Ahh, the joys of homeownership

I think I finally understand why my husband hates home improvement.

It’s the same reason I can’t stand that children’s book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

No offense to author Laura Numeroff, but it’s mind-numbingly monotonous and drags on ... forever.

Pretty much like home improvement.

If you’re not familiar with the book, it starts with this cute little mouse that blinks his beady little eyes and wants a cookie. That’s what starts the whole issue of this mouse wanting more stuff after you give it the cookie. If you give the mouse a cookie, of course he wants some milk. But he needs a straw to drink the milk. And a mirror to make sure he doesn’t have a milk mustache (what a vain little critter). And then he needs to trim his hair. And so on…

I’ll spare you from the rest of this circular story.

Bottom line is, you give this mouse something as innocent as a treat and it never ends. The mouse just won’t stop after that. If you give that infernal mouse an inch, he’ll snatch a mile.

Hence my comparison to home improvement.

When we bought our house, we were delighted to have a doorknob to call our own. There were a few things that needed fixed in the beginning, and they seemed innocuous.

But since the house was built in the 1970s, and had several previous owners who left bizarre honey-do fixes around the place, we discovered random other projects. And that’s where it all started.

Let me put it this way: If you give your wife a toolbox, she’ll get tired of complaining about how gross the mildewed shower doors are and decide to rip them out one day and throw them on the curb.

And then the tile in the shower is also really disgusting, so she has it replaced.

And then the bathroom needs painted because the new shower enclosure makes the paint look dingy.

And then the hideous shutters with tulips on the outside of the house just have to go, partially because you decided replacing the inefficient, old aluminum windows was a good idea.

And then you can’t put those ugly shutters back on the house, so you might as well paint the whole house, or even better, why not stucco? In the middle of winter, you say? Well, why not tent the whole house in plastic like you’re harboring E.T. inside just to get it finished?

Let’s not forget the gross carpet, which has been gathering grime since 1974. Why not rip that out and replace it with wood floors? But oh, when we rip out the carpet, we expose rotten sheetrock and rusted corner bead that needs replaced from some kind of flood a really long time ago.

And why not just knock out this wall while we’re at it? So let’s do that, and then we’re back to painting again.

This is why we try to ignore the cracks in the concrete driveway, the lifted shingles flapping on the roof, and the dent in the living room wall. And I dread the day we need to replace another appliance, because it seems like when a new one gets installed, the other aging appliances somehow sense it and decide to go kaput.

It never ends!

It’s never just one more project, just like it’s never just giving that stupid mouse a cookie.

Ah, homeownership!

Erin McIntyre is an advanced master gardener, writer and Grand Valley native. Please email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with story ideas or feedback.


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