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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

House update: as Jen suggested in an e-mail she sent to many of you last night, it's time for "pain and paint" around the place.

The "paint" part is simple. There are a few rooms that could use a new coat: family room in the basement, kitchen, the two bedrooms and bathroom on the second floor. That's most of them, really.

It isn't that the colors are horrible; mostly it's a boring neutral off-white. But they obviously haven't been painted in a while, so it's time for a fresh coat. Jen's going to do a sage color in the kitchen, similar to what we had in our old living room, but lighter. Upstairs in Lisa's room, we're thinking about doing a deep blue or even a purple. The rest, who knows? We'll have to decide as we go along, I suppose.

The "pain" is fairly extensive. It's a lot of little stuff: there's a leak in the pipe that connects the sink to the ice maker in the fridge, and another one in the pipe that feeds the faucet outside. That one makes me particularly mad, since we asked the former owners to fix it, and even a cursory check would have shown it wasn't. The result: a mini-flood in the basement, and another wall that needs to be repainted. It goes on: the curtain rod in the shower upstairs needs to be replaced. We need some new blinds, curtains, a rug for the living room. The carpet on the second floor desperately needs to be replaced. The air ducts probably need to be cleaned, and the central air unit serviced. The stove needs to be replaced. We've already fixed the dishwasher, which had come out of its moorings to the countertop. Took me about ten minutes to do, and a lot of wondering what the former owners did with their time.

The outside is its own category: we weeded two flowerbeds, and came up with four big boxes of yard waste to be hauled away. Then we started in on a couple of overgrown bushes, and now we've got a parking space filled with more leafy trash. The tree in the front yard needs pruning, the bushes along the side of the house need to be trimmed, and there are shrubs around a raised square in the back yard that just plain need to come out. The lawn is filled with clover, dandelions and other weeds, and the sidewalks need to be edged something fierce. As much as I complain about this part of the work, though, I actually love it. I am now the proud owner of an old-fashioned reel mower (people-powered, I like to say), which is quiet and pleasant to use. And there's nothing I like more than puttering in the flowerbeds, pulling out weeds and making sure the plants have enough water. I swear I'm turning into my grandfather, minus the Kools and standoffish demeanor.

Maybe this is just something that happens when you hit thirty-five. The genes kick in; your hair gets thinner, your spare tire gets thicker, and you become obsessed with lawn care. My buddy John Cooper certainly is at his place down in Annapolis, though he has much better reason than I: his yard is covered by oaks and is in a low-lying, swampy area. Either he's going to be obsessed or he's not going to have a lawn.

As for me: my goal is simply perfection. I'm determined to have a great-looking yard, God knows why.

Well, in any case, the new place will keep us plenty busy for a while. As soon as we can get it into some kind of reasonable shape, we're going to throw a housewarming party. In September or so, the 'rents will be out to visit us. Pray that we can keep our eyes on the prize until then.

Less blogging, more stripping of wallpaper in the kitchen...

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