this old house

Although I was allegedly successful a while back in my search for a decent house painter — allegedly because the guy is supposed to show up some time before my birthday, and that day is fast approaching — my work has only just begun. These home repair projects have a way of snowballing.

I’m currently barreling down a very slippery slope of home repair — one that began as a simple Screen Door Issue. By the time I’m done, I fully expect this project to have snowballed into a three-storey neo-Georgian facade, an arts-and-crafts-inspired laundry room, and a four-acre formal garden with orgy-worthy fountains.

One can only hope.

Just as a healthy reminder and reality check, this is the house in question:

Garden plot, before planting

Yeah, I know. The gutters. I’m on it, OK?

Now they say I need a new front door. I am skeptical about this, but let’s assume for now that this is true. So my Dad, who still nominally owns the house, called Some Guy (it’s always Some Guy, whatever needs doing around the house) to take a Looksie and give us an Estimate.

So Some Guy showed up while I was at work last week and dropped his card off. I called him back the next day to impress upon him that I Am The Decider, and that he should not act on anything door-related until he hears from me.

Because, see, my Dad thinks I want a front door with windows in it. Little beveled glass windows, he says, to let in the sunshine.

Dad craves sunshine like a cat. He has seasonal affective disorder, or at least that is what he shouts as his train pulls out of the station every spring as he hightails it to New Orleans to whoop it up for a few weeks at Jazz Fest.

Dad and I have a lot in common. The origins of our shared affection for New Orleans, however, are illustrative of some of our differences.

Dad likes Nola because it is considerably friendlier with the equator than Massachusetts is, and because it annually wraps him in a warm, sunny embrace each spring, stuffing him silly with crawfish po-boys and zydeco-dancin’ wimmin.

I prefer to think of New Orleans as a place known primarily for its loose reputation as a headquarters for allegedly fictional vampires.

Does someone who still admits to liking Anne Rice sound like someone who likes cute little cut-glass windows in her front doors?

My other fear is that Dad would choose a strictly utilitarian door of the industrial steel core, gun-metal gray variety. Since my front door is also the inside of my living room, I would tend to vote against this sort of aesthetic decision as well.

So I’ve decided to stand my ground as a conservator of an important architectural landmark. This house is one of the last untouched, unrehabbed, unapologetic Cape Cod cottages, built to last in 1950 by my very own grandfather. It must be preserved, as a proud testimony to the pre-McMansion days of yore.

But you know, I really wouldn’t mind a laundry room.

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