A Series of Unfortunate Events

Hello readers! I’m excited to be able to write my first post for our little blog! Megan has put her updates on hold waiting for me to give a little background info on this whole project. So I’ll step up to the mic for a minute and tell you a little bit about how we got started on this adventure.

As we start diving into this project and begin to get a better sense of what we’ve gotten ourselves into, the question arises: “How exactly did we get involved in this?”

The truth is that we got involved through happenstance. We really only know one person here in North Andover (and she has since moved away -sad face emoji- ) . Through a series of coincidences and conversations she learned 3 salient facts in a fairly short period of time.

  1. That I, Rio, was a general handyman and woodworker and would be coming to join Megan in a few short weeks.
  2. That I, Rio, would not be employed when I arrived nor would I have any prospects for getting employed in the near future.
  3. That the North Andover Historical Society was looking for an unemployed handyman and woodworker to come live in their ghost house as a caretaker.

Being brighter than the average mammal, she put these facts together and swapped my contact info with that of the new Executive Director at the NAHS. Over the next few months, and after I relocated to MA, Brian the ED, and I, met a few times, interviewed, did a walkthrough of the house, and got to know each other, the house, and the upcoming project. There was a LOT that needed to be done…

One of many walls that needs attention

As it turned out, the previous caretaker, and those who came before him, were a good hand at the historical aspects of the house. They gave tours, dressed up in period costume, fired off muskets, and helped promote the National Historical Society and its events. What they did not do was repair the leaking windows, fix the cracking and falling plaster, or prevent the squirrels from making their home in the walls. So the new ED, decided to go in a different direction and got us, two newbs with 0 historical literacy and a below average interest in dressing in period clothing, but with a wealth of experience in repairing, replacing, fixing, tinkering, caulking, painting, building, tightening, scraping, mowing, cleaning and just generally maintaining.

Our little yellow house

So, now here we are. We move into the house in July, and we have until then to do as many of the large, disruptive, and necessary projects as we can. I’ll go into more detail about those in a future post. Between now and July, we are providing a combination of paid labor and volunteerism to get the house livable again. There is a lot to do but it’s fun to see the house start to transform. Once July rolls around, we will be living rent free in an historical house built over 300 years ago! In trade for living without the cost of rent, I will maintain the yard and gardens, plow snow, do routine maintenance, and keep the house in good working order. I’ll also consult with the NAHS regularly and recommend, oversee and perform larger tasks that need doing over the coming years. Anyone who knows me is probably thinking about what a perfect position this is for me and they would be 100% right. I love this kind of thing, and despite the fact that the projects needed to get this place livable are many and challenging, I’m already having a blast diving into them!

Getting started on our projects
A little caulk and a few old nails

So thanks to our friend Leslie for connecting the dots. And thank you to Brian for giving us a chance! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

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