When you mull over your favorite Tom Hanks movie – as you sometimes can – there is an assortment to choose from.
Movies like “Philadelphia”, “Forrest Gump”, “The Green Mile” and even “Toy Story” pull the strings of the heart, while “Apollo 13” and “Saving Private Ryan” appeal to our action heroes. interiors.
However, the image of Hanks pouring a bucket of water into a clawfoot tub as she collapsed to the floor, shattering scattered pieces of porcelain, always placed “The Money Pit” at the top of my list.
Lately, I find myself complaining about Walter Fielding, played by Hanks in the film. After buying an older home in need of a bit of attention, every project he encounters suffers one comedic hurdle after another before finally calling the pros. Each specialist contractor estimates that the job will be completed in “two weeks”.
“Two weeks,” in the case of my house, spanned 10 years, with almost all projects taking much longer than they should due to the quirks of the house.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, my husband and I decided to embark on several long-awaited projects for our 94-year-old home, just like everyone else decided to do with their home last year.
We tackled rebuilding our basement stairs once we discovered they weren’t secure to anything. We replaced the closet doors in our master bedroom, which had an opening that didn’t appear to be built with a level, so we had to resort to vintage plumb bob to establish the true center of the door. We also upgraded our toilets to models that did not occasionally require a hand in the tank to manually flush the toilet.
But several other items on our laundry list needed a professional touch.
We had our gutters eviscerated after small maple trees started growing last spring and then started to change color in the fall. We hired a tree service to remove several “weak trees” from our property that could rarely handle a bird perched on it without dropping a branch but could withstand a derecho. This project gave way to a newly built garden shed that my husband took over – and it cost double what we budgeted for due to the ever increasing cost of wood. We also had a gas fireplace insert installed, as well as the exterior of our house painted.
The latter produced probably the most dramatic and costly change – and for the entire neighborhood to see.
After leaving for work one morning from a house that could use a fresh coat of paint, I returned to a house that appeared to be used for missile testing.
The brown wood peered through the remnants of white paint clinging to the siding until the end of its life. Our quaint shutters had been removed and tarps and ladders were strewn across the yard, along with dried sheets of paint that had not survived the tyranny of the pressure washer or the scraper.
As a tribute to “The Money Pit,” I sighed and offered Walter’s memorable line, “Ahh, home crap home.”
My husband and I considered hanging a large sign in the front yard that said, “Don’t worry. It will be beautiful. Really. Two weeks.”
Anyone who has owned an aging home knows that such businesses tend to take the “much worse” route before they get to “much better”. In fact, when I bought the house a decade ago, I remember a minor breakdown in the dining room after my husband and I had to resort to razor blades to slice and peel off the paper. painted when nothing else could remove it.
You really don’t know the sweet taste of success until you’ve conquered the wallpaper. To this day, I can’t look at things without getting irrationally enraged.
My husband and I suffered minor injuries during our attempts to improve and beautify the house – him with his hand in a cast after an incident that left an elongated drill bit bent and a broken bone in his hand and me. taking a nail in the foot, resulting in an emergency room visit and a tetanus vaccine.
While there is some satisfaction (and savings) in being do-it-yourselfers, we have recently appreciated the help of local professionals – especially our house painters who have withstood the 90 degree heat and humidity. to make our house look like more of the gem that it is.
And true to form, it only took two weeks.