For the last three weeks, my washer and drier have lived in my dining room. It is the next installment in the saga of This Old House.
In the farming communities in our part of the world, it is common knowledge that guests park out back on the drive, somewhere between the grain bins and the cattle corral. They then enter the home, not through the front door, but through the back door. In our case, this means being dumped onto a small landing with two choices: descent into the basement pit that is too scary to contemplate or turn right and up five steps through the laundry room and into the dining room. There is nothing we can do about our guests’ traditional point of entry or the location of the washer and drier. But we could fix the seriously ugly electrical wires, plumbing pipes, and appliance cords that poke through the ragged hole knocked out of the lime green concrete block and proceed down the wall parallel to the grungy pipe handrail whose multiple coats of paint obscure the screws that attached it to said wall over 70 years ago.
Weekends and evenings my miracle-working husband has bored through concrete, re-routed wires and pipes, built a partial wall to hide the crooked drier vent pipe that thrusts up into the attic, hung sheetrock, taped, bedded, textured, fixed new lighting, and continually solved the hundreds of major puzzles this project has introduced.
I have always felt that DIY projects in old houses are much like parenting:
- there is an overwhelming amount of work to be done
- you never know what you are going to uncover
- it takes your full attention and a great deal of patience to do it right
- the discovery of a hidden problem or an unexpected asset can completely change your plans
- it is more expensive and time consuming that your original estimate
- the end result is pretty amazing