02 November, 2014

On Home Improvement and Growing Older

There is nothing more perverse than performing five years of accumulated home improvements on a house you no longer live in. Well, actually there is, I'm sure, but right now my aching body disagrees. The Beautiful Editrix and I bought the place five years or so ago, while I was still slugging my way through the Slough of Despond college, and because I chose well and she expected great things of me, I managed to find a job immediately after my escape graduation. Unfortunately, this meant a move to a town three hours away, which also meant we had to sell the house. Not to worry, thought I, it's in a college town and we're not all that rough on our domiciles. Oh, the delusions of youth.

The reality is that aside from putting up a fence in the back yard, my home maintenance schedule consisted largely of remembering to mow the lawn whenever BE bugged me about it and replacing light bulbs whenever the all-too-frequent power surges blew them out (in my defense, I was a) broke and b) involved in what was by far the most difficult thing I'd ever attempted solo. Seriously, war seemed easier because I always had my fellow milites to back me up! Well, that and my job consisted of building shit in lousy climates which, while taxing, was hardly door kicking. But I digress). This being so, the addition a few years in of the Littlest Militant and our small pack of hounds (hence the fence) had all contributed to push the condition of the walls and carpet into a state that, while not quite slum worthy, would certainly require some significant effort if we were ever to sell the place for more than pocket change.

Anyhow, the list of things to do didn't seem like much when we initially drew them up. The painting was mostly done after the first heavy weekend, or so we thought, and everything else was just detail work. Those of you more familiar with the travails involved with trying to prep a house for sale, please keep the raucous laughter down: you're frightening those who have yet to learn.

I'll shortcut the agony of the succeeding weeks by simply remarking that this was three months ago (I think. Time has a way of warping on this project, although that could be the paint fumes). I have spent every weekend not taken up by militia or some other prior commitment doing all the detail work I thought could be knocked out in a few hours.

This latest trip had me ripping up the terrible-to-begin-with carpet in the hopes that we can replace it with something less reminiscent of an elementary school classroom floor, complete with crayon marks and other less identifiable stains; while we might be easy on domiciles, the Littlest Militant and the hounds are...less so.

I will spare the reader a play by play of the efforts required to remove the shabby carpet and expose the sixty year old parquet flooring beneath. Suffice to say, I have been confirmed in my republican stance because NO man should ever spend that much time on his knees! Thankfully, though, I believe the floor to be salvageable, or at least repairable (though the Drain Pipe Incident certainly left its mark), which means I'm one step closer to selling this albatross lovely home which saw both my graduation and LM's birth.

The biggest shame, I think, is that it's really a nice house: a bit small, but in a great neighborhood with a good back yard and ENORMOUS potential given a small remodel. Alas, my employer saw fit to place me in a location that I've wanted to live in for nearly half my life and pay me a very handsome salary for the privilege of working in an environment that is practically Disneyland for my twisted sensibilities, so I shall have to look for some consolation for being forced to part with it.

I think I'll manage.

As to the growing old, bit, I think I aged roughly a year for each hour spent hunched over and an additional week for every time I risked tetanus by scratching or pricking myself on rusty spike strips and rustier nails. Seriously, praise God for modern medicine and the militia for insisting that I get a tetanus booster on time (or ahead of time, since I think the last one was four years short of the decade they should last). As such, I believe I am now nearing retirement age, though some of BE's cooking will very likely see me on the road to a swift recovery.

In any event, this weekend means one more step on the road to solvency, which is all to the good. While I'm not a fan of the specter of bankruptcy, it is a marvelous goad even after one has spent every free moment since midsummer engaged in manual labor that, ultimately, someone else will benefit from.

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