This post was originally published Feburary 24, 2014.
In a home in the ‘burbs, there lived a hobbit … um … a family …
I recently spent a week at home in bed with the flu. Any time that I spend that much time in my own home, things about it start to bother me. With my heightened flu-induced crankiness, things like not having a proper linen closet, or being unable to open the silverware drawer when the dishwasher is running, escalated from minor inconveniences to tantrum-generating, DEFCON 1 situations (I just want a fork!). As I lay awake each night, feverish, stuffy-headed, more than slightly medicated, and sleep deprived, I passed the time by thinking about all the things that I want to fix, change, or improve in our home. This led to thinking about how I would fix them, if I could fix them, which led to the question, Now why haven’t we fixed these things again? Sure, we’re busy, but who isn’t? And we have very limited funds for home improvement. And our house is very small, with no storage for tools and equipment, and no place to work on projects. But are those really good excuses? How much happier would we be if we didn’t have to stand in line to get our coats from the coat hooks in the corner of the dining room, which is on the other side of the house from the front door? Or if we could get out that front door without having to block the cat from running out because she hides behind the sofa that is five inches from the door, because there is nowhere else to put it?
So I have decided to take action! There are multiple projects inside and outside our home, both large and small, that only require time, imagination, commitment, and minimal funding. We can do these things ourselves!
Then it occurred to me that it would be good to document the whole process. After all, if we rewire the bathroom, it would be helpful to have pictures, notes, or videos of just how we did it, should the need arise. Or if one day, our daughter has her own house and would like to rewire her bathroom. And maybe other people might want how we did it too. After all, we have used others’ online videos and blogs to fix our dryer and install a new blower motor in our car. Maybe our information could be helpful in the same way.
So I decided to start a blog, this blog. Over the next few weeks and months, and maybe years, I will document our do-it-yourself, home improvement, renovation, and remodeling efforts with pictures, videos, instructions, and useful links. By the end of the whole process, we will have a home to be happy in, and maybe we will help or inspire someone else along the way.
Here is our home, as of today. I call it My Blue Heaven, even though it desperately needs to be repainted, as the blue paint has faded to teal. Our house is almost 100 years old, and is on the historic registry, but was apparently built before storage was invented. We have no garage, no basement, and a partially finished attic. The yard looks much better in the spring and summer, but could still use some serious help. Yet in spite of all this, I love our house. It is home.
Our neighborhood is one of those neighborhoods where people sit on their porches in the summer and wave at you as you walk by. Everyone knows which dog or cat belongs to which family. Kids ride their bikes, and play outside, and you can hear them laughing through the open windows. People borrow each others tools and remember to return them. When I go running on Sunday evenings, the whole neighborhood smells like fresh laundry as everyone gets ready for the new week.
In the summer, you can hear music from the lake, and smell steaks cooking on your neighbor’s grill. You can here the crack of the bats and shouts of delight from the baseball park down the streets. And at night, you can hear the boats, signaling to each other in the moonlight. All those things make it like heaven, hence, My Blue Heaven. And in case your not familiar with the song by the incomparable Fats Domino, here it is:
Fats Domino – My Blue Heaven
Or perhaps he is just thinking about dinner.