Advice

Weak in the knees for home maintenance

Conctruction backgroundTerms like new gutters, road maintenance, roof repair, and retaining walls have been getting me excited lately. I’ve also been getting a little tinglely about window treatments, obsessed with lawn upkeep, and would exchange a trip to Italy for a new flagstone patio. Home maintenance in general? I get weak in the knees. I love the freshness of change and the value it brings to my home.

Ten years ago I owned a home and its upkeep was out of necessity, not out of hobby, interest or passion. I painted because the room needed it or I weeded the garden because I didn’t want to be the neighbor everybody whispered about. I was busy starting a real estate career and being a mom to a toddler. I didn’t have time to worry about the mismatched linens, chipped dishes or the cabinet door that didn’t close properly. It was progress if I changed the HVAC air filters more than once a year.

Times have changed and not only do I like doing home improvement and maintenance, but often times it empowers me.

This week my contractors finished installing new gutters. I actually did a happy dance in the spot where huge rain drops would slam into my head every time it rained. The sound of today’s falling rain cascading through the gutter and into the downspout was music to my ears; the sight of the water flowing away from the structure gave me reason to smile. It was the same thrill I use to get when I got a bargain on a great pair of shoes or nabbed the perfect sweater. Next week they’re starting on the fence for my garden and then painting my roof. Long-term projects include repairing my drive-way, removing the wall between my living room and dining rooms and adding a large terraced flagstone patio. YIPPEE!!!!

A few weeks ago I wanted to change the locks and door handles on three exterior doors. I’ve always been disgusted with the hourly rates charged by locksmiths so I thought I’d change the locks myself. After a brief visit to Lowes and some helpful assistance from a gentleman in customer service who keyed all the locks to a single key (for free!), I was prepared to tackle the job. Within 45 minutes my son and I had all three locks changed. When we finished the last door we felt like old pros.  That same weekend I also changed my well’s water filter, trimmed large branches from trees, and secured hooks and brackets throughout the house and out-buildings. It was a great sense of accomplishment. I felt as if there’s nothing I couldn’t tackle.

I’m the first to admit there’s much I can’t do and a professional contractor is needed. For instance, I certainly don’t need to be doing anything septic tank-related. Nor do I need to be dabbling in anything connected to an electric panel. But give me a drill, hammer or saw and watch the magic! Sure I’m a little nervous I might screw something up. But I forge ahead anyway. How bad can it get? The sense of satisfaction out-weigh any damage I might do.

Spring and warmer weather are right around the corner. It’s the perfect time for sprucing up your home, making a few updates, and fixing those little nuisances you’ve been putting off for another time. The time is now! Dive him and have fun. You’ll be glad you did.

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