Home Needs Improvement

My husband and I believe ourselves to be hopeless idiots when it comes to anything handy, mechanical, or construction-related. I asked him if I could say this in my blog and he said it was OK, so it must be true. I would like to enter into evidence our early-80s ceiling fan hanging from (the squeamish may wish to avert their eyes at this point) a POPCORN CEILING.

We recently got some work done on our house (thanks to my brother-in-law and various other helpers who know what a hammer is for), but we had to be forced by life circumstances. Apparently, it takes a pregnant daughter needing stable accommodations to get us to buckle down and do any home improvement. Now we not only have a cute baby around the house, we also have an extra room plus a pantry area where the unused garage used to be. How’d that happen?

The rest of our abode, however, has not been so lucky. We’ve had this place 6 years, and other than replacing the worthless and laughable swamp cooler with a marriage-saving great big kickass air conditioning unit, doing a little light interior painting, and, oh yeah, hanging up some lovely bamboo blinds recently, the place is still in near-pristine unfixed-fixer-upper condition. Truth be told, the new “pantry area” isn’t even sheet-rocked yet.

Here’s part of our….rustic….back fence, through which we’re hoping the neighbors’ thuggy dogs don’t bust after one too many jeers from our tiny-yet-sassy little pooches:

…and here’s our bathroom (yep, we’re eccentric–we only have one little bathroom and we don’t care). I know you can’t hear the shower dripping, but you can see the safety bar still screwed into the wall next to the step-in shower left over from the extremely elderly previous owner.

Last, here’s a prime example of not finishing what we start. It speaks of small dreams dashed by the sheer, depressing enormity of it all.

Other people don’t seem to suffer from the same level of complete bewildered ineptitude that my beloved and I share.

A friend of ours–a mom who works full-time, I might add–has spent the last few weeks sprucing up an old house to move into, not to mention weeding through all her family’s existing stuff and preparing to move out of the old place. She’s having a moving sale this weekend.

Some family members have just finished not only moving into and redecorating an old classic bungalow, but also converting the basement into an awesome little bar/lounge area, also in their spare time outside of work and activities. This doesn’t even count the huge amount of time spent going through, distributing, and weeding out the belongings of the family matriarch who lived there for half a century.

Even my dear old dad, who recently hit what used to be called “retirement age,” has been out tearing up his rotting back deck with intentions of building himself a new one–that is, until his boat broke down, necessitating reallocation of funds. A man’s gotta fish. Especially a man who has like 50 years of building stuff under his belt.

See? It’s completely normal for people to engage in home improvement projects and actually complete them.

So, if we clueless homeowners have access to skilled labor in the aforementioned handy and helpful brother-in-law, you might ask, why don’t we just get him to do help us do some more of this stuff? Good question. I guess plain old laziness could explain it–and I’m sure that’s probably the widely-held opinion outside our little nucleus–but I don’t believe that’s the root of the problem.

I think we’re just overwhelmed.

Everybody tells you when you become a homeowner that the shit’s going to hit the fan and you’re going to have to shell out for all kinds of replacements and fixes on a constant basis, and yet they still push and push the idea of home ownership, so that you think, oh, we can do it, and you take the plunge, and then there you are in your house, and you want, say, some nice new windows to replace the crappy old original ones. The problem is, not only are you completely clueless and intimidated by the idea and cost of installing new windows, but you also think, why the hell bother replacing the windows when the carpet looks like it’s spent a decade in a frat house? And why dream about fixing the carpet when it’s going to be new roof time before we know it? Oh, yeah, and property taxes are due….and so you get completely overwhelmed and end up just drinking beer with friends–anywhere but at your house.

Well, listen, lack of know-how, lack of cash, lack of determination…all of you can kiss my homeowning ass, and kiss my husband’s too while you’re at it, because I’ve got a plan to beat all of you. I proclaim that this summer we shall have new flooring. Tax man, bills, practical repairs be damned. I don’t care who puts it in. Nice, sleek, indestructible floor coverings accented with lovely area rugs will start the snowball effect that leads to our house being somewhere we can be proud to get drunk with our friends.

Because if you can’t have fun at your house, then you might as well buy an old trailer and become RV nomads….which is a subject for another time.

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4 thoughts on “Home Needs Improvement

  1. Ohh , I loved reading this. Yep, I can relate TOTALLY. Usually we did one thing a year. First year, new carpet. Next year a good wood-burner. A baby had come along and had to be kept warm. Two or three years later, a fence to keep that kid, and the two sibling born more recently, in. Friggin ugly, can’t-live-another-minute-with-it wallpaper finally stripped off, which required the hiring of a steaming machine and being CHISELED off in 1 centimeter pieces was finally carried out later, and then, ahhhhh, lovely new drapes, home-sewn (brag, brag) put up. A big new deck was built at some stage. Finally looked half decent after living in it for 15 years, and then we sold it!!!! We built a new one that didn’t need things done to it, except the grass and gardens. But I have to say, it was so satisfying to create our own little place through blood, sweat and tears and pennies saved bit by bit. Good luck and have fun!!! xxx

    • You’re so right, Genevieve! We got a late start with home ownership, so it’s discouraging to feel so far behind sometimes, but every time we do accomplish something around here it’s really satisfying. Oh, and I am soooo thankful we haven’t had to contend with any wallpaper!

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