It seems in the last couple weeks that our house has been revolting against us. Whether big or small, we've had a slew of things go wrong and the mounting list of repairs has me feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and convinced we'll never finish our endless master bathroom renovation, or any other project for that matter.

We've spent a lot of time talking about the hot water heater's attempt to turn our basement into an indoor swimming pool, but this has impact far beyond our need to shower with buckets. In fact, the basement that was once a disgusting space has gotten worse. While I'm happy to say that after a week without hot water, we can once again shower, do laundry, and run the dishwasher (we'll fill you all in on the details later this week), but our normally hoarder-esque subterranean space is now even more disorganized. Having to rip out the hastily installed (by misguided owners in the 1980s) and essentially propped in place "finished" temporary wall in the basement has left much of our junk displaced, to the point it's difficult to get down the basement stairs.

Before we can claim any sort of victory, we need to tackle a massive organization effort. But at this stage of the game we're paralyzed by the mountains of clutter and distracted by our unexpected repairs.

In addition to the basement, the decorative air intake return vent cover outside of our bedroom transom no longer stays shut. It now looks like a sad flap of ornate metal that mocks me from its perch every night as I retire to our room. 

After a bit of investigation, it seems one of the support pieces of wood on the magnetic catch has broken, making it so the magnetized closure no longer supports the heavy metal grate. Trust us, we've tried to get it to stay shut about 4,000 times since it opened. We'll have to tackle that small project soon, as it looks ridiculous, like our hallway's mouth is just hanging open.

Jumping on the bandwagon, the large clock in our upstairs hallway has also timed out. We thought it was just a dead battery a few weeks ago when it stopped running, but now I think the motor in the clock has seen better days. We'll put this one on the list too, but admittedly it's lower priority. After all, our antique grandfather clock stopped running years ago and we haven't yet made the time to fix that. Ugh.

Because they didn't want to feel left out, Lulu and Mel have also been doing their fair share of...redecorating. While normally very well behaved but a little neurotic, Lulu has let her anxiety get the best of her as of late. I kept noticing fuzz on the sun porch rug under one of the chairs, and chalked it up to the rug doing some natural shedding that was just collecting under a chair. What we came to realize last night is that Lulu has been scratching at the rug under each of the chairs, to the point where she has created holes in the rug. Seriously? 

And don't even get me started on how her nails have scratched and dented up the floors to the point they all need to be refinished. It makes me crazy every time I look at these divots in our heart pine stair treads.

Mel isn't an innocent bystander in all of this. You may want to avert your eyes if you're faint of heart and prefer not to look at cat vomit, but this was the scene I came home to one day last week after work.

Apparently Mel had been sitting on the white cabinet in the sun porch when he felt the need to do what so many cats do. Yes, he barfed up a hair ball, and well, the rest was history. While we're no stranger to the lovely look of cat vomit, he usually does is the courtesy of finding an inconspicuous location on the floor in the middle of our walking path, perfect for us to step in with our stocking feet. But not this time, no sir! It looked like we had started decorating early for Halloween. 

Moving on, our much maligned sink faucet has spring a leak again, only this time it's from the hot water handle. The water slowly trickles out of the handle and forms a puddle on the butcher block behind the sink. With butcher block counters, we're having to constantly wipe it up for fear it will dry and crack the block. Go ahead and put that on our list of "things to fix" while you're at it.

And while we're talking about things to fix, let's not forget about what I mentioned earlier, the grandfather clock that's had a broken weight rope since 2010 and has read 4:43 since that day. No, this obviously isn't a new house ailment, but it's one we'd still like to address. We just need to take it apart, take photos, and then ask our blogger friend and clock expert, JC of My 1923 Foursquare, for a little guidance (he offered long ago), but we've needed to do this for over 3 years now. Let's just say, I don't think it's going to happen next week.

So, I'm overwhelmed with house stuff. We're overwhelmed with house stuff. And there's so much stuff going on outside of house stuff (like day job stuff, life stuff, and other fun stuff we can help but partake in) that we feel like we're never going to get a handle on house stuff. This is not the worst problem to have by any means, and I know we'll eventually get on top of it all again, but I've never been accused of being a patient person, and what little patience I have is wearing thin. I like good results and I like them now. Is that so wrong?

The last time stuff went wrong in a string like this, we blamed Mrs. Bryan, our home's first owner, and her spooky ways. Perhaps she's upset about something else and is just trying to prove a point. Or perhaps stuff just happens. I can't say for certain.

In an attempt to wrangle our tasks into submission, it may be time for a good old fashioned DIY punch list. One that will simultaneously raise our mounting blood pressure and give us a clear goal to work towards. After all, the best way to win the battles of the present is to mount an attack with an eye on the future.

At the same time I'm going to politely ignore the other lengthy "repairs" list I made for us months ago. It has at least 20 things on it, and I'm pretty sure we've checked off two. 

Well, at the very least we can ignore all of our problems, go to baseball games, eat cotton candy, and enjoy life. It's procrastination at its finest. 

Does that sounds like a good plan? I think it does.

Comments 15


10/1/2014 at 4:30 PM

Walgreens is in the payoffs - that should take your mind off your troubles for awhile! Also, be glad Mel doesn't do what my dog does - she drags a blanket or article of clothing over said vomitus, so I may not find it for a loooong time, and usually when I'm doing the 5-minutes-before-guests run.

10/1/2014 at 4:45 PM

It's a good plan (and I'm a fellow procrastinator and expert enabler). Your team is kicking butt, outdoor weather is beautiful -- enjoy it while you can. Unfortunately it will be cabin fever time soon enough, and you'll have no choice but to be confronted by all of these projects.

I'm sure our to-do list would eclipse just about anyone's but I'm going to willfully ignore all that until we're forced indoors for good (ugh).

10/1/2014 at 8:41 PM

Cat vomit is a way of life. Ditto with impassible basement, dog nails on pine floors, and all of the other big and little things that pile up on the mythical To Do list. It something that old house people understand ... that confounds those who are NOT old house people.

10/1/2014 at 10:51 PM

This sound like a typical day at the Chihuahua Ranch. Something's always going wrong, and my house is only 40 years old.

Merilee Swain
10/1/2014 at 10:59 PM

Yep. I get it. We've got some yard renovations we've been trying to save up to do for several years now and every year something happens that HAS to be fixed that eats up that money. This year we've got several cracked/broken windows that need glass replaced and the garage door broke last week. So the yard's been pushed to next year (again).

10/2/2014 at 12:37 AM

It's amazing, really, how all the appliances and systems in one's house tend to give out at exactly the same time. Several years ago our washer, dryer, fridge, stove, and furnace all gave up the ghost in the same month. No help for it, just one of those unfortunate things. I guess that's why they call it "trouble." Glad to hear you have your hot water back. Looking forward to hearing about your experiences with tankless installation, as it's something we're considering for our 1875 house in PA.

Laura C
10/2/2014 at 9:41 AM

Hang in there, Wendy - it will all come together, eventually. In the meantime, enjoy the amazing fall weather while it lasts!

10/2/2014 at 11:10 AM

I have a feeling that most home owners are the same - long lists of things that really should get fixed, but there's always more exciting things to take care of. I'm the same - my foyer light broke - the glass part of the bulb came off, but left the metal part in the socket, and it took me weeks to finally turn off all the power and get it fixed. I got so used to getting ready in a dark foyer I now don't remember to turn on the light even though it's now working ;)

10/2/2014 at 11:43 AM

Ahhhhh the "To do" list. My parents moved into their home in 1988 and still have the same list hanging on the fridge. It has three things crossed off. Don't panic, you're doing great.

10/2/2014 at 1:50 PM

In case you need one more thing to keep you from your to-do list, check out the live web cam at the top of the Washington Monument.

10/3/2014 at 5:32 AM

My suggestion if I may: do the most visible quick projects first, to get the immediate impact. Then attack your whatever is causing you the most pain. Maybe the basement on the theory that winter weather will be coming soon.

Good luck. I've enjoyed reading of your adventures and admiring the outcomes.

10/4/2014 at 8:08 PM

OK, that looks like the smallest cotton candy treat ever....unless Wendy is smiling because she already ate most of it!! I feel so productive when I am creating a To Do list....a year later I wonder why I made so many top priority that never got done!!!

10/4/2014 at 9:16 PM

Alex: the offer still stands, but as with all sorts of projects, the challenge is finding the time to work on it.Alt smile

10/6/2014 at 8:39 AM

Well, we don't own our house, but I still feel like I understand what you mean. Life sometimes has a way of feeling like it's ganging up on you.

I've been feeling so overwhelmed lately with home projects as well - mainly because sick family has taken priority over being at home for 3+ months - so I finally made a little post-it note triage station on the [blank after 4 years] living room wall.
I wrote each project I'd like to do (ideally pre-baby) on a post-it, and then started arranging them by priority and category. It was really helpful because I was able to kind of waterfall the projects - i.e. I can't paint the nursery until I move my office and closet out of the room, so some projects are dependent on others. It's helping us prioritize in the little time we do have to work on things.

Of course I'm sure a computer program would help with this...I thought seeing the on the wall, though, would help me stay focused.

Even though they're kind of #firstworldproblems for both you and me, I hope you guys can get a handle on things. It can be so frustrating and depressing when you feel it spiraling out of control!

10/6/2014 at 6:30 PM

That is quite a list… I don't blame you for wanting to fleeAlt smile And he, it's necessary to take the good things with the bad, so you don't go insane. A nice outing is just the ticket.

For a very, very short-term holdover on the leaky faucet, I'd try putting a loop of cotton string around the base of the handle and letting the end hang into the sink. It should work as a wick, so the water at least doesn't pool on the wood. If it works, you at least don't have to worry about the counter while you figure out what to do with the faucet, fix or replace.

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