Thursday, May 1, 2008

Betsy Bird's Top Ten List of Home Improvement Principles YOU Should Know

Oh faithful readers ... how I have betrayed you! It's been seven days since my last post. It's not that I haven't been thinking of you, or itching to post. It's that between a four-day visit from my parents and an overnight trip out of town and three different kid performances to attend and a job and the small matter of a major construction project going on in my backyard, I haven't had time to look for my laptop, much less use it. Please don't feel bad. My laundry has been equally neglected.

But I'm back, and ready to aim for a post-per-day in May. Toward that end, tonight I offer some home improvement advice.

A bit of background is in order. It's a long and tragic story, with many chapters and subplots and a red herring or two. But here is a synopsis.

Long ago and far away, a builder constructed a house on the last undeveloped lot on a Southern suburban street. Neighborhood children had been happily playing on that lot for years because it was so much fun to roll down the ravine at the back of it toward the creek.

The builder sold the house to a family.

Ten years ago, that family sold the house to us. As soon as we left the closing, the family began to laugh.

Cut to five years ago. We began to notice the back corner of our kitchen was sloping.

We ignored it. By a couple of years later, we couldn't anymore. Things around our house -- or shall I say, under our house --were going downhill. Literally.

One pie-in-the-sky architect, five different contractors, one greedy underhanded overpaid engineer, an ocean full of gravel and cement, and a couple of years later, our house is stabilized. Now that that's done, we're finally replacing our deck and screen porch, so that we can look out upon the ravine into which we have poured money equal to the cost of a complete college education for one of our children.

I've learned many things on this journey. (Ever notice how everything today is a journey? American Idol, Top Chef, Project Runway, Dancing With the Stars, running for president -- apparently we've all been traveling and we didn't even know it.) Tonight I'd like to share some of them with you.

Betsy Bird's Top Ten Things Every Home Improver Should Know

10) All home improvement projects involve the modification or removal of a previous home improvement project that didn't improve anything. This is particularly true if the previous home improvement project was undertaken by the husband of the woman living in said home. Tip: Should your spouse announce plans to replace your gutters himself, immediately seek a restraining order.

9) Home improvement is actually a euphemism. The real name of what you are doing is Making One Decision After Another. I can make pie crust, curtains, and spreadsheets, but I have a lot more trouble with decisions. If you do not like to make decisions, you should learn to love the house you already have.

8) Here's a handy formula for determining the cost of the additional furniture you'll need for your improved space. For each additional 10 square foot of living space, count on spending more than you can possibly afford for the whole room.

7) Human life expectancy may increase with each passing decade, but today's appliances live on borrowed time. The dishwasher you buy to replace your 20-year-old one will develop a terminal illness before it reaches kindergarten age.

6) HGTV is not reality television. It is a fictional dramatic series written and acted by the same people who brought you imaginary friends.

5) Porta-potties can blow over in heavy winds.

4) When it comes to electric sockets, three things matter: location, location, location.

3) You know that pest control guy you've been paying to come to your house each month and spray for termites? That's all he's been doing -- spraying. You mean you wanted him to actually prevent termites? Geez ... you should have said so. That costs extra.

2) Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in a little house on the prairie. Surely we can all live in houses without granite countertops.

And my Number One suggestion about improving your home ...

Don't.

1 comment:

Jenni said...

OMG... So true. Love #6 and #7.