Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Wolf's at the Door of This Old House

 I feel like Fifer and Fiddler from the Three Little Pigs. They're the ones who built their houses from straw and sticks. No wonder those homes fell down when the Wolf came huffing and puffing. 
On the other hand, the neighbors flanking our tiny one-story home are more like Practical Pig. They both just gutted and remodeled their two-story homes, and while they didn't use bricks (not safe in a California Wolfquake), they essentially have brand new homes.
Meanwhile, this straw-stick house of ours is falling apart.
Just the other day, as my husband, Tom, was getting out of the shower, the glass shower door shattered into a billion pieces. Luckily it broke into rock-salt sized chunks, so he wasn't bleeding from head to toe, but it startled him -- and made a huge mess. After checking the price of a new shower door, we decided to hang a shower curtain over the gaping hole -- temporarily, I hope -- and maybe take more baths.
Then the toilet broke. Since we need a minimum of two toilets in this house, thanks to grandkids with imperfect aim, my husband ran down to the toilet store and brought back something called "The Throne" -- the equivalent of a brick toilet, I assume.
Naturally, as soon as he finished caulking the toilet base, we noticed water dripping from the roof. Tom checked it out and discovered the gutters along the roofline are rusted and cracked and about to cave in. One puff from a wolf, and the whole thing would come crashing down.
Like I said, the whole house is falling apart. It was new when we moved in, but that was 33 years ago. My husband refers to it as our "pine box." That's comforting. But unless we completely gut and remodel it, we're gonna need a better pine box.
Now I'm starting to notice all kinds of things that need repair. The front lawn could use resodding. Maybe we should invest in that fake lawn stuff. It's supposed to last forever. The house needs a new paint job. Maybe we should look into aluminum siding. 
The carpets are like a scrapbook of memories -- the spot where the kids spilled their grape juice, the streaks from the permanent markers they got into, the stains where the cats threw up. Personally I'd like all hardwood floors -- easier to clean up the grape juice and markers and cat puke. But they cost more than what we originally paid for the house, and my husband isn't down with that.
I figured we'd just move into the RV when the house no longer kept us safe from the wolves at the door, but Tom had a little accident on our trip home from Calistoga last weekend and that caved in the left front end. Now it's in the shop being repaired. Estimated time: at least two months just to find the right parts.
Oh well. Now that we're nearing retirement, we'll just have to get used to not keeping up with the practical neighbors. I'll buy some straw to cover the carpet stains, cover up the old paint job with some decorative stickers and spray the cat puke with that new "Bacon" fragrance.
Meanwhile we're having our RV rebuilt from bricks, just in case.


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