After wrapping up Draft Zero of Fiddlehead, I took a little break from the computer. I needed one. So HAHAHA I have no word metrics to post because I have done no writing for TWO WHOLE DAYS and I won’t lie: it’s been a relief.
Did a bunch of other stuff, though. Yesterday alone (in addition to the usual early-morning dog jaunt) I spent 3+ hours outside weeding, pruning, and cleaning the garden and back yard vegetation; cleaned house; assembled and installed myself a fancypants Tempurpedic office chair because ow my back; re-hemmed a corner of the guest room bedspread because teething puppy, that’s why; made minor (yet time-consuming) alterations to two sweaters I’ve been waiting to wear as the weather cools off; and watched/cheered as husband removed the compost area (plus its accompanying “structure”) and brush pile from the corner of the yard.
The brush piles/compost “bin” outside in the yard have been a source of casual irritation pretty much since we moved in. Not that we have any problem with compost or brush, mind you, but (a). we sort of let the brush pile get out of hand as we gradually reclaimed the yard, and (b). the compost area was kind of a wreck. In addition to the predicted mulchy contents, it contained a rather hilarious assortment of inorganic items – like some kind of medieval trash pit overflowing from a couple of old wood pallets and chicken wire.
Anyway, now that’s fixed, and instead we have a big patch of naked dirt taking up about a quarter of our back yard. We’re still deciding what to do with the space. Greyson says “leave it” so he can continue to dig over there, merrily unimpeded – dredging up cutlery, broken toys, and the occasional old toothbrush for his personal chewing/digging/rolling around pleasure.
We probably will not “leave it.” Though if we are catastrophically lazy, we could just ignore it for a week and let the Kudzu have it. Hmm.
Moving right along.
Today I got a late start, but I ran a few errands: I went to the grocery store, swung by Greyson’s new groomers to get his registration set up, and then hit up the library – because I’ve been saying for ages that when I have the time, I’ll go look up the historic registry and see what it says about my house.
Over a couple of hours I sifted through five big files full of old newspaper clippings and photos (some from the 1880s), and learned quite a lot about the neighborhood in general, if not my house in particular.
As I was aware, my neighborhood was not originally part of the city of Chattanooga; but Chattanooga annexed it many decades ago … doing what could best and most frankly be described as a piss-poor job of keeping up with the records. Basically, unless your house was established by a Significant Historic Person, then good freaking luck figuring out what year it was built.*
According to the city, Rosebury Haunt went up “circa 1920,” though it’s widely agreed upon that the house is older.** Neighborhood lore, the inspector, and the owners-before-last set its construction a few years earlier than that – so I was thinking that one of these days I’d throw the place a 100-year birthday bash.
But it turns out that I probably missed it.
According to a historical and architectural survey done in the 80s (in conjunction with a National Historic Landmark effort) my house was built sometime after 1888, and sometime before 1905. I found a photo of the district that was allegedly taken in 1895 and it clearly shows an empty lot where we presently live, so I tentatively narrowed it down a little further … but beyond that, I’ll probably never know with any greater precision unless I get really, really lucky and stumble upon a pre-1920 photo that shows the place.
Ah, well. It was a fun little exercise.
And now I’m being lazy, just a little – because I’ve earned it, and I need to distance myself from the manuscript for a few days before going back to revise it. Maybe I’ll take a nap, or have a cookie or something. Maybe I’ll make myself a drink and sit on the porch swing.
Ooh, I like that last one…
* I told the librarian I was interested in learning who built the house and/or what its original layout was like. He recommended a time machine.
** That is, the formal paperwork we were given by the city/county for the sake of the loan/deed/etc.