Eventually, school ends. Workdays come to a close. Vacations last only so long. Careers wind down. But things to do around the house last forever, it seems. I sometimes wonder if you took the sum total of the time that there was nothing that needed to be done around the house, and compared it to the sum to total of the time there was things to do around the house, which would be more? I suppose that if we’d bought a brand new house with brand new furniture and appliances there might be a honeymoon period in which nothing needed to be done around the house. Then again, our tendency seems to be to settle on something, and then change it as soon as we can.
I was thinking about this phenomenon as I considered the growing list of things we have to do around the house.
We need to replace our microwave. Back on July 17, our microwave oven died. It just stopped working, turned off, and no amount of cajoling and prodding will get it to turn back on. We are back to living in the early 1980s. We’ve managed more or less fine without it for more than a month, but we do miss its conveniences, particularly for reheating leftovers, and for heating Kelly’s tea in the morning. Replacing a microwave doesn’t sound like particularly big chore, but it is more involved than I initially thought. There are several steps to the process:
- We have to find a suitable replacement. This meant measuring the current unit to know what size we needed. It is an over-the-stove-mounted microwave and that meant there are a couple of features I wanted to retain: the stove light and the fan. So we need a properly-sized over-the-stove microwave with a stove light and fan.
- We have to compare prices in order to make sure our investment will be worth it and that the thing won’t die a few years from now.
- We have to order the thing.
- We have to uninstall the old unit.
- We have to install the new unit when it arrives.
- We have to reach out to the county to have the old unit picked up. Apparently, you can’t just toss a microwave in the trash because, well, microwaves.
It seems like a lot of work for such a small thing that we haven’t really needed in more than a month, but that’s how it goes.
We need to get rid of the nest wasps have built inside the basketball hoop. One of the things we decided the house needed after we bought it was a basketball hoop in the driveway. We used it quite a bit at first, and then pretty much stopped until a few days ago when the family went out after dinner to play. It didn’t last long. Apparently, wasps had built a nest within the metal tubing that frames the backboard. You could see them clustered there, disturbed by all of the shots that jostled the backboard.
Once, when wasps built a nest outside the backdoor of a house I lived in, I got a spray that you could shoot at the nest, which worked great. But how on earth do you use a spray for a nest that is somewhere within a metal tube, with entry holes barely big enough for the wasps themselves to climb through? Do we have to call an expert for that? Does that mean getting on the phone and comparing prices and all of that? For a nest in a basketball hoop? I wonder how that conversation would go.
“Hello, I need someone to come a remove a wasps nest.”
“Where is the nest located, sir?”
“Inside the piping that supports the backboard of our basketball hoop.”
“Is this some kind of joke, sir?”
Maybe, if we just leave the wasps alone, the cold of winter will take care of them.
Put French doors in my office. When we bought this house, we said we’d put French door between the living room and my office. It has been on my to-do list for over 2 years now with no progress made. This is another one of those things that should be simple, but involves lots of phone calls, estimates, and stuff that I do enough of at work and don’t really want to do at home.
Put a storm door on the front door. I think ours may be the only house on our street that doesn’t have a storm door on the front door of the house. I light having lots of light, and while our house is pretty bright, it would be nice to be able to keep the front door open and have additional light filtered into the house through the storm door.
There are other things that need to be done:
- Several light bulbs are out and need to be replaced.
- One of the security lights out front doesn’t come on when it should.
- All but one of the lights around the perimeter of the deck are out.
- The storage room downstairs needs a complete makeover. I’d like to put shelves and a freezer in there.
Then there are the things that I imagine will eventually need to be done:
- Replace the air conditioner. Every summer I worry that it’s going to give up the ghost. Every summer it surprises me. I think it is attempting to surprise me into complacence. How long can it really last since it was pretty old when we moved in.
- Replace the hot water heater. Every time we go on a trip I worry that it will finally give out. This is why I always shut off the main water valve before we leave town. I check the water heater frequently for signs of wear, rust, or leaks. It’s old but it is hanging in there. I think the water heater is in league with the air conditioner to lull me into complacence.
The problem, of course, is the same problem with mowing a lawn in the spring: even if I could manage to get everything on this list done, by the time I’d finished, the list would have simply grown back and I’d have to start all over again.
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Our central heating boiler was over ten years old when we moved in, and that was 6 years ago. By any reasonable measure it should have bit the dust a while ago, but it keeps on chugging on, reliably delivering heat and hot water. I try not to give it any bad vibes. It might outlast us.
On the other hand, our tumble dryer has been replaced twice in four years.
I wish I could work out how to buy the ‘good ones’.