Sunday, January 04, 2015

The Constant Care and Feeding of Old Homes

I love our house; but it's one of those old homes (I think it's close to 70 years old).  And this means lots of regular upkeep and maintenance.

Since this is the first winter holiday break I've had in a while that didn't involve traveling long distances or hosting relatives visiting from far away, I've had quite a bit of time to tackle some of those home maintenance duties.

And I have to say that I have been more productive in this regard than I thought I'd be.

Our house is one of those that has wood slats and plaster walls.  And living on a swamp with the earth constantly shifting underneath us means that we're going to have what are known as "settling" cracks over time in the plaster.  And where the plaster cracks, the paint peels.  So, I've been doing some paint scraping of the walls in our living room, puttying over the cracks, and repainting.  At least one of our living room walls (the one with the most visible need of repair) is now looking crisp and new.  So, I'm glad about that.

But I'm even more happy that I managed to get downstairs in our guest room and make some serious headway in doing some of that finishing trim work and painting that has been just crying out for attention for about 8 years now, since I rebuilt the room following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. I just had to caulk some molding joints and do some fine trim paint work between door frames and walls (they're different colors, so it's a painstaking and laborious task).  I also painted three doors in that room which had been working just fine, but which were in the unpainted condition in which I first bought them.  And once I get on a roll with such projects, I tend to just add on other little side projects too.  In this instance, I decided to finally build for the room a desk made from an old door that I've had hanging around.  This involved an arduous process of sanding down the old paint off the door, and then repainting the door a fresh color to fit the room colors.  And it also involved building the frame for the door/desk that I can set it down on.  All of which is now done.  I'm just waiting for the semi-gloss paint on the door to dry and then get a piece of glass to lay on top the door, and I can install the door and have the desk ready to go.   I'll take a picture when it's all said and done (hopefully, it won't be another 8 years down the line!!!)

But this is all just the tip of the iceberg; and I hope to continue slowly, but steadily, working on these maintenance items over the next semester.  I'm horrible about before/after pictures (I always forget to take the "before" pictures); but I'll do my best to document the work visually and share it.

I guess I'm also motivated to do all this work because I'm back on a kind of diet (New Year's resolution) in which I'm trying to control meal portion sizes and I'm trying to wean myself from all forms of sweet and sour junk food -- which means I'm going through some withdrawal right now, and working on these home repairs helps to keep my mind off of my cravings.  I see it as a win-win: I'm committed to being healthier and my home is looking better!

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