When we moved to our present house, I really expected to not be doing any more home improvement projects. After our pre-move-in and clean-up I thought the house looked pretty good. Then, Winnie built a massive brick and stone patio over the summer. Once again, I thought that would be the extent of home improvement here.
It was not to be. Right after Thanksgiving, Winnie announced she wanted to redo our kitchen countertops. Of course, the project needed to be completed before Christmas, as we had already planned a Christmas dinner with guests.
Just because we’ve moved to a new old house doesn’t mean home improvements stops. Quite the contrary, Given that we’ve already done just about everything inside this house that needs doing, Winnie decided she really needed to tackle the great outdoors.
Given her love for tile and concrete work, her choice was building a patio – driveway and walkway. Mostly using found materials. As always, she did some excellent work.
In 2008 Winnie and I purchased a second house as investment property. We had settled into our new community of Woodbridge, Virginia, and purchased a home to live in the year prior.
Through a friend, Winnie learned of a house for sale “at a good price.” This turned out to be true. The house, a 1954-vintage masonry-construction house was for sale at an amazingly low price – because it was a total fixer-upper.
So we bought it. This is our old house home improvement story.
So we’re having our first snow for Winter 2018 – 2019. Not too much; the snow just lightly blankets the grass and covers the roofs. But schools are all closed, roads are snarled, and normally-bustling offices are half-empty. All for a little snow.
And now, just like that, the snow stopped. Life goes on.
So the other day a ceiling fell on me. It wasn’t much of a ceiling, as ceilings go. Only about a four-foot by five foot section of wet drywall and sixty year-old very wet rock-wool insulation. And the ceiling didn’t fall very far before it hit me as I was already standing on a chair, using both hands to hold it up while desperately looking for something else for support instead of me on a chair. But it did fall on me and now I understand “sky-is-falling” from a very personal experience.
It gave me a different perspective on life in general though. I discovered than once you’ve had a ceiling fall on you, the rest of the week is a lot better.
So today the wind is blowing hard. Hard enough to shut down governments and schools and force people inside their homes. Power lines are tumbling and trees are dropping. The airports are closed and railroad trains are stopped. All because of wind. Strong winds changed the daily life-plans of millions of people. Maybe strong enough winds blowing long enough can change the direction of history?
It’s cherry blossom festival in our nation’s capital this week. Trees that survived the erratic winter are preening their all for hordes of gawking tourists who come from near and far to admire the temporary pink flowers. Meanwhile, chaos continues apiece in the Charest household eclipsed only by the magnitude of chaos in our centers of government power.
Back in December, Winnie decided that we needed to do some major home improvements. To be fair, our house is about 30 years old and needs some upgrades. So our plans were to redo the flooring in our basement den first, along with repainting. Then we’d move up to the main level and replace the old carpeting with wood flooring and be finished by April. Take off the spring and summer for more important boating and outdoor stuff, then replace the upstairs carpeting with wood flooring in the fall and be finished by Christmas 2016.
So yesterday we entered the time of year colloquially known as “Daylight Savings Time.” For those readers who live in a place civilized enough to not do daylight savings; the concept is that if you cut off the top two inches of a sheet of paper and tape it to the bottom of the sheet, you make the sheet longer.
The people who came up with this idea run the world.
Winnie and I have a considerable amount of experience in home improvement. My expertise goes back to my teen years and I’ve been involved with projects (some of which involved contractors) on each of the five homes I’ve owned. Winnie used to help her uncles pour concrete and lay tile roofs back in China, and has worked with me on all our home improvement projects starting right after hurricane Katrina.
One would think that with all this home improvement experience something fairly simple like installing an over-the-range microwave would be easy.