Sticks and stones may break my bones
But all piled up, they built my home.
Most of our house is about twenty-two years old. Other parts of it are thirty-eight years old. If you average those two numbers, you come up with an age at which things begin to need repaired or replaced or updated or (oh the humanity!) cleaned. Ha ha. That is just a little homeowner humor, especially for anyone to whom we would wish to sell our house in the future.
Our house would be a great bargain, at any price. This is some more homeowner humor. There is nothing funnier than trying to sell your house for what the tax assessor says it is worth. Of course, we are biased about the desirability of our little home. It has the three most important assets of a house: location, location, and a large septic tank.
A house can offer the most spacious kitchen, the most lavish living quarters, and a master suite worthy of Louis XIV, but any problem that requires a back hoe to fix is going to be a deal breaker.
Roofs are another matter and another big ticket item. When we put the roof on our house, we opted for the twenty-five year roof. In our naiveté, we could not imagine this would not suffice. Well, that was twenty-two years ago and our imaginations are now running wild. Here has been my experience with roof replacement:
Your roof is doing okay. It doesn’t leak but it most assuredly has seen better days. It is growing moss like the most stoic stone that never rolled. Its life expectancy has come and gone. The weather is mild and sunny and it hasn’t rained in weeks. There is no rain in the forecast. The time is right for a new roof. After the necessary negotiations, two pick-up trucks pull into your yard and disgorge a crew of roofers. There follows much coffee drinking and standing around. Frequently there is scratching and spitting involved. Except for the coffee, this closely resembles baseball.
As soon as the first layer of shingles comes off, the clouds roll in. As soon as the second layer of shingles comes off, a few sprinkles start to fall. Once the workers breach the lumber layer, it is as though a spigot has been opened. The roofing crew/baseball team has been here before. They huddle in their trucks/dugouts and wait while every single thing you own turns to pulp. Mushrooms sprout from your furniture. It rains and rains. You consider asking the roofers to forget the roof and start building you an ark. This, of course, would require further negotiations, extra innings, and a lot more coffee.
Then there are the carpets. We have a lot of carpeted area. Unfortunately, we also have had a lot of dogs. Big dogs. Big dogs do take a toll on carpets. Even if a house has only one tiny room carpeted, a dog will seek out that tiny room to have a not-so-tiny accident. Haven’t you ever wondered about the source of the term “carpet bombing” ? The odds of an accident happening on a carpet are directly proportional to the cost of the carpet. Dogs are apparently much more discriminating that we give them credit for.
Like most homeowners, we try to keep up with the necessary maintenance so that we are not faced with a glut of major projects all at once. When I say “try” I mean, of course, that we talk about what needs to be done. We can spend several days talking about any given task. But here is the bad news. Talking about a job does not actually get the job done, just as talking about doing away with the designated hitter does not actually eradicate this blot upon baseball.
Luckily, we possess most tools ever manufactured. So, when we have a little repair job to do around the house, we are prepared. We have wires strippers and all sorts of terminal ends for electrical problems. We have shovels for landscaping problems. We have spackle to fix nail holes in the drywall. And for painting, gutters, and oh yes, those pesky plumbing problems, we have the best tool of all: the telephone.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.