It starts the same way every time. Matt and I make a plan. It feels doable (at least to me — I’m admittedly overambitious with these things). We start out full of hope on a Saturday morning with the obligatory Lowe’s run. We buy supplies. We price out other things that we cannot afford. We drool and we dream. We get home full of fire and hope. One of us starts working when we get home. The other joins in while Liam’s sleeping. Somehow we end up at 11:00 pm trying to finish one, final, seemingly simple task. And then it happens. The brick wall goes up and comes crashing down all at the same time.
With each separate occasion we find out why the things that were left undone when we bought the house were left undone. There was the deck — which to the unexperienced first-time homebuyer (a bit of an oxymoron, I know) seemed like a little problem. We now know that the $100 Lowe’s gift card they threw in at closing to “cover some of the paint” would cover approximately 1/8 of the cost of painting that deck (and that was a good deal).
Those toilets that didn’t flush — they were probably the easiest of all the things to replace and they were still a pain in the…well, you know…
There were the sliding glass doors that iced (on the inside) in the winter. Those might have been the easiest project overall, but only because we had someone else do it for us. The easiest does not mean the least painful. I assure you that that AmEx bill pinched quite a bit when it came due.
The carpet in the back bedroom that’s suspiciously old and stained (when the carpet in the other two bedrooms was clearly replaced at some point in the 10-year Navarro reign)? It’s there because it’s obvious that the subfloor needs replacing. They just covered that with a bed. We’re getting to it.
The paneling in the treadmill room? They didn’t paint over it because it’s not actually made of wood. I’m painting it anyways because it depresses me and it’s hard enough to get motivated to get on that dang machine. So there.
The dingy color that covered the entirety of downstairs? We’ve eradicated 50% of it so far, but let’s face it: painting is a pain and that’s a lot of square footage to cover with a small child underfoot.
The complete lack of baseboards and door/window casements in the family room? We’re working on it. (Right now. Literally.)
The complete wall of 12 x 12 mirrors in the living room? We got lucky with that one, but it scared us too, so I can sort of understand how they didn’t get to it. On the other hand: Really? You looked at that wall (and it looked back at you) for an entire decade and you couldn’t muster up the chutzpah to conquer what lay beneath? To that I say: no pain, no gain.
The missing handrail on the left side of the staircase. You know, to keep you from falling off into the room below (which apparently happened to the relative of a former owner who’d had one too many, sending her to the hospital…let’s just say our neighbor is full of enlightening information)? We got lucky with that one when we found a great guy to install it for us.
The fact that there’s molding in two of the three bedrooms as well as in a room that shouldn’t exist in the first place but not in the third bedroom? I’d be willing to bet money that it was a combination of the fact that their oldest son slept in that room and that the room has five interior corners and one exterior corner and miters were too advanced for their tastes. Again, no pain, no gain. We’re tackling that before we move Liam into the room in the next six months or so.
The biggest saga in Connolly Family History (by far) is the stairs, but I brought that (mostly) upon myself. What I didn’t bring on is the fact that the missing kickplate on the top stair (for which I bought a pre-cut replacement) is an inch higher on one side than on the other. Let’s just say that I don’t think that the stairs aren’t level, but I’m more than certain that the floors above them aren’t. More coming soon on that one…
But what we thought would be the easiest project for today: replacing the three remaining brass doorknobs in the house? That one has proved nearly impossible. First Matt tried replacing the knob on the door to the garage. The hole isn’t deep enough and we need to make another trek to the Lowe’s for a wood chisel if we have a prayer of making it work. For the last hour Matt has been attempting to replace the locks on the family room door. You know, the one that secures our house while we’re sleeping. First he encountered what he described as “the worst set of directions I’ve ever seen printed by a company whose first language appears to be English.” The directions specify certain screws. Those certain screws are not labeled. Then the hole on the door was just a titch too small. He scraped it out with a razor blade. At this point the door won’t close and he’s doing something suspicious with a drill. I’m not asking questions.
Tomorrow it’s on to the installation of door casements and rosettes as well as (fingers crossed) finishing the stairs.
The next time I embark on another project that I’ve always wondered why the Navarros didn’t do themselves I hope that someone reminds me that they were apparently very logical and cost-conscious people and I should think twice. I’m trying to comfort myself with the notion that if the Navarros had been so inclined as to finish up the glaring details in the house, we probably couldn’t have afforded it in the first place. All this neurosis must at least have improved the value of the house…right?