Very, very slowly…that’s how Garrell Cotten is completely remodeling and restoring the early 1900s Elm Street home, where he and his family are trying to live amid hammers, saws, and saw dust. Believe me, if there is anyone who knows how hard that is, it is Rickey and Fredda Jones, who did much the same thing once upon a time.
“I really don’t get down about the time it’s taking…well, most of the time,” Garrell said in that soft voice those who know him understand. “It’s not like I am remodeling a room. I started from the ground up.”
And he does mean that literally, beginning with the things that most people will never really understand: leveling the house, adding new plumbing and wiring, and ripping off 5 layers of shingles before going back with a new roof. A tremendous part of the past nine months has gone into those things…the things people never really see…the things that cause people to constantly wonder, “What’s taking so long?”
“I guess that’s the only thing that ever gets to me. People come over to look, and I can see on their faces that they just don’t get it, don’t like it, and don’t understand it. Of course, they are all living in brand new homes, you understand,” the sly grin of the CHS student I once knew breaking through.
“I love this house, and I know what it can be. I want to do all of the work on it myself so that is just going to take a lot of time. The roof has been the biggest job so far.”
When the Cottens finally decided to take on the project, the agreement was that Garrell would do all of the work, and Susan would go behind him and clean up what he tore out.
“That hasn’t exactly worked out too well. Would you call Susan and tell her that she has to help me?” he asked me.
I wouldn’t touch that one for a million dollars!