I Am Becoming My Father

The other day, before I lost one job and lost pretty much all hours on the other, I made a list of improvements I’d like to make to our house eventually (key word here, eventually–even before losing most of my income), organized by room.

Kitchen. Paint the walls (first, decide on color: Jesse wants yellow, and I want purple; we’ll probably end up with something completely different). Windows (blinds? curtains?). Island where the little table is now. Pot rack over the island. (And if we’re being really ambitious, I’d love new countertops, preferably in a neutral color, to replace our lovely–ahem, sarcasm–green ones.)

Living Room. Windows (again: curtains? blinds?). Get a long picture shelf from Ikea. Flat-screen TV and new entertainment center.

Back Porch. As in, have a back porch, rather than a “back conrete slab.” Specifically, make conrete slab larger and then attractive with tile or something. Add pergola and plant jasmine or some other beautiful viney plant. Add pretty lights on the pergola, a grill, and a fire pit.

Front Walkway. Make it pretty.

The Yards. Re-do the front landscaping. Plant more rose bushes out back. Plant vegetable garden.

My Dad always has a list of improvements he wants to make on his house, though I doubt he has to write it down. He has it all in his head, complete with a schedule of which project happens first, a plan of action for actually completing said projects, and a way to pay for everything. My list, however, has no schedule, no plan, and no money behind it. But, I’ve got to start somewhere, right?

We’ve been in our house for three and a half years. Hard to believe. I remember when we bought the house–we had been living in the worst apartment either of us had ever lived in. Our ceiling was leaking and then molding. Our air conditioner refused to cool the place, even though we were paying nearly $200 a month in electricity (!!). And there were the roaches, the ants, the spiders…You get the picture. I remember the day we closed on this house. I left the lawyer’s office and drove my little car load of stuff straight to the house. Jesse had to go back to work. I stopped by Subway to get a turkey sub and a Coke and I sat on a cooler in the middle of the kitchen–our kitchen!–and ate that sub, which tasted better than anything from Subway has ever tasted, before or since. I was in our house. The one we owned! (Or, at least, would be paying for until I was 52.)

I still love our house, but three and a half years is a long time to have the same wall colors, the same furniture arranged in the same way. It is for me, anyway. When I was a kid, I used to rearrange my bedroom on an annual basis, or more often if I felt like it, and there was something thrilling about the first night of sleeping in a room that felt completely new.

I do know that at least one of the projects on the list is going to happen, even if the others are becoming more and more “long-term.” Mom and Dad are coming down for my birthday and we’re planting a vegetable garden in the backyard. Which is good, since Dad has a green thumb and has planted plenty of vegetable gardens in his day. I keep hoping I’ve inherited his green thumb, that it’s just been dormant all these years, that I’ll be able to maintain this garden and keep it alive long enough to eat what it produces…I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

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  1. Amy Warkentien
    Posted April 22, 2009 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I feel the same way about projects. At least we are making lists- however so many of our projects have to stay on the list because we don’t have as much of a plan as your Dad did. The house was and is so much better than an apartment. But I remember thinking it would be fun to own a house because I would be able to improve upon it and make it how I wanted it to be. I feel pathetic for not being happy with what I’ve got- God’s has blessed us and all I can think about is what still needs to be done. But come on… a girl needs a front door handle and I haven’t had one of those in a year. :)
    Also, I love rearranging furniture. I used to do the same thing as a kid. I wish our living room furniture was smaller so I could rearrange it. I still do it at least every year in the other rooms.

  2. Erin
    Posted April 22, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I know–isn’t it funny how we’re always looking for things to change? Maybe there’s a way to balance contentment with the fun to be had in home improvement!

    You know, maybe I should try just rearranging the furniture. That is free and can be accomplished in a reasonable time frame. (Of course, I’m in the same boat with the large and heavy furniture…so Jesse will have to help!)

  3. Yana
    Posted April 22, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    That list of projects sounds familiar! I also plan on making improvements to the back yard in the form of a deck, pergola, jasmine-type plants, grill, and a vegetable garden. Thankfully, we were able to do all the painting and window treatments when we moved in, and I am very happy with the way they look. We also want to paint the outside of the house, but deciding on a color for that is nearly impossible!

  4. Erin
    Posted April 22, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Ooh, you’ll have to put up pictures somewhere when you get that backyard project completed. It sounds lovely. I can imagine that deciding on an exterior color would be very difficult–more of a commitment maybe? Seems harder to paint the outside of a house than a room or two inside.

  5. Posted April 25, 2009 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Ha! I too have been making “home improvement” plans. Our Ikea magazine is full of bookmarks now to help me remember the ideas I’ve had. My only trouble… are we staying where we are or moving? Once the decision is made, I’ll probably put more of a “practical plan” behind my ideas. If we are staying here, I agree with all of you… something must change! I’m ready for a fresh new look. If we move… oooh, the possibilities. :) We will rent again, but a new place allows for a lot of dreaming!

    While we linger in a state of indecision, I made changes where I could… my work desk. 😛 Took off a bunch of pictures and moved some things around, and have some “big ideas” that involve 1 lamp, 2 plants, and new pictures.

  6. Erin
    Posted April 25, 2009 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Moving can be a lot of fun–you’re guaranteed something totally new! But even if you stay where you’re at, I’m sure you’ll find great ways to change up the space. You guys have awesome decorating skillz. :) Next time I’m by the office, I will have to come check out your revamped workspace…

  7. Sabrina
    Posted April 26, 2009 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    I want a house! And, well, maybe a husband complete with a schedule of which project happens first, a plan of action for actually completing said projects, and a way to pay for everything. 😉

  8. Zea
    Posted June 12, 2009 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    As with my penchant for list making, I have daily lists and specialized lists (like for Christmas or vacations or something), but I also have long-term lists–those ones for the “someday” that has a hard time arriving. I have a someday home improvement list, too. It is fun to imagine and plan, and yes, eventually some of those things do finally come into fruition. The unfortunate and somewhat ironic thing about home improvement projects is that we rarely have enough free time to do them, that is until we aren’t working, and that usually means we have no money to pay for them! But having the plan is the first step, adn accomplishing parts at a time is still great. I like to remind myself that I have a lifetime to do things, and I don’t *have* to rush and do everything now. (Which is good, since we know we can’t.)

  9. Posted June 12, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    You’re so right Zea. I’m trying to remember that as well–these projects don’t have to be done all at once, and certainly not this instant. Part of the fun is the anticipation anyway. If all the projects were done, then what would I plan for??

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