Monday, November 10, 2008

Exhausting Weekend

When Epu and I were shopping for a house just after a year ago, we thought we wanted a fixer-upper. After all, we were creative, energetic, Epu is a bit handy, and we wanted to get the most for our money.

We ended up with a house that would not be described as a fixer-upper, but that did need a little maintenance and updating. Thank God we did not get a true fixer-upper.

A year later, I feel like we have been working on this damn house weekend after weekend, and yet the house is nowhere near Fixed Up. In fact, it's not even completely set up after a year. There are pieces of furniture that we always meant to buy that we haven't, and the basement is STILL a mountain of half-unpacked moving boxes.

We knew that becoming homeowners would mean a lot more responsibility. I just don't think we could truly predict how very much work the regular upkeep would be, before you can even delve into home improvement. For those of you who haven't bought a house yet, it's really something to think about: Do you have time for lawn care, for (in autumn) filling up holes and cracks to keep out cold and rodents, for shoveling, for repairs that would ordinarily be taken care of by the landlord? For us, I know it was still the right decision -- even though we feel like slaves to the house we are free of the annoying presence in our lives of landlords or condo co-owners.

So to encourage myself that some progress is in fact being made, let me share what we accomplished this weekend:

Epu: Re-plastered around the heating grates he had removed earlier this year to get the lead paint off of (apparently removing them left big crumbling gaps in the walls), re-located and reinstalled the pot rack that had fallen last week and plastered the resulting hole in the ceiling, searched for ande located (some of) the heating grate hardware, replaced two of the many missing heating grates, trimmed the spray insulation he had sprayed last week in the basement, replaced the washer and dryer and other basement stuff he had moved to spray the insulation (he had to fill cracks because we had a mouse in the house and he wanted to make sure no more could get in). Installed bike hangers in the garage and hung bikes for the season. Broke apart a wooden pallet in the garage for firewood (for the outdoor fire pit), raked some leaves (didn't make much of a dent in the maple tree fallout). He also served two breakfasts to the kids and did a few dishes. This is what I was aware of; he probably did a few other things as well.

Me: Watched the kids while he did all this. Served and cleaned up after two lunches and dinners. Got my coupons together and took Nutmeg to Jewel to get a bunch of free groceries, then went back for more after kids were in bed. Blogged about those groceries. Babysat coop members kids for four and a half hours, during which time I also raked some leaves (again no dent, partially because the kids actually dumped the entire can I had gathered the second I went into the garage to search for the heating grate hardware for Epu), cleaned up after visiting kids' art projects, partially organized kitchen to make room for winter wear, dealt with fussy teething toddler, got the last of the outgrown baby clothes sorted into bins and got about 10 bins into the crawlspace to clear out basement, washed laundry.

By the time the kids were in bed Sunday night, Epu collapsed to watch a football game. I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, then put a movie on my laptop and put away about five loads of laundry. Well, it felt _kind of_ like relaxing.

I like Epu's list a lot better because his accomplishments stay done once they are done. That's the drag of "women's work," eh? Never done, you just have to do it all again the next day. Oh well -- the most satisfying part of the weekend (aside from the free groceries) was getting an hour or so alone in the basement organizing clothes and getting them out of the main basement. Cause there was a job DONE, with noticeable results.

So what to do today, with no preschool today or tomorrow? (parent-teacher conferences) I was going to take the kids to the free program at the Garfield Conservatory, but Nutmeg doesn't want to go. So I guess I'll bundle them up and try to really make a dent in the leaf raking this time.


Sara said...

I feel your pain. I moved into our house a year and a half ago and I still haven't completely unpacked. And now we're trying to figure out how we are going to fit another person into our house, and we're considering an's staggering to think about all the work that has to be done.

babyboyg said...

Someone told me that once you own a home, you never have "nothing to do on the weekends."

Boy, that is the truth. A year and a half into owning out here and there seems to be more to do than when we moved in.

Good luck in the continued adventures in homeownership!

Jeevita said...

So true about the women's work part. That's what I hate about it too. There are no lasting results and you pretty much do them over and over every day, every week...and so on.