Home improvements


My friend Andrew over at Andrew’s View of the Week, besides being a poet, humorist, author and wise (cracking?) sage, is quite the woodworker and handyman. Show off.

His current project is building an enclosed raised bed garden. But, in the course of my following his blog, he has reported on completing a myriad of other projects around the house. I get exhausted just reading about his DIY exploits. Show off.

But really, I do adore him. In a jealous AGMA sort of way…

Hubs and I used to be handy around the house. Real handy. We did a lot to our first house, purchased in 1978. We were young, strong, foolish and broke back then. AGMA remembers the agony of steaming the wallpaper off of the first floor plaster walls then sanding the walls down to get them smooth in order to paint them. We must have eaten plaster dust for the next 2 years…


We put an island in our kitchen and installed a new countertop on all of the cabinets. We built shelves and installed tile around the fireplace. I made our curtains, and stained and installed interior shutters.

We did plumbing and electrical projects too. With some very mixed results… There always seemed to be elusive leaks that defied detection on the plumbing projects. The good news about the electrical projects is that nobody got electrocuted.

But we needed a larger home when our family went from two to three to four in a short 18 months.

Our second house was an upgrade. We went from 3 to 4 small bedrooms, 1 to 1.5 bathrooms and driveway parking to a 2 car garage. But the house needed work so we rolled up our sleeves and went at it again. It was just a bit more challenging this time around with a baby and a toddler.

We were restless though. Like many other young families, we were in search of that panacea, “a good school district”. And we found it. And moved again…

We stayed in that house for the next 15 years. Still 4 bedrooms, but we scored a tiny master bathroom so we were up to 2.5 bathrooms. AGMA was in 3 toilet heaven.

And you know how I feel about toilets.

But home improvements in this house were few and far between. It was a season of busyness with kids, work, volunteer “stuff” and aging parents, so there wasn’t time for DIY. And $$ was still pretty tight so we couldn’t pay anybody else to do the work.

So the dismal kitchen that was in the house when we moved in in 1987 was the same dismal kitchen when we sold the house in 2002.

We did replace things as they “died” (dishwasher, garbage disposal, carpeting, etc), but we did very little by way of improvement. We did make a half hearted attempt to finish the basement. Clearly an amateur effort, but good enough for a gathering place for kids and friends.

2002 started our new, innovative approach to home improvements.

We literally improved our “home” by trading up. As in going from one home to another on a regular basis. We moved and upgraded before things had time to die or break or go out of style.


Since 2002, AGMA’s lived in 6 – count ‘em – six different homes. Other than the home we’re in now, the longest we’ve ever lived in any of of them is 3.5 years.

Therein lies AGMA’s current dilemma. This past June, we celebrated 4 years in our lovely townhouse.

Waaayyyy too long if you ask me.

Things are starting to need attention/improvement. Our alarm system hasn’t worked for the past 6 months. We have like 20 foot ceilings and our tallest ladder is 12 feet so we have multiple burned out light bulbs in closets. A door in my bathroom cabinet is catywhampus. And we have a built-in, inoperable Jacuzzi tub in our bathroom. Nothing says 2001 like a Jacuzzi tub…

The roof and all of the kitchen appliances are 15 years old.   As well as 2 of the 3 (count ‘em three!) HVAC units.  It’s past time to replace the 3 year air filters (to the tune of $500 each) on the fancy, smacy air filtration units that are attached to 2 of our HVAC units. When we put them in 3+ years ago, AGMA had no idea we’d still be living here and have to replace them yet again.  Ouch.

Our town home has great bones, but the flesh is starting to sag a bit.

Just like AGMA.

So the question is, do we do it the old fashioned way and actually replace/upgrade things. Or do we move. Again.

The moving on a regular basis strategy really worked for us. Even through the housing crisis, we managed to upgrade in amenities and location, and still be in the black. Our home now is probably the nicest we’ve live in and is in a fabulous neighborhood in Atlanta.

But moving is hard. Really hard. Especially as you get older. Even when it’s a “corporate” move and somebody else does most of the packing and moving.

The last move nearly did AGMA in.

So I guess it’s time to put on the big girl AGMA pants, and start dealing with that sagging flesh. Hubs checked out of the DIY thing years ago, so I’m going to be on the hunt for a good handyman.

I forget, where do you live again Andrew?