It’s been a painfully long time since I’ve had any good Fish Hooks news to share.
For nearly two years, Tom and I were unable to find someone who could repair the significant damage wreaked on our little house by the ferry by Hurricane Dorian. And for much of that time, Covid-19 travel restrictions had us locked down Stateside and unable to get to Abaco.
But recently, Tom and I received our Covid-19 vaccines and were finally cleared for travel. Coincidentally, around the same time, we secured a contractor — Green Turtle Cay’s Mickey Sawyer — to repair and restore Fish Hooks!
As soon as I could, I flew to Abaco to meet with Mickey to review the long list of necessary repairs. These included restoring and reinforcing the western wall, replacing the battered wooden sidings, fixing and re-shingling the roof, replacing the warped flooring as well as rotting/damaged shutters and doors, repairing the plumbing and electrical systems and more.
But Mickey and his team – which includes his brother-in-law Michael Roberts and Michael’s son, Nathan – were up to the challenge.
First on the agenda were the structural repairs – namely, restoring and reinforcing the western wall and securing the kitchen ceiling/attic floor, which sagged precariously.
Scary as the damage was, Mickey, Michael and Nathan had all pieces back in place before the end of day one!
They then turned their attention to replacing Fish Hooks’ siding – a task that would prove far more complicated.
Early the next morning, I got a call from Mickey. “You coming into town any time soon?” he asked.
“Why?” I asked. “What’s up?”
“Just come by the house when you can.”
Oh dear. That did not sound good.
Half an hour later, I pulled up at Fish Hooks. Mickey and his crew had removed much of the exterior siding on the western wall.
Thankfully, there was no mold, which had been one of our biggest fears. And amazingly, despite being more than a century old, some of the boards looked brand new.
But, as Mickey showed me, other pieces of lumber – including window and door sills and some of the support beams – were badly damaged by water, termites or both. Though we hadn’t factored in or budgeted for replacing this wood, the work had to be done.
Deciding to replaced visibly damaged wood was easy. But we had some difficult decisions to make as well.
I’ve written before about the many structural irregularities of Fish Hooks. Tom and I have always considered the house’s many quirks to be part of its charm. Now that the walls were open, though, we had to decide which, if any, of these imperfections to correct. After all, we’re not planning to open up these walls again any time soon!
Ultimately, we opted to repair or replace anything that could potentially threaten the structural integrity or lifespan of the house. (And we took advantage of the open walls to run the plumbing through them…)
Not to worry, though. We’ve left more than enough mismatched planks, crooked lines and trapezoidal doorways to maintain Fish Hooks’ perfectly imperfect charm.