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.