The story about our renovation in today’s Times-Picayune is actually the seventh in a series Stephanie Bruno has been writing about us. I haven’t posted some of the previous articles here because they didn’t appear on the nola.com website for some strange reason. This one did, so I copied and pasted — only to realize the first few paragraphs are missing. Anyway, here it is in all its incomplete glory:

OUTSIDE HAS BLOOMS, INSIDE HAS ROOMS

Saturday, July 08, 2006
Stephanie Bruno

“At first I didn’t want to make the shower bigger, but the head carpenter, Mark Habel, convinced me it needed to be. He said, ‘Christy, Bart is 6-foot-4-inches. If we don’t make the shower bigger, he’ll bump his head every time he leans forward to reach for something.’ ” Paxson, who is under 5 feet, understood nonetheless.

There has even been rapid progress on the stair in the past few weeks.

“Remember when we had to take the stair out between the basement and the upstairs?” Paxson asked. “Well, it’s a good thing we did. Maybe the stair looked OK, but Mark showed us what was wrong with it. It was attached to the floor above by some little nails that were never meant to take that kind of stress, and it was way too steep.”

Paxson said the configuration of the space where it’s located made reconstruction tricky.

“There is a window in the outside wall that we had to avoid, and a door that we couldn’t obstruct,” she said. “I don’t know how he did it, but Mark just thought it through and got it done.”

Not a moment too soon, either, for Paxson’s cats.

“They just hated that big open space where the stair used to be,” she said. “Thatcher, Folds and Big Boy — the cat who appeared when Lucy disappeared — would sit upstairs looking down into the cavern for minutes on end.”

The couple’s beloved cat Lucy has not returned, but the outpouring of concern has been a comfort.

“We got an e-mail from someone who reads about us in Inside- Out, describing a black cat that had shown up at his place Uptown one day,” Paxson said. “It was so kind of him to think of Lucy. Whenever we feel sad about her, we just tell ourselves that she and Big Boy had some kind of weird ‘Freaky Friday’ thing and exchanged bodies.”

The situation with the stairway has been resolved, but the dilemma of the wood door lingers.

After striking out at home repair centers and a nonprofit recycler in their quest for a wood door to replace one in the basement, Paxson and Everson got an e-mail from a friend offering them a door she had found in a trash pile elsewhere in Mid-City.

“It wouldn’t work for the basement, but I thought maybe it would be a good door for the entry to our downstairs porch,” Everson said. “But Mark examined it and determined it as a no-go.”

Luckily, by the time Paxson returned the first door, her friend had found another door in yet another trash pile, and this one promised to be the right size.

“We’ll see if it works,” Paxson said. “I like the idea of re-using a door someone else has thrown away.”

. . . . . . .

Stephanie Bruno can be reached at housewatcher@hotmail.com.

I don’t suppose there’s any harm in revealing that the anonymous door donor was none other than Ms Bruno herself.

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