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  • Chelom Leavitt

Chelom: Progress




Restoring the castle is a bit like being pregnant, especially if I was an African bush elephant that was going to be extraordinarily overdue. Elephant mommas are pregnant 22 months—this castle restoration will be 22 months for the 1st phase and likely that long again for the 2nd phase. I can only shake my head in serious empathy for elephant mommas. However, unlike momma elephants, human mommas get constant reminders about how large/ridiculous/uncomfortable they look by endless questions like, “Aren’t you going to deliver that baby?” or “You look ready to pop.”


Having been pregnant a few times, I know that pregnancy is long, tedious, has a few highs but a lot of really low, lows. This castle restoration is also going to be long, tedious, with a few highs and probably a lot of lows. Lots of people ask, “How’s the restoration going?” Much like pregnancy, it’s just small, tedious, sometimes imperceptible progress. At the end we’ll have a bouncing, beautiful baby castle, but right now we are having morning sickness and exhaustion.


Just like somedays in pregnancy today might be one of the lows. We’ve done little but pay for estimates—just the estimate. Because the castle is old and unknown, it takes certain kind of tradesman that is adventuresome and quite skilled. The sewer and plumbing are unacceptable, the electrical now runs along the outside of the wall in fabric covers wires, and the heating non-existent. The driveway to the castle is full of holes and with every rain turns to a muddy mess. The gates are rusted and broken. The roof, dog-gone-it, is still leaking a wee bit. The bid for the stained glass and leaded windows was more than twice as much as David and I paid for our first house.

Grr. We must acknowledge this is a just bad day not a bad project. Onward.

Lots of clean-up is still going on in the outbuildings. It appears the outbuildings that remained were used as a rubbish depository, but they are now cleaned out. The roof is nearly tight, but a few wee leaks keep popping up. No real progress on the Hobbit House, which is a bit discouraging because it is a small sized project and we hoped it would move a little quicker. But if I could show you my vision for it, the scene would warm your heart. Once it is done, we will need to sit and sip some Sleepytime Vanilla tea and chat about the need to add more bulbs to the garden.

The permissions for the changes and permits will be filed next week and that will be the first big step forward. I am praying that the paperwork and permitting process will be accepted with no delays. This is much like I always prayed I would deliver my babies a little early—but I almost never did. My doctor would tell me don’t set yourself up for disappointment. I don’t view it that way. I am an optimist and always will be. I have faced a lot of challenges in my life and my optimism is not dimmed and I believe this challenge will be no different.

Note: I just read David’s last post and he too talked about elephants. We must be married 😊

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