Because of the incredible time it takes to physically receive the deed to the house (even though it's been paid in full) our actions in it are forced to be incognito. Without the deed, we're not legally allowed to even be on the property. The neighbors all seem grateful for our presence, but bureaucrats will be less excited. Should an inspector roll through the neighborhood, we need to maintain a certain level of discretion. Boards have been left up on the front and sides where visible from the street. And for now, our intervention has been timid. With colder months approaching though, our hands are being forced. We need to establish a livable space and start working out the vital systems necessary for survival in Buffalo's harsh winter.
Having cleaned up and reorganized the bulk of the house's contents (10 boxes of clothes, 3 boxes of shoes, 3 box springs, 2 mattresses, 2 large area rugs, and at least 5 boxes worth of miscellaneous dishes, tools, and other useful items), we can start to more carefully consider the future of this space. Setting up a base camp within the house will allow us to concentrate the immediately needed systems while freeing up the rest of the house for development. For purposes of security and traffic, we choose to begin this in the attic.
Working by candlelight, we thoroughly wash the floor and walls which have been sitting in dust for over a decade. The only mold-free box spring we have and a piece of carpet padding make up the two beds. Without an established heat source, the house isn't much warmer than outside. We have to rely on our own body heat to keep us warm, so we opt to create a sort of "tent" using the solar pool cover we recovered several weeks ago. At the peak of the attic is a long steel pole formerly used to hang clothes off of. By moving this and the attached chain to a lower position, it creates half of the necessary structure for the tent. Half of an iron bed frame, found tucked in the corner of the attic can then be hung from string at the other side, and we're able to drape the tarp over the two. The thousands of air pockets in this material will act as an insulating barrier to help keep our sleeping shelter warm, and its large size is easily able to create an enclosed space.