Monday, June 4, 2012

Old houses are assholes

Hey!  Wanna hear a funny story?  I mean, it’s not a funny story that will make you laugh, more like a story that, if I don’t pretend like I’m laughing will probably make me cry a little.

When we moved into our house, right before Sebastian was born, we experienced a myriad of problems, one right after the other.  From faulty wiring that almost caused us to lose our insurance THE DAY WE SIGNED THE PAPERS, to basement waterproofing nonsense, to a leaky roof that, even though we’ve had replaced, still leaks no matter how many times we call the roofers back to fix the problem it never gets fixed.  They finally just stopped returning our calls.

We’ve had termites and air conditioning problems and just this weekend we had a leaky water heater.  We have tree lines growing into our sewers so every six months or so we (by ‘we’ I mean Chris, obviously) have to run a snake down the pipe or our basement floods.  Someone took the counter weights out of our ridiculously old windows for who knows what reason so that if we want to open the windows, which we do frequently, we have to prop them up.  Some of them we have to take completely out.  Our bedroom floor is tilted.  There is a freakishly thick layer of adhesive under our carpet on top of the really nice hardwood floors, so if we did want to refinish them, which we most definitely do, we would have to find a way to remove the adhesive first because no one will agree to sand them down.  And the carpet is the cheapest, most depressing one the previous owners could find and so six months after we moved in it was in desperate need of replacement.  We’ve been living with since then while it becomes ravaged by time and messy children.

We have a fireplace, but it’s been closed off so we can’t use it.

The back room, which was added in the ’80s, has I’m estimating zero insulation, so it’s either really hot or really cold back there. 

We’ve had pipes bust or leak or something under the kitchen sink so everything in the cabinet got drenched and the whole mess had to be fixed.  We’ve had toilets stop working and farm scene paneling that had to be painted over. 

We had a bee hive in a post on our front porch.  We had weird landscaping, complete with a half-broken archway that had to be updated.  We have a garage that someone painted purple and brown and white.  We have more tacky latticework than anyone could ever want, but that we can’t take down without spending lots of time updating everything.  We have a grapevine that is probably 30 years old and huge but that has a fungus and so every year the grapes wither and die before we can harvest them.

I’m positive I’m forgetting something, but I know that if Chris was writing this he would be able to list everything thoroughly because he’s the one who fixes everything that he can, he’s the one worrying and stressing the most when this stuff happens.

 I know that old houses come with problems.  I know that we will always have issues, even with a new house.  But a break would be nice.

Last week we ordered new appliances for the kitchen.  Ours have needed to be replaced since we moved in, but they were functional and it wasn’t an essential expense, unlike the thousands of dollars we spent to replace the (still leaking) roof.

Our only issue was the refrigerator, which all the sudden stopped working not long after we moved in, until, of course, Chris moved it to the basement to be able to work on it after his parents gave us their old one.  Then it cooled right down and has worked fine as a homebrew refrigerator ever since. 

Our dishwasher quit awhile ago, maybe a year, but once again, it wasn’t essential to fix it.  I just spend all day washing dishes, but no matter.

And the stove, well, it still works.  The electric pilot went out, but we just turned on the gas and lit it with a lighter.  I mean, yeah, sometimes Adele would turn on the gas when I wasn’t looking, thus flooding the house with noxious fumes and probably killing some of our brain cells, but once I figured out that the knobs came off we were fine. 

And then the barrier holding the items in the door of the refrigerator broke off maybe a year ago?  Six months?  You could still put stuff in there but if you pulled the door open too hard everything fell in the floor, including the milk that busted all over the place that one time.

So.  Once we had a little extra money, which almost never happens, we decided it was time.  At first we were just going to get a dishwasher.  And then we decided that a stove would be a good idea, too, especially since his gigantic brew pots have caused the top to bow in the middle a bit, so everything is cooked unevenly.  And then I also convinced Chris that since we were getting the other two anyway, we might as well go ahead and get the refrigerator, too.

And today was the day.  You guys.  You have no idea how excited I was, even though we (Chris) had had to redo some pipe work and electrical outlet things because of the store’s policy on where things were supposed to be.  I don’t claim to understand the process.  I just know that Chris spent a lot of time working in the basement this weekend.

The delivery guys were early, which was even better.

My exhilaration was short lived.

Would you like to see where my new dishwasher and stove are?

Would you like to see where the old ones are, which were supposed to be hauled away, never to be seen again?

Apparently we need a shutoff for the gas stove upstairs, not down in the basement.  And apparently we need a shutoff for the water for the dishwasher upstairs, also not in the basement.

And apparently I need to pull that bottle of tequila out of my fancy new refrigerator, the only appliance that was installed today.

Old houses kind of suck sometimes.

Let’s look at my refrigerator to make us all feel better.  I have to throw away the first two gallons of water and ice from the door so I don’t poison myself, but it couldn’t be any worse than the gas fumes I’ve been breathing in ever since Adele learned how the knobs on the stove work.


  1. oh friend. that sucks. love the new fridge! any wine in there?

    1. Not in the fridge, but we have a crapload in the basement! Chris just bottles the one he was making!

  2. Why did you buy this money pit?

    1. The closets smelled like the ones at my grandparents' house when I was growing up.

  3. Wooooooooah! Kick that old house in the testicles and run!


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