The Albatross


{Originally written in 2008 and revised today} At times our house feels like an albatross around our neck and sometimes it feels like a sanctuary.  Lately, the albatross is winning.    The list of tasks to fix this house – even what would be necessary to do before selling – are endless and, by the time we get them all done, it’ll be time to start over!

Our latest project is a half bath in the basement. We have wanted to do this for a long, long time. Unfortunately it is not coming together as quickly as we would like. We can’t afford to hire someone and my husband lacks full knowledge and expertise for drywalling. Professional (paid) tradespeople don’t want a small job and friends aren’t able to help.

I’m tired.  We both are. Tired of the upkeep and the updating.  It’s not that big of a house but right now it feels huge and unwieldy and like someone who’s stayed too long at the party (it is over 25 years old and it shows).


  • Removed the wall-to-wall wallpaper in every room
  • Chipped out the Easy-Brick “trim” around the entryway into the kitchen
  • New hot water tank (2000)
  • Electronic air cleaner (2003)
  • Air conditioning (2002)
  • New dishwasher (2005)
  • New fridge (2002)
  • New stove (2013)
  • New front entry door (2001)
  • New windows or new glass in window casings in almost every room
  • New baseboards, flooring, window coverings
  • Completely re-developed family room in basement with new carpet, built-ins, lighting, window treatments, paint.
  • New light fixtures in kitchen, master bedroom, hallway, office
  • Repainted completely.
  • New linoleum in bathrooms and new carpet on stairs, lower landing  (2006)
  • New higher -end walnut stained 8 mm laminate flooring in bedrooms, living room, hallway (2006)
  • New baseboards and trim throughout (2005-2006)
  • New low flush toilets in bathrooms (2006)
  • Extensive landscaping and gravel RV pad
  • Ceilings repainted (2006)
  • Interior doors replaced / repainted
  • New high efficiency furnace (2010?)
  • New drywall in laundry/furnace room (2010)
  • New washer/dryer (2010)
  • Kitchen gutted and replaced (2011)
  • Roof replaced on garage and house (2011 I think)
  • Fence replaced (2012)

To do:

  • Replace bathtubs
  • Repair fireplace
  • Re-do concrete walkways/steps
  • New flooring in one room in basement
  • Re-do deck
  • Finish painting doors and trim
  • Re-paint the trim around the door and window
  • New complete bay window system in living room
  • Replace windows in garden doors in kitchen

I blame those design shows on HGTV:  houses listed for sale now have to be in darn near perfect, move-in ready condition.  So even if we were to list, and buy something newer that’s move-in ready, a lot of the improvements on the “to-d0” list would have to be completed.

Home ownership: SO completely over-rated.