The situation in Paul's Old House is getting dicey, precarious, desperate--it's hard for me to find the appropriate word here. The overall plan has been (and still is) that he fixes us the third floor so that he can live there. He has been (and still is) living on the first floor. A tenant is moving into the first floor on Monday. Yet, the third floor is not done, the first floor needs work, and nothing is packed. Let's break this down a bit.
The third floor: at this point, the biggest issue is the floors. Paul decided not to move anything in until the floors were done. So, he ripped out the old asbestos tile in the kitchen and sanded the hardwood underneath. He's also been sanding the hall, living room, dining room, and bedroom. This is harder than it should be because the building is old and the floors are uneven. There were also a couple of million tiny nails in the kitchen floor. The thought was that sanding would take a day or two and then there would be time to put on the three coats of finish. At this point, the sanding isn't done. So, the finish won't be dry in time for him to move the furniture up there.
I haven't mentioned that the electrical has to be redone as well. This creates a problem: running two or three sanders blows the circuits. At this point, there is no stove, sink, or refrigerator in the kitchen. These are all crowded onto the sunporch/study with other furniture and shelves. I'll skip the question of painting and the cabinets and, why not, the remaining holes in the walls (exposed lathe etc). And, I'll skip the matter of the scary buldges of chipped paint that suggest some leakage in the roof and ceiling.
Last week he was still considering whether to rip out the ceiling in the dining room to put in insulation. It's probably a good idea that he didn't do that. But there is still no ceiling in the kitchen--this is waiting for the electrical. And the lights. And the insulation.
The first floor: Paul's dad and stepmother came in to help for a couple of days. His dad got the first floor bathroom stripped and primed. It needs to be painted. His step mom got the first floor kitchen scraped. But it still needs to be sanded, washed, primed, and painted. And, of course, all Paul's dishes and kitchen wares need to be packed or moved out--but where to? Then there is the matter of a couple of thousand books, tons of files, and then furniture, clothes, art, sporting goods, rugs. And, cleaning the stove, cleaning out the refrigerator and generally getting the apartment ready for the tenant. Fortunately, she was interested in painting the large rooms of the apartment herself.
I suggested that my kids and I and maybe a couple of other people could start moving the books and files to Paul's office. (School starts a week from Monday; and, a week from Wednesday we have to go to Philadelphia for the American Political Science Association Annual meeting). But, Paul thinks that he might need some of the books and files and isn't sure about which ones. (He's not what one would call a snap decision maker. No, Paul thinks through things, proceeding cautiously and thoroughly.) So, he wasn't ready to think about this yet. This suggests to me that he won't find it helpful to have a bunch of people packing up his stuff and moving it to the basement, to his office, and across the street to my house. That's likely to be too confusing and scattershot. And, it also introduces a whole slew of ethical questions: how much help can one ask for from colleagues who are up for tenure or who are in temporary positions and are applying here for tenure track appointments? Obligations, indebtness, expectation, and anxiety start to complicate the picture.
The tenant is a single mom with a baby who starts work in a week or less. She's coming up from Pennsylvania and is likely to want to get moved in. I wonder if she will be concerned about pain fumes. Maybe not too much since she had planned on doing some painting herself.