Friday, April 15, 2011

The best laid plans of mice and gay men...

Before the husband injured himself in the bowling accident, we were juggling several big things at once:

-Casa Momma up in my home town -and-

-Our 95 year old house, Castle Man, which is aging very quickly.

Now that Casa Momma is under control, we are focusing on our house.

When I bought Castle Man back in 1993 the idea was that I would stay for two years, fix up the house and sell it for a modest amount that would allow me to buy "up". 

Well, it didn't work out that way because the value of Castle Man shot up like a skyrocket, and so did the houses around us, and if I sold castle man for the 30k profit (in 1995) I wouldn't be able to buy anything like Castle Man.  So I stayed.  And besides, it was a good location and the neighbors were a lot of FUN.

Then in 1997 I kicked my boyfriend out of my life because after 9 years, 11 months and 2 weeks he couldn't commit any more than he could at five months.  And my friends, Cookie was not getting any younger.  And I was stuck in this house, humble though it may be, because real estate prices kept climbing and I was paying $500 in mortgage at 4.99% for 30 years fixed and where were you going to find another deal like that?

Then the man  - an old college friend -  who is the love of my life, came back into my life and we coupled.  Fourteen years later we are 1) Committed to one and other and 2)Married by the laws of Massachusetts for three years.  And we are still in the same house, and gratefully so because...

...the market dropped.  While we lost about 30K in value on the place - not good, but a Hell of a lot better than a lot of people we know - we felt lucky that we weren't in over our heads with a house we couldn't afford and would lose our shirts on IF we ever moved.  So we put in a new kitchen and a small (144 square foot) addition on the back and hunkered down.

And my point?

Well, after almost 18 years in a house built in 1916, a lot of things that were new when it was built, and were old when I bought it, are beginning to fail because they are simply used up, they need replaced.

Think about this way: an oak floor is considered a 100 year investment.  Well, we're at 95 and guess what, it, and other things are worn out.

So this spring we:

1) Bought new canvas awnings to replace the old canvas awnings that wore out after 17 summers in a western exposure;
2) Replaced the "knob and tube" electrical wiring on the second floor and installed a bathroom fan, which doesn't sound like a thrilling thing until you've lived without a fan in your main bathroom for 18 years;
3) We ran electric from our basement to the small garage at the way back of the property that was built to house a Model T Ford (which, research of the abstracts shows) was a buyers premium to the first family that bought the house way back when.  (I was sure the garage was a goner all those years ago and its still in fine form, but now we can see things when we go in there.)

Which brings me to the husband's arm and what will happen on April 29th.  One of the things that has been wearing out and is finally worn out are the 3/8" white oak floors in the living room and dining room - and they can't be saved. 

A week before the husband fucked up his arm was that we went under contract with the floor "Svengali" of Columbus to rip all the floor and sub-floor out of the living room and dining room, level the joists and reinstall reclaimed sub-floor and a 3/4" red oak floor.  This guy's work is amazing!  And he's agreed to do our house!  And he isn't expensive!

And the catch? We have to box up everything in those two rooms, have it moved to a storage facility for two weeks while Svengali works his magic. And now the husband can't that barge and tote that bale. 

So this weekend, I begin packing up and to be truthful, it will go quickly.  But when we planned it, it was a different thing.  We'll get the floors and I'm sure they will run into something that will require this or that.  That's what happens when you commit to a long range relationship like I have with this house, or the husband with his healing wing.  And so it goes: the best laid plans of mice and gay men...


  1. Oh yes, please do replace the knob and tube wiring. When it fails, it takes hostages. You will sleep much better.

  2. You know, if you got a Sven who'll work for you....
    Just do what he says....
    My opinion...
    Just sayin'...

    My hopes for the hubby to heal up.

  3. Renovating never goes the way you think it should. Never.

    And I didn't know it was a BOWLING incident. How thrilling.

  4. Peenee - At least it wasn't Wii Bowling. Husband and I used to bowl every week eons ago - Columbus has more gay leagues than any other city in the US. On his first game (in at least eight years) he rolled a 175, second game or 202 and the first ball of the third game "POP" went the tendon.

    Well, if you'll excuse me, I have to go out and hunt down moving boxes...

  5. and those new floors won't squeak, right?
    i can't abide old, squeaky floors.
    i squeak enough, all on my own.

  6. Bowling there's something you don't read about every day.