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Monday, October 24, 2011

One man's trash is more often than not actual trash.

Brew Hampshire is our third house. It's also our oldest. Our first house was only fifteen years old when we bought it. We lived there for three years. Our second house was brand new. We lived there for seven years. Brew Hampshire is forty-three years old. I hope to be buried in the backyard, hopefully not by accident.

When you buy an older house you discover all sorts of interesting things. For example, you might discover, like I did, stacks and stacks of unused U.S. Postal Service boxes in a basement storage room. Or you might discover roughly one (1) nautical mile of coaxial cable running through the walls of your new home. (If anyone knows of a coaxial resale business, please give me their number.) The discovering seems to go on forever.

Random odds and ends left on window sills, high closet shelves, buried beneath a swing-set... When you buy an older home, you learn a lot more about people than you do about buildings. You learn that at some point in the past, someone painted over a lot of rotten exterior wood and then moved. You learn that a previous owner had heard of, but had never seen, a workbench when they decided to build the one that is falling over in your garage. You learn that paint will only hide the water damage in your bedroom ceiling long enough for the house to sell. The adventures never end.

Betsy and I have no intention of moving away anytime soon, so any repairs we make will be done properly... by other people who know what they're doing. We will have the boiler inspected regularly, the chimney cleaned yearly, the yard mowed bi-annually, and the leaves raked whenever the neighbors complain.

I've already replaced one light and hung a chandelier over the dining room table. We've had the locks re-keyed (one of them fell apart the first time we used it... the locksmith is on his way over right now to fix it) and the gutters should be repaired sometime next week. I've added a swing-set to the backyard (for a grand-total of three rickety play-structures) and removed a fountain that was a safety issue for the daycare kids.

The discovering goes on. What wasn't done right in the past, how far we're willing to go to do the job right, what was important enough to buy, but was nevertheless left behind...

I haven't even been in the attic yet.

Thank you,
      Matt Beers

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