This Old House

A couple of years ago, when we were all mysteriously compelled to list 25 things about ourselves on Facebook, I said that I’d be happy to never own a home less than 100 years old. These days, I’m wondering if I should rethink that.

Our house was built in 1890, and I love the  different floors in nearly every room, including a two foot floorboard in the kitchen that gets regularly measured by people who come in the side door. I love the surprises in the house. Closets, steps, eaves and general nooks and crannies where you least expect them. I kind of love the fact the floors aren’t flat and I don’t even mind that the heat clanks. It’s a charming house for all its imperfections.

But this old house is killing me these days. It won’t let me pick out projects. I’d really like a new vanity in the downstairs bathroom, a lot of new paint, and new kitchen cabinets. I’d like a screen porch in back, and many new trees in the yard. Instead, I need a couple of new roofs, new sub-flooring under the porch, beams shored up under the laundry room, and a lot of new windows. As an added bonus, I need someone to cut into an almost new roof over my porch to figure out how water is getting into the porch ceiling (which is a bigger problem every year).

Instead of loving my silly house, I’m starting to find it suspect. Is my slanty floor just slanty–or is there a problem with my foundation? Is my big porch a nice place to swing–or is it just going to be expensive to paint? The things that I like most about the house keep turning out to be the most worrisome. In about 12 years we might have all this taken care of, but until then it’s a constant challenge.

But would I love a new house as much, with all its windows and doors that close properly and everything plumb and square?

Since I live here and work here, I’m in the house a lot. A whole lot. It’s hard not to think about this stuff. But Matt tells me that I think too much about all the things that might someday happen instead of enjoying the things that are happening right now, so I guess I’ll go swing and not inspect the porch ceiling for water marks.

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