by Marc Cullison [mcullison.com]
Those of you who own your homes have a significant portion of your lives invested in a piece of real estate and a structure. If you don’t have a mortgage, your home probably represents most of your net worth. My wife and I are pretty much in that position.
We’ve never had a mortgage on our home. We built it ourselves. Well, we did have some help from key family members, but for the most part, it was all us. When we were faced with the task of selecting a house plan and the type of house to build, we decided on a log house. I drew the plans, had the foundation built, ordered the logs, and off she went. It took about a year, but we did it. We’re still working on, because we didn’t quite get finished before we moved in some thirty years ago. Well, actually it was far from finished.
Now, I have come to realize that it is a maintenance hog. Much of my time is spent making repairs. Wood rots, you know, and I have repaired my fair share of it. We also continue to work on the interior, finishing a little bit at a time. It is almost a full time job. Then there’s the three acres of grass we mow in the summer, wood to cut and split in the winter to feed the fireplace, and day-to-day maintenance that any home requires. Oh, and a full time job on top of all of that. My wife works as well. And don’t let me forget about my writing career. I have to keep at that, too.
I mentioned to my wife my thoughts on the house and the fact that it requires so much maintenance. It didn’t seem to faze her much. She has her own priorities to deal with, including most of the lawn mowing chore. One fortuitous consequence of owning a log home is that I have acquired a vast array of power tools necessary for the extensive maintenance required of a log house. I’ve become adept at using all of them. Lord knows I’ve had enough practice. Oh, by the way, that increases the cost of ownership of a log home. The tools, I mean.
Now, considering that I am getting older, and the fact that when we built our house I was in my thirties and a bit more spry than I am now, my attitude has also gone through a change and I no longer look at my house with anticipation of what I can do to make it better. Instead, I’m at that point in my life where I look at my house and see only the mountain of work I have to do to maintain it. A lot can happen in thirty years.
Dont’ get me wrong and start thinking that I hate my house. I love my house. When I come home I am greeted by the smell of wood, one of nature’s primo treats for the senses. That and the intricate patterns of wood grain that runs through the walls and ceilings and floors. But, at the same time, I hate the amount of work necessary for maintenance. So, therein lies the love-hate relationship with my house.
I should be thankful that I have a house at all. Many people have no means of shelter. I am fortunate that I have a place to come home to. And as another measure of good fortune, the work I perform on my house affords a reasonable degree of exercise. I’m not in bad shape for my age. I suppose I can thank my house for that. But I do wish I had more time to just enjoy life. You know, just coast down the highway of leisure and live. In a way, I guess I do that, too, but not in the manner I wish.
All in all, I can’t complain. Well, if you were to ask my wife, she would tell you that I do. I know I shouldn’t, but sometimes frustration gets the better of me and I have to let off some steam. I have a wonderful wife, we own our home, we don’t have a mortgage, and we always have things to occupy our time. I just wish those things were something like vacations, or parties and such. But, it’s not to be right now.
I think I hear the squirrels gnawing on the ledgers, again. Did I mention the wildlife? Well, that’s just one more problem we have to content with. Malicious squirrels that want to chew our house down (see earlier blog.) And the armadillos that leave holes in our yard, and an army of moles that leave those nasty little trenches. Oh, and the carpenter ants that threaten to move in whenever we stop our watchful vigil.
So, I love my house, but I hate it. I must now go out and repair the bottom end of a porch post that has rotted. Oh joy.