- Quality of Life & Wellness
My Old House
The days march by unrestrained, week after week, months and years a blur as you look back over the landscape of your life. Where did they go to? I can’t possibly be this old! I still remember sledding down the hill in front of our house on 18th Street when I was ten. I clearly recall turning out for the Babe Ruth League and playing with the boys of summer on hot July afternoons. Flirting with the neighborhood girls as they walked by, helping the neighbors burn their leaves each August, breathing in the sights and sounds as only a youngster can do before the chains of responsibility and adulthood are finally locked in place.
Where has the time gone? Is this some cruel joke perpetrated by the Grand Puppetmaster, that we all finally gain a true appreciation of our life as we get so damn old we can’t experience it as we once did? Where is the humor in that I ask you? And yet….and yet…there is a lovely dividend that comes with advancing age, and it is exactly that appreciation just mentioned. True, age has slowed us up, but it has also made us so appreciative of everything about us, so aware of all the fine nuances of life, so happy for each and every day we are allowed to continue this journey.
In a state of blissful reflection I find myself thinking of my old house.
A TOUR OF THE HOUSE
I have lived in this house for sixty-three years and I know it intimately. Who better to give you a tour than the only resident ever to live there?
It is a medium-sized single-person dwelling, built in 1948 upon a sound foundation, lovingly nurtured throughout the building process. Real estate agents would say this house has character because really, what else could they say? In need of tender loving care? A fixer-upper just right for a buyer with a discerning eye and an appreciation for qualities not seen at first glance? Yes, a house of character. Let’s take a look at the construction and I’ll let you be the judge of its fitness.
Here is where the true character of a house is found. A weak foundation means endless problems down the road but this foundation was laid out exactly the way you would hope for. The cement was poured perfectly, the footings set into the foundation with precise measurement, holes drilled just right for the incoming and outgoing pipes. They knew how to make them back in the old days and this baby has withstood earthquakes, high winds and never once crumbled; a real testament to the craftsmanship that went into this building.
Good strong studs are the secret ingredient in the framing and my house was built with nothing but the best studs available. No cracks in these studs; no bends or breaks can be seen. Girders, struts, braces, all where they should be, lovingly placed to guarantee long-life.
LOOK UP ABOVE
This home of mine has seen some serious rainstorms, snowstorms and windstorms in its day and not a leak shows upon inspection. Ceiling joists hung to precision, rafters in place and tie beams are solid. If you look at it from the outside the roof appears to be weather-worn but don’t let that fool you: not a shingle is loose, the tar papers is in place and there is a good chance that roof will last a good many more years.
DOES IT HAVE CURB APPEAL?
Isn’t curb appeal dependent on the eye of the beholder? What may look like a broken down wreck to one will look like a warm, cozy beacon of comfort to another. So it is with my home. Don’t let first impressions fool you; this house will welcome you as you kick off your shoes and get to know it.
IS IT A GOOD INVESTMENT?
I guess I’m as good a judge of that as anyone. I have invested my entire life in this house and believe me, I’m not a gentle homeowner. I have neglected it at times, put it through some tough experiences, but it has never let me down and is always there for me to return to. There is safety in this home, a pleasantness that may not be apparent upon first sight. Like a wild horse that needs to be broken and then re-trained, this home has seen its wild days and now is much more comfortable at a cantor rather than a gallop.
However, you asked about its investment potential, and in truth the market value of this home of mine will only depreciate with the coming years. A home can only withstand so much wear and tear and no matter how much tenderness you show the home, time will eventually win this battle. That is, after all, the nature of all things.
IT IS ALL ABOUT THE BOTTOM LINE
I guess I’m saying I have been a lucky man. I have had the pleasure of knowing this old home for a long time now and it has served me well. I wish I had treated it with more respect but too much of that thinking leads to regret and regret to shame and shame to guilt and really, what is the point of all that? I know that this old home and I are one now, and the future of one is intricately tied to the future of the other, and we will just ride out the future and see where it takes us. The adventure comes from not knowing what is around the next curve; the thrill comes from the willingness to find out despite the anxiety over things unknown.
Bottom line is I love this house today. There were times I thought it was a junk heap; there were times I wanted to tear it down and be done with it. Today, I see the character in it; I smile at the windows that don’t quite shut all the way and the creak of the doors and floorboards. I feel good when I see the discolored roof and the chipped paint on the siding. There are some drafts to be sure but there always will be with a structure such as this.
In the end it is all about acceptance. I see this home for what it is, and today I not only accept it but I love it. There is uniqueness in every home, just waiting for someone perfectly matched to see the limitations as strengths, the imperfections as comforts and the blemishes a sign of maturity.
Yes, I love this old house!
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