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procrastination makes a house a home

Posted Aug 20 2009 6:42pm
This month marks the fourth year that we have lived in this house. This is the longest I have lived anywhere in thirty years. I can't help it. I have itchy feet...I love to move, to start over, I crave change. Having four kids has put a bit of a damper on all of that. Especially when those kids abhor change of any kind. If it were up to them, we would live in this house forever. Until the end of time. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it..the middle school and high school in this town are not very good. As this is Sammy's last year of elementary school..it appears that we will be moving next summer. That is if we can sell our house.


My house is a pretty New Englander from the outside. On the inside is a very different story. It was built in 1881, we are the third set of owners to inhabit it. Unfortunately, the last owner decided to "remodel" the inside of the house. Who knew there was such a style as "70's Slaughter House" Beautiful tin ceilings covered with drop down panels...and not just any old panels-asbestos panels..with the added allure of Styrofoam faux beams. Not only that-these lovely nine foot ceilings were dropped down to five and a half feet. With yards of electrical wires thrown lovingly behind them-live of course. All of the walls were dramatically covered with brown paneling, and a lovely matching wall to wall carpet covered the entire first floor-kitchen and bath included! Add the marbelesque red vinyl counter tops, and you have the house that crazy decorated.


We have done much to restore it to its original beauty. We did tear out the kitchen-much to Sammy's horror. He thought it was lovely-to which I responded "I saved it all for you in the garage..you can have it for your own home one day" Sadly, this made him happy. We removed the carpeting, and painted the paneling..we restored the tin ceilings..and then we just stopped.


Sigh...this always happens. We start off with the best intentions. We see the potential, and can't wait to get started. We plan and scheme, design and dream. We are avid do it yourselfers. Only because we can't afford to have anyone else do it. Otherwise we would be avid contractor hirers.



We have this strange pattern that we follow. We buy a cheap old house (this is our third) with the idea that we will fix it up, sell it, and make enough of a profit to buy a nice house that doesn't need any work. Doesn't seem to be working for us. Not at all.



Every year, Omar gets three weeks worth of vacation time. Every year we plan out each week in great detail. What projects we are going to undertake, what supplies are needed, what we plan to accomplish each day.This happens to have been one of those weeks.



We planned to finally fix the roof, look for an electrician, repaint the dining room and kitchen, install a dishwasher, and make plans for a second bathroom. So far we have had weekend guests, gone to the zoo, an amusement park, the beach, and played in the pool. It is Friday and Omar goes back to work on Monday. Oh well, he does have one more week in October.



I guess it is just a matter of priorities, or procrastination...or a little of both. Right now, our kids need us more. And really, what would you rather do-paint walls or be attacked by goats at the zoo? Yes, I did sustain a minor goat injury at the petting zoo-but that's a story for another day.

The point is, our kids don't notice all the work that needs to be done. Right now, a second bathroom isn't as important to them as spending time with us as a family. I certainly can't complain-I'm just happy that everyone finally uses the bathroom! To them, just being together-laughing, playing, enjoying each others company is what makes our house-home. Regardless of the ugly paneling.



I don't know what adolescence is going to bring, or what the future holds for any of our kids. I do know this-all that we have is this one moment-this brief slice of time...and I'm going to make the most of it. Relish every second. .. leaky roof and all! Because in this one moment-my kids know that they are loved-unconditionally-without question. They know they are home.



Omar and I will get it together as we always do. This is the way it always plays out. We finally finish the house-just in time to sell it. Never really having a chance to enjoy it in all its glory. That's o.k., because as long as we're together we'll always be home.



The other night, I found Omar hanging a toilet paper roll. Something that has needed to be done since we moved in. I laughed and said "I guess we are really going to be moving" he just looked at me-knowingly and said "I guess so". I can't wait!
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