Sunday, 23 November 2014

Too Many Things

2003, previous to buying
I fell in love with this house when I saw it. It's not the prettiest house on the street, it's old (built in 1925), and it had issues that had to be dealt with before we even moved in. For example, it didn't have a working furnace. But it had character and a lot of potential. Over the 11 years we've lived here we've had to overcome many obstacles in or to be comfortable here. We replaced the furnace in the first 30 days, painted and patched several rooms, ripped out the old shed in the yard and replaced it with something more durable and modern, ripped out bushes that were planted (or grew wild) with no purpose, replaced windows, replaced the ceiling in the kitchen after a chunk of it fell on me, replaced doors, built a back fence, built a patio, drywalled the laundry room and basement stairway, and much more. We did a lot to bring this house up to livable.

2007, new windows, shutters, gardens
But the joys of home ownership means that situations will arise from time to time that are unexpected and unwanted. A few years back the bottom fell out of our hot water tank flooding the basement. Before replacing the tank I had to replace the floor it sat on. There was actually a tree growing up from the underside of the tank!

We also had an infestation in the bedrooms at one point that saw us throwing out all the carpeting from the second floor and stairs. We had to install new flooring throughout. That also saw us investing a ton of money into professional cleaning. We had to invest in new mattresses and threw out a lot of clothes. Unfortunate circumstances that cost too much time and money. In hindsight we have great new floors, but ouch. 

There's still much to do here. I still haven't painted over the green living room, fixed the cracks in the exterior wall of the kitchen, which is four inch thick concrete.

Some day.

Backyard, 2003 prior to purchase
We've had some successes here but with every step forward there's a half step back. Now the kitchen roof is leaking, I may have to replace a ton of the insulation and tiles in the kitchen. Now it's the upstairs toilet. The intake pipe is leaking inside the floor and the only way to fix it is to carve a huge hole in the ceiling below it. Wife is not pleased. Luckily we have a bathroom downstairs, but I still have to fix the leak. Yesterday we punched a hole in the ceiling to see what we're dealing with, and the lathe is soaked. It's been leaking into the ceiling for years. It's obvious that there was a leak there before we bought the place, you can plainly see where a portion of the ceiling has been replaced. It's back. So today I have to get up there with a sawsall and open up the hole so I can access the pipes. That's the easy part, I have no idea how to fix plumbing!

2007, new patio and fencing (not complete yet) 
Some days I wish I rented again. So much easier and cheaper to call the landlord and have them fix the problems. That's if you have a landlord who will actually do it, all too often we hear horror stories of slum lords who refuse to fix anything. I think my wife feels I am one of those as well, I have a dozen unfinished repairs and projects around here. Some are just beyond my abilities. Some are just overwhelming. It's easy to turn away to something easier and forget about it. Until of course you're reminded about it. And I'll be the first to admit I get lazy with some things. I'm working on that.

There are things about such an old house you can't easily do much about. The floors on the first floor are crooked. If you put a ball down gently it will roll away. Furniture is shimmed up. That's just the result of the house settling for the past 90 years. It can be fixed but at a very high price tag. That's right up there with dream projects like restoring all the woodwork and finishing the modernization of the basement.

For the most part I'm happy with this place, but it erks me looking at the shape of some of it. I'll get there eventually. There will always be repairs and projects around here, but my to-do list isn't shrinking that quick.


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