Sunday, November 2, 2014

House Call


I spent the weekend almost exclusively at home this weekend. It was an introvert's dream in that respect. No social commitments to speak of, just a lot of time and a list a half-mile long of things I wanted to get done, both personally and around the house.

As I worked through my project list for the house, I was reminded of how much work home ownership truly is. I think in my case, that work is compounded by the fact that our house is 92 years old. Old houses take work to keep things running, flushing, flowing, heating, cooling and live able. I'm not discounting new homes, ANY home requires maintenance, it's just that older ones seem to need an extra dose of TLC. 

Portland House from rear.
There are many days lately that we've dreamed of moving on; finding that dream condo or small bungalow with newness to it and no need to upgrade anything (does such a place exist?). Unfortunately, we have this thing called college education for our kids that will insure that we don't do anything for another 7 years or so. 

My mother settled into a similar situation many years ago with our house on Portland Avenue in St. Paul. After a few years of transient moves from house to house, we finally landed the house she'd always dreamed of. We spent 16 years there, and it was an old house too. 

As homeowners then and now, we fought some of the same battles. blowing fuses, old plumbing and no central air. All of these are first world problems, but problems nonetheless. It was my mom's determination to make it work, pay the mortgage, patch when needed, utilize the family when fixing needed to be done that kept the household humming along. Most of us got our background in interior painting from her as well as how to pound a straight nail and screw a screw.

So I spent my weekend, raking, cleaning, changing the snowblower oil, winterizing the lawn mower, moving a clothes rack from one closet to another, putting away the rain barrel, walking the dog, doing dishes, straightening the basement (who keeps messing it up?), plunging the sink, filling the water softener tank, and a dozen other things. Things every homeowner does. It's exhausting and fulfilling at the same time. 

The problem is, the list never ends. I've got twenty two more things for next weekend. On the upside, I'm paying the mortgage, keeping the rain out - mostly - and no one's freezing to death. And considering probably seventy-five percent of the world would consider my house a palace, I think I'm quite content here.

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