When I told Reed about the back wall of the house and how I was giving up on it for the year, he sighed and said, "Wow...I had a bad day at work, but not that bad." I guess my frustration with the whole thing came through loud and clear. He wisely waited until after I'd had a couple beers with my bestie and my son and daughter-in-law before he dared to ask, "So what are you gonna do now?"
I explained to Reed (and now to y'all) that I had a feeling that the existing back door might not be in the same location it was when the back porch was originally closed in, because the back walkway goes straight up to the wall, and the existing back door is about three feet to the right of that walkway. But I naively hoped that the previous back door opening, if it existed, would've been patched in neatly like the kitchen window was. No such luck. And I think I know now what that piece of wood to the left of the existing back door is. I think when they moved the back door they cut into the wall and then said, "Oops!" Realizing they made the cut too low, they just moved the door opening over a couple of inches, cut again, and filled in the gap with a piece of broken lumber. That's my theory anyway. But finding all that kinda took the wind out of my sails. More than that, I'm fed up with the whole shingle-pulling thing at the moment.
So here's what I'm gonna do: I am abandoning the back wall of the house until Spring. Yesterday I filled in all the cracks and nail holes I'd exposed, tossed all those shingles and strips of tar paper into a trash bag, and put my hammer, my scraper and my caulk gun away for the year. Come Spring, I will take the rest of the shingles off that wall. Hopefully, after a four- or five-month hiatus from this particular project, I will take in stride whatever other misfortune I might uncover. Then, I'll take Karen Anne's advice and carefully pry off the clapboards that are patching the old door opening, line them up with the edges of the other clapboards, and nail them back in. Some of them are only a teeny bit too short, and I'll use some Wood Bond to fill in those gaps. I still have a few pieces of the 1870s siding that WTB salvaged a few years ago, and I'll use that to replace any clapboards I break or that are way too short for the opening. If I uncover some other awful thing under the shingles that requires more clapboards than what I have, I'll go salvage some more from the falling-down house out in the country. I have all winter to figure out who owns it and convince them to let me salvage the siding. I know I could do all of that now, but I just don't want to. I have developed a strong loathing for the back wall of the house and I just can't deal with it anymore.
So after I wound down from that long-winded explanation, Reed grinned and said, "I already guessed that...I meant, what's your next project on the house?" Oh. Whoops. I thought for a moment and said, "I am gonna finish taking that stupid painted-over wallpaper off the entryway and the front parlor walls. I think. Or maybe I'm gonna put up the new wallpaper in the dining room. Or both." You heard it here first. The Kelly House projects have moved indoors for the winter.