Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My new old house

Our house was built in 1983, a time of rising interest rates and builder's nightmares. Two years later, as rates began to fall, we bought the house with a V.A. mortgage. Twenty-two years later, we have replaced the roof; painted the exterior for a fourth time; replaced the carpeting; replaced over half the fencing that GoldieBear installed all those years ago; turned a partially enclosed patio into an exercise room; upgraded the electrical panel and wiring; refurbished the solar plumbing; had a kitchen fire and replaced the microwave and stove hood; replaced the dishwasher.

This week it was time for the kitchen plumbing - the garbage disposal and the pipes under the sink. New homes, like cars, have a certain length of time when we may enjoy them without doing much maintenance and repair - and then one day, it is time to refurbish, repair or replace so many things that it seems like a good solution to just replace the whole thing with a newer model.

But we have lived here for twenty-two years, and are quite fond of our place -- it is home. It is familiar, and dear to us. So there is a schedule for the remaining work: replace the garage door opener, repaint the interior; install the back-flow device on the watering system; replace and insulate the hot water pipes; refinish the aggregate floors and replace the window coverings.

Keeping a house, instead of just trading it in for a newer model, takes time and effort. Sort of like keeping a spouse after a few decades -- keep investing in the relationship -- repair, refurbish and replace old habits and patterns with ways that work better; sometimes hire a trained professional to help with the project. It is worth it in the long run, to have a marriage that is dear, a familiar friend that our heart's home.

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