Enough Said

Enough Said
A sampling of my columns and why the hell is my picture SO big?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Parents help with fixer upper

There is only one thing more daunting than buying an as-is fixer-upper that you have two weeks to make livable, and that's when your kid buys one.
My daughter and son-in-law purchased their first home. It has potential, a lot of potential, but due to circumstances, they were unable to close on the deal until two weeks before their apartment lease ran out half-a-state away. The house is less than five miles from ours, and because my husband pounds nails for a living, and I have a steady hand with a paint brush, the idea of being able to move in soon seemed possible.
If Tom Hanks could survive on "… it'll only take two weeks," promise in "The Money Pit"; if HGTV real estate experts, builders and designers can do it; if "Extreme Home Makeover" and "This Old House" can build a dream home out of a mid-century dog house; why couldn't we update a split level built the year the Beatles met Ed Sullivan?
The house has been vacant for quite some time. Setting aside that it needed substantial updating and repair it was easy to see that at one time it had been loved. It's heartwarming when new buyers take on the dream of previous owners and make it their own. And it's hard work, confusing and frustrating for a young couple who have never attempted such a project before.
Considering the logistics of the young buyers, and their abilities, (they can wield a paint-roller, drive a U-Haul and rack leaves), getting the house ready for habitation pretty much fell on us. Actually it fell on my husband, the man with the loud tools and enough friends to rescue our kids from the folly of not enough time.
I'm the painter with a one and a half inch sash-brush permanently grafted to my right hand. Every wall, ceiling, window mullion and trim piece had to be painted. The picture window in the living room has 54 panes of glass with accompanying mullions and trim that had to be sanded, primed in one, and painted in two coats. That window took me almost an entire day and I still need to do the final coat.

Cutting in wall colors, at the ceiling and along the baseboard with a steady hand, doesn't seem like a big deal, unless you wear bifocals, have bad knees and a full-time job. Fitting in my home make-over skills between shifts at work, and granddaughter babysitting, would leave even those half my age exhausted.
We're pushing hard to get the house ready because, until they move in, they are living with us. We've eaten enough pizza and fast food to feed a lifetime of acid reflux. When I crave green leaves, lean meat and a banana I know I've eaten too much 'to-go' and need a real home cooked meal; like a roasted chicken from Big Y.
Right now my own house is so lived in, it looks like a battalion billets were here. With a little one, who is on-all-fours-mobile, safety is primary. Water bowls and dog hair tumbleweeds make lousy snacks.
I'm happy for the kids and thrilled they will be living nearby. It is fun watching them learn where the shut off valves are and that living with clean, is as important as living with new. It's also nice that instead of us, someone else gets to suffer home owner angst and write the checks.
Welcome to the world of fluctuating home heating oil prices, utility bills that read like a Scrabble board, and doing it all yourself, even when you don't know what you're doing. You are your own tenant, enjoy.
Enough Said.

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