They Don’t Make Them Like That Anymore

It’s all rain here today.  Generally this is my kind of day because it makes you feel all cozy and you don’t have to feel guilty for curling up in bed with the baby all day.  Everyone forgives you tht litle luxury on a cold rainy day.  Oona is napping now, and instead of napping with her, I have been inspecting the rain’s effect on the house.

Normally when it rains this hard our bedroom window leaks pretty badly and the gutters out front become overwhelmed and pour water directly into the front garden.  Today the window is dry but the front walk and garden have become totally ponded over.  There are two forces at work here.  One is, in fact the miserably inadequate gutters (which are totally clean of debris, by the way.  They’re not clogged, they just suck).  The other is drainage.  Our house simply sits where the water naturally wants to drain into.  It flows down the driveway, turns just before the house, hits the stone edging between the front garden and the walkway and pools up there.  Whenever it rains we have an awful lot of water flowing directly at the foundation and sometimes resting there for a day or two until it dries out.

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Now, maybe I am mistaken, but I would think that when the builders are preparing a site to build on they’d have to be sure that this sort of thing doesn’t happen.  Of course, you’d also think they’d be sure to make the house square as well.  I don’t think we have one wall, window or doorway that is even or level.  Even though we are the first people to live in this house we have never met the builder.  If we ever did, as you can well imagine we’d have some choice words for him/her/them.  It’s too bad that we’d have the kind of problems that we do out of a brand new house, because I really do love the house and the property.  We have a nice amount of acreage and great neighbors.  But I have been thinking about a lot of things lately.

The last time I saw my grandfather we were talking about my house and the myriad issues we were concerned about (like will our well dry up this summer??) and he was astonished we would have any problems at all, considering the house was only 3 years old!  My grandparents house was built in the earlier part of the 1900’s and he could not recall it having any major problems.  Only what you’d expect would need upkeep and repair over the majority of a century.  They really don’t build them like they used to.  This, my friends, really burns me up, because I have always wanted an old house.  You know, a beautiful old colonial farmhouse or saltbox or tollhouse style house with some real history and great bones.  That’s always been the dream, but it’s also been something I had talked myself out of because all you hear about is the potential financial disaster an old house can be.  All of the renovating, repairing, replacing.  And then I see my now 4 year old back deck made from inferior wood and crappy workmanship and know that it will need to be replaced, and sooner rather than later.  I can see the studs popping through the ceilings, and our floors make horrible creaking noises already.  I see all that and I remember my grandfather shaking his head in incredulity.  And then I wonder why I thought a new house would be better?  And I will admit, though I hate to do it, because my husband is always ready to cut his losses and drop this house like a bad habit, that I have been dreaming a little bit more lately about those old colonials.  That I’ve been picturing my family in rooms with old wide plank flooring and real woodburning fireplaces.  Even still I love the house I am in, problematic or no.  It is surely a darn site better than my husband’s ideal home: a concrete dome.  Domes are actually pretty neat, and some of them are quite stunning.  They are also nigh indestructible, which is appealing during tornado season, I’ll tell you that!  But while Paul is techie and space age, I am quaint and old fashioned.  I can’t actually see myself living happily in a dome home.

So for now I’ll keep my imperfect neo-colonial and continue to make it what I and the family need it to be.  But don’t tell Paul I am still dreaming.

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