Home Impoverishment

My husband and I have lived in our current house for too long. Usually, we sneak out sometime between four to six years, before various basic functions like heat and electricity start to go bad and need replacement.

But we’re getting old, and we don’t move as fast anymore. Our long-range goal is to downsize now that our child-rearing has reached the collegiate level. But before we can sell, we are faced with an ever-growing list of painting, plumbing and other picayune projects.

All the rooms need facelifts to fix their late 90’s color schemes, and don’t even get me started on the remaining carpet. (Most of the downstairs rug has been replaced with semi-wood-looking laminate courtesy of my interior-decorating cat. If he doesn’t like the decor, he pees on it).

The furnace and air-conditioner still work, but are enjoying the twilight of their years, I’ve been told by concerned HVAC specialists. Our hot water heater, on the other hand, sounds like a popcorn machine and the ancient garbage disposal looks like the gaping pit of refuse hell. Throw in flickering lights, ominous chewing sounds in the crawl space and the world’s ugliest ceiling fans, and you can see why we can be caught drooling over those ads for downtown luxury condos with a complete staff at one’s beck and call.

It also hurts to think that we will not see a return for all these “improvements” in the current housing market. Our fear is that the house will need to be perfect just to get a passing glance, and believe me, it is not at the moment. (Why is the cat stalking the fireplace?)

Here is the crux of the matter: Does it make sense to pour money into fixing up houses for other people to buy, and put up with the barely acceptable ourselves for years? Am I not good enough to enjoy a “garden tub” of my own?

It seems like I’ve been sitting in half a cup of water since I was a kid. My dream is to live somewhere, someday, with a decent bathing fixture. Maybe I don’t even need a house — just the tub stuck out in front of a scenic vista like a certain commercial shown repeatedly during men’s golf tournaments.

(Please forgive my brief bathing reverie here.)

Anyway, the fantasy tub will not fit in my current house, so I’ll have to settle for a working shower head and drain. At least I’m clean as I fight the accumulations of hard water stains and calcium deposits. The new muted colors, imitation granite counters, fresh carpeting and depersonalized decor will help to attract the serious buyer, I’m sure. (Don’t all the home staging shows promise that?)

In the meantime, we can stop eating out. Or buying so many groceries for that matter. And who needs gifts for the holidays?

That tub with a view is looking better and better.

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6 thoughts on “Home Impoverishment

  1. Teresa

    All of our toilet flushing mechanisms were replaced yesterday due to a malfunction by our water softener. I’m embarrassed by the joy I get when I push the lever and all remains are sucked into the spiraling vortex. It’s life’s simple pleasures, right?

  2. suburbansatsangs

    I heartily agree! We have never known our toilets to function well at the same time. (The one in the master bathroom sounds like Gollum right now.) Don’t be embarrassed–enjoy that spiraling vortex. I love that image, by the way. Thanks, Teresa.

  3. Oh no! Another farm girl going condo. We only have a small one-bedroom apt. but everything is provided, including appliance repair, and that is a luxury. Now if they would just provide and maintain our car. And maybe drive us where we need to go. Why does being comfortable in my mature years sound so much like what I had when I was five?

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Hey, Mike. Oh, it’s mostly idle speculation. We don’t have the big bucks for a condo, and they’d throw us out anyway when I rigged up my clothesline on the high-rise balcony. Your setup, on the other hand, sounds very appealing to us. And I’d like to be able to walk through the village without getting run over. What a great last line in your comment. Five was the perfect age, wasn’t it?

  4. Oh, thanks Tamara–now I have to clean up the coffee I sprayed out of my nose while reading this post….

    I swear I’m in the same boat, living in one fixer-upper after another and never really getting any of them fixed up enough to enjoy. The current little house is about as good as I’ve had it, but there is an ancient bathroom in the basement that we haven’t done anything with and it scares the hell out of me. Anything to do with plumbing is to be approached with trepidation, and a hefty savings account as backup. This also includes garbage disposals–mine was just like yours except now it doesn’t work at all and we have to be very careful what goes down in that side of the sink until we get around to dismantling it.

    If you make everything light and airy with exactly the right shade of white or off white through the whole house (paint ceiling fan blades too) and make the front yard as irresistible as possible, those would be the two best things you can do to get people in the door and maybe even coming back for a second look. If someone falls in love with the house, they’ll overlook a lot of the creaky stuff, even in this economy. I hope.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      I’ll take that coffee spraying as a complement — I loved your post about a good cuppa and coffee shops this morning. Your insights into this predicament are spot on. And that’s a great idea for the fan blades; we may give it a try. We’ll keep our fingers crossed about the creaky stuff.

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