find out soon if this place is meant for you.

    Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

  9. I have a feeling that Mr. M will always be with you in that house. I think he will enjoy seeing you guys turn it back into the home he once loved. He will be a good spirit.

  10. How fun/fascinating/interesting. I see a story in the works . . . Keep the old appliances! They are better made than anything nowadays, just need a little elbow grease. We just had our 31 year old Maytag washer repaired, b/c everyone told us DoNot Get Rid of It!
    And I think those casseroles are well over $100 -- definitely keep that!
    The trees and the yard, and everything is great -- I do hope it works out for you.

  11. You made me laugh, M.K., about the screw hole covers - hee hee - I adore those big least, if you have to take down the pecan, you have a luscious fig tree. Which reminds me, I plan to plant one in my yard this fall.


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