I pulled my van into the garage on Saturday after the weekly trip to Target and found Danny sitting in a lawn chair looking beat.
"Hey, what's the matter?" I asked. He was in his lawn-mowing clothes (known in these parts as his Driveway Clothes) so I knew he was doing yardwork and thinking about all the stuff that needs to be done around the house.
"I'm overwhelmed," he said, asking if I happened to notice how nice the lawn looks. I didn't, and he was crushed, but we marched right back out to walk the grounds, a habitual ritual he and I have.
We're having our house painted this month after much back and forth, should we hire it out or do it ourselves. (Danny, who has his own lingo for many things calls that process of indecision, yo-yo-ing.) Fortunately, we decided that our time was worth the price of having it done by professionals in the space of two or three days. I'm excited about it, and I know he is, too. But getting the house painted points out all the other imperfections that need tending.
The list includes:
• new outdoor lighting to replace icky tarnished brass fixtures filled with corpus delecti of last year's midges (I'm going with black wrought iron to complement the taupe, cream and black colors we'll be painting the house.)
• mailbox to replace the icky one that previous owners painted teal (over brass) (again, black wrough iron)
• replace bent downspout that's been that way for the eight years we've been here
• new interior garage door since Riley can push it open with one gentle swipe of her paw
• new interior back door since it leaks all manner of heating and air conditioning to great outdoors
• replace wood shutters on downstairs windows that lose slats whenever the wind blows
• cut down pine and evergreen that have threatened to overtake my front garden
• paint the picket fence around front garden (though Danny, ever the wheeler and dealer, tells me he talked the painter into doing the fence for a case of beer)
• replace screens damaged by kids, dog and a failed attempt at hanging Christmas decorations
Phew! No wonder he was beat. Somewhere in there we need to cart kids to soccer and baseball and, God forbid, enjoy a little weekend R&R.
We're at the do-over stage of home ownership. We've been in our house for eight years and all the paint jobs and carpeting and landscaping is looking a little tired (kinda like its owners). Fortunately, he and I seem to take turns being overwhelmed by it all. The outside is fun for me, it's the inside that I find overwhelming. But that's probably a function of the outside being Danny's primary domain and the inside being mine.
The inside list is as follows:
• paint the boys' room and replace bent blinds with unbendable wooden blinds so house doesn't resemble a tenement from the street
• replace carpet up the steps and throughout the entire upstairs
• that means we also need to repaint the downstairs hallway, steps and upstairs hallway (ugh!)
• replace the toilet in the boys' bathroom, which has been nonfunctioning since Christmas
• resolve the leaky pipe problem that has left paint peeling on the ceiling of my kitchen (which was extensively remodeled in 2002) and now threatens a portion of the family room
A few weeks ago, little Mikey was sitting at the breakfast bar eating his Wheaties and eyeballing the peeling ceiling when he said, "Mom, we need Mr. Carney. He can fix anything. He even cleaned up Daniel's throw up."
Mr. Carney is the custodian at Normandy Elementary. And Mikey's right. We need a handyman.