There were holes in the ceiling, but that wasn't nearly the worst of it. Cabinets were torn away, and much of the house was down to the studs. It needed all new electrical. New plumbing. New heater. New air conditioner. The former owner pulled down walls and roof beams, which exposed -- to the horror of all involved -- a sagging joist spanning 25 feet or more, help up at either end by two-by-eight boards, which might plausibly have dated to the Eisenhower administration.