The Long and Winding Story of our Straight + Narrow Staircase, Part I

Week 4 is done and now into Week 5 we slide, still – more or less – on schedule. Or at least breathing.

  • We can’t get our plumber to motivate to finish ONE DAY OF WORK, although he does call frequently with compelling excuses. The most recent came with some reassurance, “don’t fret Em. I’ll get it done.” Solution pending.
  • We can’t find our general contractor to call for the final inspection. He’s been going through a rough time – according to our last interaction with him and mutual friends’ interactions with him. An MIA contractor will do us little to no good when calling for final inspections. Solution pending.
  • We are knee-deep in “vendor dating” right now. We’re trying to sift through “to go” paper products (for coffee, baked goods, etc)… baking goods (flour, sugars and the basics… as well as specialty items like coconut chips, cacao nibs)… produce (for the juicing!)… dairy (milk for lattes, eggs, baking dairy)… and nuts (oh so many nuts!). Is your head spinning? Ours are. Mine almost exploded 2 days ago. I never get headaches but, apparently, multiple days of vendor research are just the jump start I need to a searing headache. Lovely.
  • BIG NEWS: We are OFFICIALLY confirmed for a sailing date of April 4 for the goods we’re importing from China!!!! In fact, I’m telling all of you before I tell Fitzpatrick because I just got the confirmation e-mail. Yes, folks, that’s right. Next Tuesday 262 boxes of glassware are getting on a boat in China to start their luxury cruise to America. We’ll be waiting for our babies with open arms the week of May 8, ready to accept our new charges at the Boston Port and bring them back to Northampton. The last piece of this remarkable puzzle will slide into place with a 16-foot moving van and about 16 feet of Customs paperwork. And, like everything else, we’ll take it in stride. As it comes.
  • Tomorrow I’m taking the Servsafe managers’ test. This qualifies me to make things for you to eat at our cafe! And it comes with a thick course book of study material that I’ve been pouring over for the last couple of days. Cramming knowledge into my head about super important, completely relevant facts (<ahem>)… like the correct order of foods in a fridge (top to bottom):
    • Produce
    • Raw beef cuts
    • Ground beef
    • Poultry

(Of which we’ll have… oh yeah, just produce…).

Most refrigerated items must arrive at 41 degrees or less. But, eggs can arrive at an ambient air temp of 45 degrees. So can live shellfish. But, please note, when accepting live shellfish you must sincerely confirm they’re ALIVE. Otherwise, you are accepting dead live shellfish. And that’s a no no. One of the qualifying factors for live shellfish is that they be livin’ the dream just a tiny bit longer!

Also, never have I been so terrified of feces! Seriously. You guys, it’s everywhere and the bacteria it houses is out to get us! Nothing like a good read of health safety protocols to completely lose your appetite. Yikes!

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks! Every day is an incredible marathon. Some people wonder why it’s taking us so long in this final push. Other people get it in an instant. The perspective gap is wide, and I honestly change my position in it daily. I think it depends on if you’ve done something like this before… even from within it, I’m constantly astounded at HOW LONG every step takes… how convoluted it can get… and then, in an instant, the light changes and you’ve already moved on. Checking it all off on hyper-speed as we hungrily acquire more progress. <chomp chomp chomp>

Speaking of convoluted progress, I think little can sum up the vicious web of this renovation more than our staircase railing. It features in just about every chapter of this renovation – the highs and lows, the struggles and scams, the friendships and creative solutions, family, our dramatic shift to bright colors, new skills and tools, even some baking.

Let’s start at the beginning, knowing – thankfully – we’re already at the end.

I’m going to take you WAY back…

Now, enter —> solution. Associated Building Wreckers! A huge, awesome salvage yard in Springfield, MA that we stumbled upon our first year here. And I’ve been saving the pictures of it this whole time, just to wrap them into my story of the FINISHED railing. Woo hoo!

Meet Associated Building Wreckers:

And then, in one dusty container, just kind of casually leaning up against a pile of doors, near some broken glass…


Our Railing. ❤

Yep, there she is in all her glory. And just the right length too! It’s as if it’s meant to be. A little haggling later, she was ours… but how to get a 13ft SUPER AMAZINGLY HEAVY railing to Amber Lane?! … Oh and all the other stuff we bought…

Whew! Success, Phase 1. But, we’ve still barely scratched the surface of this saga.

Now – enter family to lend a helping hand. And attempt #1 at putting in the railing. Oh the naivete! I cringe at the memory.

And the moment it finally hits:

This thing ain’t gonna fit. What were you thinking buying a railing at a salvage yard, Em + Fitz?!


Railing in pseudo-place, pending solution…

And there she sat for over a year. Through our Cup Warming party … through our Sneak Peek party… through 3 different contractors… a change in vision… many changes in heart… as we battled with a railing that IS long enough but is sloped for a differently angled staircase – one that gently slopes up to a grand second floor hospital in Springfield, not a steep staircase to a carriage house in Northampton.

But, remember I said this story DOES have a happy ending? I’ll leave ya hanging until the next post. Hey, all you’ve got to do is wait a week, not a year.


One comment

  1. Pingback: Week 6 it is! + LAWS of our SNS Part II | eliza spelled backwards

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