Choosing To Be Happy – No. 137

One evening this week I decided to fix a sash chain on the bathroom window after a long day at work. That is when I realized that I’m not normal. First of all, most of the tools were already in the house. Next is the fact that I know and understand all the fine points of how a double hung window is put together and operates. For many people this would be a weekend project. Not so for me. I commented recently on Mrs. AHC’s latest old house post, “if you own an old house, you have no extra money, just blood, sweat, and tears”. If you happen to be rich, than one can hire a contractor for everything. I’m not rich but have used my skills to fix just about everything and have a few scars to prove it.

I recently received a quote for $2950.00 to prune four trees and grind a stump. Instead of writing a check, I gathered up my pruning equipment and started by trimming the trees a little at a time. May not be done in a day, but the two lessons my old house has taught me is patients and to give up on my perfectionism (though I still try).

The next evening as I was painting the wainscoting on the bathroom project, I recalled that 2017 will mark twenty years in my old house. My mind drifted back through all of the various projects that started with anchoring the house to the foundation; at the same time I completed a seismic upgrade of the cripple walls; tore down a chimney and patched the roof; rebuilt the front corner and columns of the wrap around porch; replaced 100% of the electrical wiring and sub panels from the meter inward; ripped out and installed a new irrigation system; planted a new lawn from seed; replaced 100% of the plumbing starting at the meter; replaced 100% of the sanitary drain system to the main outside the house; re-tiled the kitchen counter and back splash; gutted the bathroom to the rafters, studs, and sub-floor and replaced everything except the tub and tub surround; rebuilt and restored the summer kitchen; painted most of the inside rooms; put a new roof on the garage; and built a one of a kind picket fence with my Dad’s help. These are just the major projects. There have been many small projects that keep me busy.

Twenty years on and I’m starting to repaint the interior again. In a week or so I will be posting the finished bathroom. This project started in 2001 and for various reasons has never been 100% complete. With the double hung window now fixed, I’m almost to the finish line. I love my old house and doing my own repairs makes me happy. So does listening to rock and roll while working.

6 thoughts on “Choosing To Be Happy – No. 137

  1. Oh man, I can sooo relate. So many projects here not quite finished. I keep looking at the window in kitchen, the one we replaced 3? 4? years ago and am trying to envision what I would like the ‘finished’ product to be. It still has the old yellow trim around plus some insulation…winter project, maybe. Just a matter of being brave enough to start ripping those boards off…There is an amount of pride in doing your own work, even if it doesn’t happen quickly. Kudos to you for all of the renovations you have done to your place. 🍻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kudos. The original plan twenty years ago was supposed to be a team effort which quickly turned into a one handyman show. I have many projects that were started and are waiting to be finished. If a project, like stripping the paint off the front door, could not be completed in a day’s time, interest in the job vaporizer. One by one I will be completing the various unfinished projects and taking on a few new ones. My old house will keep me busy, and out of trouble, for quite awhile.

      Liked by 1 person

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