I found out that the house demanded certain things of me. May Sarton
At this time of year I move into major reflecting mode. I think back on the entire year, add up what has happened and give a rating on what has been learned or accomplished. Simplicity won the award for most improved.
Some years the house, the abode, the place called home is the magnet of energy and wins the money pool. The dollars add up as each repair or replacement is made. What we have noticed is that the dollars spent on house maintenance also add to an improved quality of living. We feel better about not only our home, but ourselves. With each house improvement, it was as if we also updated, refreshed, and enhanced our personal lives.
This year, long lived irritations that made our minds growl and eyes itch were resolved. No longer were electrical cords stretched across the baseboards in the living and dining rooms. New outlets were installed in just the right places allowing the lamp cords to be out of sight, out of mind. What a visual balm. Plus, both porches received electrical connection this year. Not only did it allow for more efficient use of the power washer and shop vac, it invited soft lamp lighting on a summer’s eve. It also opened the opportunity for outside Christmas lights which we chose not to do, but could. The days of plugging the cord inside, stringing it through the window or propping open the door are over. Certainly this is good Feng Shui.
Little attention has been given to our two door detached garage. It has not been the priority. Coats of paint and some gutters have kept this old structure decent looking and functional. When the openers sprung from the doors (we were certainly lucky to not be in the garage when that happened), there was nothing to do but invest in new doors. The gods had spoken. The former doors were wooden, heavy, with glass windows and a bit shaky when they made their way to the ground. The new doors gave Simplicity a face lift. Her smile was even and bright. She was fresh, pleasant to view and there was ease and confidence in her structure as the doors effortlessly moved up and down. Now when we press the automatic door opener and those crisp white paneled doors open the way, we smile each and every time. Such an ordinary daily happening that brings a simple joy.
A carpet runner now travels up the back staircase. These twelve steps and two landings have beautiful wooden floors. Their warm brown good looks, however, rank second to safety where a possible slip could be a result of the fast moving feet of our grandchildren and guests. Walking up and down these stairs brings a keyboard of squeaks. Easy to hear just where a person was located on the staircase by the sound of its steps, I thought the carpeting and its padding would quiet these signature sounds. It has not. The steps are safe, comfortable to travel, and still make a person’s presence known.
An experience called mudjacking was suggested to course correct several of Simplicity’s cement slabs. Mudjacking was new to me. I loved the word and having the opportunity to say it. I was ready to see how this fun word worked. One ad explained mudjacking as a ‘Fast, Affordable Way to Raise Concrete’. That did not prove to be the case. Over time Simplicity’s supportive cement foundations decided to rest at a slight angle. This caused water to run in an undesired direction and a set of steps to have an unhealthy pitch. What was to be a routine job turned complicated and impossible. Two frustrated mudjackers attempted to make these stubborn slabs return to their original location. Some of the problem was solved. The steps now sit on an even base, however, a long day of one attempt after another could not raise the driveway slabs to their desired plane. Water now runs a different direction. More course correcting needed. In the meantime, Don invented a solution that has the water traveling just where it was intended. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ often needs to be applied with an old house.
As we entered the holiday season, the clothes washer gave up. The dryer that sat beside it was a matching mate to the former washing machine. The knob to turn it on and off had fallen off years ago. We devised an easy solution by using a trusty set of pliers. It worked like a charm. Economic wisdom said it was probably the opportune time to say good bye to the faithful dryer and bring in a new team that was well partnered not only in energy efficiency, but matched. After a three week ordering delay, the washer and dryer were finally delivered and now stand in our small laundry room on the second floor. Deciding not to go to the laundromat, but wait this out, the duo’s first day at work was abundant in loads of dirty clothes. The team performed well, looked great, and we were most thankful for clean underwear.
A broken window, a leaking outside faucet, a power washed exterior, and tons of de-cluttering from the attic to the basement were added to this year’s repairs and accomplishments. An old house needs constant attention. Keeping up with the dust bunnies alone is a challenge. Simplicity will never look new or feel spotless, and that is not our desire. We remain ever faithful as her guardians until we chose otherwise, which means taking on the next house challenge and its probable involved solution. As the New Year peeks around the corner, I see walls that beg for coats of paint, porches that have waited their turn for scraping and painting, and a water heater that might be less likely to offer up that hot shower. A sigh is heard in this old house. This time it isn’t Simplicity, but me.