My house is in an accelerating state of entropy, and I don’t want to spend any money on it until I mortgage my kids to get the full-on expansion/kitchen renovation I’ve been dreaming of. The $8000 paint job of 6 years ago is peeling all over. With wood clapboards from the 1940’s it’s no surprise. There’s soft, rotting wood everywhere. Our front yard light is attached to the top of an old 8×8 (actual dimensions) piece of used-to-be-solid timber, which is now spewing sawdust from a massive crack, like a hollowed-out tree trunk that’s been standing dead for a decade. Half the rain gutters are rusting and falling apart. Our rear exit storm door has no knob; I open the latch by sticking a screwdriver through the hole where the knob mechanism should be. The storm door on our main entrance doesn’t close all the way, probably from moisture swelling at the bottom. The automatic garage door opener won’t close the door anymore unless we hold the wall button ad nauseum for a manual override. There’s a broad and shallow sinkhole forming in the front lawn, right where the water main comes in from the street. The gas line and meter are scary rusty. The driveway has tectonic cracks running its length. The concrete pad outside the kitchen door thumps hollow if you jump on it, suggesting significant erosion of the earth beneath.
It’s no better inside. We’ve had to remove 6 or 7 panels from the drop ceiling in the basement for various systems repairs, and we can’t get them back in. The dishwasher broke 6 months ago. We can only pull it out to replace it if (a) we rip out the renovation tile the prior owner laid over existing flooring, or (b) we disconnect the sink from all the plumbing and lift the entire counter up. So the dishwasher is a dish drain now. The drains on all our sinks are slow, and the toilets all clog easily. I’m convinced there’s a problem with the vent stack design. The living room hardwood floor is trashed with scratches and gouges. The carpeting in the bedrooms is covered in nasty stains. The guest bathroom toilet jiggles when you sit down on it, probably a broken gasket. The boiler for our heating system is making raunchy Harley noises (potato potato potato) whenever it starts up; it’s probably only a matter of weeks before whatever motor is making that sound breaks. I’m just hoping we make it to warmer weather.
Today I put some pork ribs in the oven for a slow roast at 275 degrees. Dry rub to die for, spicy and sweet. I like them to go for 5 or more hours, while I run around delivering minors to places or running errands. Today I happened to stick around just long enough that I was still home when the oven started singing to me with a string of unusual beeps. I ran over and the range display screen told me “F 2.”
Shit shit shit. “F U 2,” my display screen replied. I opened the oven and saw that the ribs were already blackened, just 45 minutes in. Wrong. I looked around and saw that the broiling element was on. Also wrong. Short version: range broken. At least this problem I can fix without breaking the bank, but the new range doesn’t arrive until Tuesday so my June Cleaver kitchen routine is on “pause” until then.
There just aren’t enough hours in a year to take care of all this stuff. I worry that huge colonies of ants are going to start migrating into my home soon, bringing with them creeping vines and a sub-tropical malaise. My house makes me feel like I’m trapped in A Hundred Years of Solitude, the world and my gene pool slowly decaying into a compost heap. This is bad. Come spring, some flowers will push up and I hope they’ll bring up some energy to share with me for home repairs.