Tuesday, February 26, 2008

House Redux

I was thinking after discussing my rather strong negative feelings about the house next door, that I might have been somewhat over-critical. It wouldn’t suit me and T-Man at all, but I forget that other people don’t have all the obsessions…er, hobbies that we do. Hobbies that take up a lot of space, both to do them and to store the materials and equipment. Most people spend their time in their home sleeping, watching TV, cooking and eating. (Maybe not so much on the last one. There’s a lot of eating out goes on in this city!) I, on the other hand, don’t just live but also work in my house. I spin, dye, knit, weave (there’s a big space needed right there!) and a bunch of other things plus I spend a lot of time at the computer. T needs room for all his woodworking equipment and his glass torch and kiln. On top of that we need space for gardening stuff including potting and seed starting, space for the wine-making supplies and the elliptical trainer. Our house may be small but there’s room for all that — as well as the sleeping, watching TV, cooking and eating. We even made room for a goodly amount of that stuff back in the olden days when the kids lived at home and included all their stuff too. The bottom line is that what our house does have is lots of storage space! Which leads to my biggest complaint about the house next door because it lacks what I would consider even rudimentary amounts of storage. On the downside, our house has Only One Dinky Little Bathroom. Yeah, I’d like a good-sized bathroom with a separate shower. Oh and maybe a bidet. That would be cool. (So “euro”.) But we’ve managed for 29 years and counting without it because what we do have works just fine for us. I guess that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

On the other hand, when you’ve lived somewhere for a very long time things start to get shabby and wear out. T-Man has already replaced 99% of our water pipes plus some of the wiring himself (with the electrical box left to an electrician). We’ve replaced the hot water heater twice and the furnace and roof once and the latter desperately needs it again this year. We’ve also replaced the kitchen flooring, the bathroom sink, the fridge (twice!) and the stove (the old one is my dye stove because the top elements still work). The couch and chairs have been reupholstered several times each. Unfortunately we haven’t replaced some things that could definitely use it. But sometimes new isn’t necessarily better or we just can’t get the right type/shape/colour or it’s too much work to bother. As T likes to say, the longer you wait to replace something the longer the next one will last. At least that’s his excuse and he’s sticking to it. I like to think of it as the first 2 R’s: reduce and reuse. Just who am I trying to impress anyway? I don’t need my house to look like it’s being photographed for Better Homes and Gardens.

On the other-other hand, I would like things to look better than they do at the moment. I think this year we’ll repaint at least the bathroom, though the living/dining room could also use freshening up. I can do most of the bathroom all by myself though there’s a part of the ceiling above the bathtub that I can’t reach and I’m not comfortable on a step stool up there. T is more concerned about the outside of the house. He’s already started scraping paint off the garage. It needs to be done before the grapevine and other plants get too big.

OK, I’ve been yapping on about houses and gardens way too much. There is a reason I’ve been neglecting the crafty stuff though — there’s nothing to report. I’m cruising down the second foot to the toe on the TulipTwo Socks. And that’s about it.

Question to Ponder:

How much room do you really need to live in? In my city a sleeping bag in a doorway is a common sight. The pressure to upgrade current SRO (Single Room Occupancy) facilities beyond what the very-low or welfare income folks can pay is strong. We’re hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics after all and there’s money to be made! Meanwhile there’s very little rental accommodation because most of it has become strata-title purchase instead. The cost of housing is going through the roof and is shifting those with lower incomes and/or larger families out into the ‘burbs. A tiny room with shared bathroom and no cooking facilities is the best some folks can hope for. And we won’t mention their unwanted roomies: cockroaches and bedbugs. The Powers That Be are supposed to be cleaning up the older facilities and building new ones but no one is holding their breath. A shopping cart, a blanket and a piece of plastic becomes a mobile home for too many. Makes me eternally grateful for my little old house. Shabby as it might be.

No comments: