Finding Value in Hurdles and Rotten Wood

Hurdles are many things, and can take shape in meaning an abundant amount of concepts; obstacles in life, jumps over aluminum frames on a track, or in the case of the Southern House, extreme rot and damage.  I’ll explain more. ..

The word “hurdle” is of German origin, and in Old English means “temporary fence” (source: Google).  When describing the apparent set back faced at the Southern House, hindrance seemed a very appropriate synonym.  Once the repairs were achieved, the words hindrance and set back transformed more suitably into temporary.

With the upstairs completely sound having replaced the tongue and groove wood in the floors, walls, and ceiling, movement to do the same on the first floor of the Southern House was a thrilling task.  Insert hurdle.  We knew there was termite damage, and scouring the entire house, we’d located, replaced, and repaired what we thought was all the structural damage by those pesky bugs.  The excitement once held for wall, floor, and ceiling repair was replaced by a sinking pit in the depth of our stomachs.  Discovery of a 16 foot structure bearing wall sill that had been all but hollowed out, leaving very minimal support for one of the walls in the front room. Of all the words to describe this set back, hurdle wasn’t my first choice.  But, Mike milled over it for several days, before taking some steps back and preparing to (hypothetically) take off running and leap.

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A trip to Lowe’s was the first step to get treated new wood.  The kind that bugs won’t want to eat!

Mike braced the floor and the wall before cutting away the section of rotten timber beam.


He elevated and supported the wall with braces while he nailed two 2×8 inch pieces together (making a 4×8 inch beam) to soundly replace the rotten section.


Next, he scabbed in the floor joists with 2×8’s to make up the difference, connecting the joists to the newly replaced sill; the original sill size that was eaten and rotted equaled an 8×8.



I am amazed at the ability Mike has to soar over the hurdles placed in his path, especially at the Southern House.  After absorbing the extra money, time, and emotional strain, a “temporary fence” produced an opportunity to find the value of a firm foundation that yielded a further peace of mind in the restoration of the Southern House.

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