It all started with a hump in the floor.

Well, we’ve started another major renovation at our house. This time it’s the kitchen. It was just about a year ago that we did the bathroom. The contractor says it will take about a month and we are half way into it. Things are going well so far and we are excited to see progress.

We cleared out the kitchen for them to get started. Now the fridge and stove are sitting in the dining room. At least we are able to fix some simple things to eat while the rebuild continues.

It all started with a hump in the floor. Gosh, that’s a great line. Now I have to go back and make that the title of this post. So don’t be surprised when you read it again. From there we gutted the whole thing and started all over again. The hump turned out to be the original brick foundation from 1930, which was still doing its job of holding up the house. Only now it was holding it up in the wrong spot. Apparently, the house had been added onto. Since then, the rest of the floor had settled about an inch and a half, according to the contractor.

When the floor came out, joists and all, we looked at the ductwork all piled up in a heap three feet below where the floor had been. Luckily when this all started, the weather was nice and mild. We kept the windows open and nice breezes kept us very comfortable and sometimes it even got chilly. That was last week. On Friday we went out to grab a bite to eat and take the clothes to the laundry mat, something neither of us had done since we were kids. When we got home and opened the door, the heat nearly knocked us down. It was 89 degrees in the house! It was only 70 outside. I balanced my way to the thermostat to turn off the heat, wondering how in the world it got turned on. I looked at it and it was blank. It was in the off position. But, it was blowing out hot air as hard as it could. We turned off the breaker and opened every window and door, turned all the fans on high and stripped down the bare minimum.

In between the ladder and the ductwork is where the original brick foundation was. They removed that, encapsulated the space and today the sub-floor went down. The doorway to the laundry room was removed and a short wall will now separate the fridge from the washer and dryer.

Tomorrow we have a heating guy coming to see what’s wrong with it. Since Friday it’s been in the upper 80’s in the house just from the heat of the day. No more 70-degree weather it seems. Neither of us remembers how we stood it as kids. We didn’t grow up with air conditioning. I know we didn’t even have a window unit until I was at least in high school. I think we always stayed out way past dark playing.

We had a pop-up camper in the back yard that we would sleep in some nights in the summer. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I guess we slept out there when it was just unbearable in the house. Dad sold it at some point and I remember mom always being mad about that. I don’t think they finished paying him for it and she never let him live that one down. We also slept on the front porch sometimes. We would get our sleeping bags and lay them out on the cool concrete. Some nights we would tie a blanket or sheet to the railings to cover us from the dew. Bootsy, our collie that we grew up with, would sleep at the top of the porch steps and keep guard over us. Nothing and nobody was getting past her. When we were teenagers we had a big tent that we used in the back yard. We pulled an extension cord through the bedroom window out to it and set it up like our bedroom with a lamp and radio, and we stayed out there as long as we could.

This was not our pop-up, but the kind that we had. We camped a lot when we were kids, and not just in the back yard.

We also used our pop-up and tents to actually go camping. We had the George Washington National Forrest, Camp Roosevelt, Fort Valley and other places to camp in. One camping trip I am fortunate enough not to remember, but I was told about many times. When I was just about 2 or 3 years old, we were camping with mom’s brother and his family. Mom had gone into the camper to make herself a cup of coffee and I followed. She turned around for one second and that was all it took for me to reach up and pull that cup down off the short counter in that camper and all over myself. Her first instinct was to get the burn out with cold water. We were camping by the river, so she grabbed me and got me in the ice-cold mountain stream as quickly as she could. She said that when she grabbed me, her thumb went through the skin on my shoulder. My aunt and uncle prayed for me and told my mom I was going to be ok. Mom said that she was glad they prayed, but they were still taking me to the hospital. I spent 72 hours packed in ice with 3rd degree burns down the right side of my body. Like I said, I don’t remember any of it. I am also fortunate that I don’t have a single mark, scar or blemish from it. Not even where mom’s thumb went through my skin. The doctors told them that getting me in the cold mountain water so quickly probably even saved my life.

When we would visit granddaddy and grandmaw Edge, they always had air conditioning. If the parsonage didn’t have it, they had a window unit. We would visit them most summers for our vacation and I loved standing in front of that air conditioner, breathing in that ice cold air, just as it came out of the vent. It would almost take your breath away. It was wonderful. It smelled like what cold should smell like to me.

I’ve never been one to complain about the cold. You will not hear me go on about it in the winter. But, in the summer, I never stop complaining. I always say I keep better in the cold – I spoil in the heat!

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The Appalachian Tale

Memories, recipes, and Tales of an Appalachian Boy.

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