Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Joys of Old House Ownership

I no longer live in an old house - I spent almost 12 years in a centengenarian brick Victorian with just about every old-house problem you could imagine, and loved every minute of it. We loved the fixer-upper-opportunity-dream-home aspect of the house, and learned to live with its quirks and foibles. Things dripped, or creaked, or leaned; windows squeaked and stuck, doors swung open or shut depending on the weather, a breeze blew through most rooms on a windy day. There weren't any doorknobs in the house for six months.

We were lucky. The Adorable Husband is a handy husband. I really recommend them for any house owner - it's so much cheaper to have a genuinely adept fixit person who can repair the sprinkler system or change a light switch or fix a leaky faucet or build cabinets or refinish floors.

My sister is not so lucky. Not only does is she not the handiest person around, she doesn't really have a staff of handy people to help her. And she has an old house which was even less well-cared-for than ours was, I think.

So, in the frigidly cold weather in Minnesota this week (37 below, anyone?) she has had a host of problems. The kitchen faucet froze. The furnace starting making weird clicking and popping noises. The main water supply pipe to the house froze and burst. If it could go wrong, it did, and luckily she had Christmas$ to pay for the repairs.

She still is not listening to my (less subtle) urging to move to Colorado (where it was a balmy 40 degrees today and will be near 60 by next week), but I do sympathize with the Money-Pit Aspects of owning a house.

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