Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Event: If a Pipe Breaks Under Your Home, Part 1

(In the style of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.")

If a pipe breaks under your home, you will have to move out of your home.  If you move out of your home, you will become very familiar with how much stuff you actually have, and you will get a sense of how much stuff you actually need.  You will find yourself turning down retail purchasing opportunities because, if you buy something, you will have to put that something somewhere.  Also, if a pipe breaks under your home, and you know that you will be out of your home, and that contractors will be moving into your home, you start to think about things that you want to DO in and with your home.  Initially, that list will include changing the finish-out on things that were directly impacted by the casualty.  For example, whether they can salvage your kitchen counters or not, the backsplash will need to be replaced, so out go the small square gray porcelain tiles and in go the subway-laid rectangular stone-and-glass tiles.  And if you find yourself considering a backsplash upgrade, you are going to want to consider a countertop upgrade - whether it's covered by insurance or not - because, seriously, what's the point of a space-age backsplash if it's going to be juxtaposed with ghetto countertops?  Then your brain enters "grown-up" territory and you find yourself saying that, really, it would be an irrational decision not to replace the countertops while you are replacing your backsplash, on account of those two very grown-up words:  RESALE VALUE.  And, for that exact same reason, it makes total sense that you replace your plumbing.  I mean, the floors are going to be gone, anyway.  And wasn't it plumbing that got you in this fix in the first place?  Wouldn't want to move back in and then have to go through this move-out/move-in exercise a second time. 

Replacing plumbing is the INCREDIBLY GROWN-UP grown-up's version of maximizing resale value - because you know that other INCREDIBLY GROWN-UP grown-ups looking for new digs are going to get ten types of excited over the phrase "plumbing in original part of home replaced in 2011" when you THEORETICALLY sell the house that you aren't planning on selling.

Then, when you have lived in Grown-Up Land long enough that your brain elects you MAYOR of Grown-Up Land (on account of all of your rational decision-making about plumbing and such), you find yourself throwing around two other very grown-up words:  ENERGY EFFICIENCY.  Which, in addition to being good for the planet, is also important to RESALE VALUE.  Also, it's an expense that QUICKLY AMORTIZES, due to immedate reductions in utility costs.  See?  That's SIX grown-up words.  Now you know why I was elected mayor.

Once you start to think about energy efficiency, you will call the window guy out to give you a quote for new windows.  And then you will throw everything but the kitchen sink into the mix.  (Oh, wait - the kitchen sink is in there, too.)  You will walk around the house with your contractor and point to things and ask him to, essentially, stick price tags on them.  What will it cost to strip the berber carpet out of the home office and stain the concrete?  Oh, that involves muriatic acid?  Can you throw a little extra on the truck and strip and stain the front porch while you're at it?  You know, while we're talking about what we can do to concrete.  Now let's talk about what we can do to some other flat surface.

And so on, ad nauseam.

When you have home renovation on the brain to the point that you are, actually, factually nauseated by the sheer number of choices (speaking of ad nauseam; I guess because I knew that this would be a busy week restoration-wise, and work-wise, and, for the trifecta, Junior League-wise, I woke up this morning with the mother of all stomach upsets), you will find yourself assigning dollar amounts to everything in your enviroment.  As in:  you are at your son's PTA fundraiser, and your husband wants to increase his bid on a silent auction package, and you shout out, "NO - that's an oil-rubbed kitchen faucet with a pull-down sprayer!"  Later, you opt not to attend another $50-per-ticket fundraiser, and the thought that runs through your brain as you decline is, "$50 could be a new drawer front - if we end up refacing the existing ginger maple cabinets with Shaker-style doors."

Note to Fort Worth-area charities:  If you notice a temporary step-down in our giving this calendar quarter, it is because MY BRAIN WILL NOT STOP SHOUTING PRICE EQUIVALENTS AT ME.  I think our overall giving will be roughly the same, in light of the metric ton of in-kind donations that have been dumped on The ARC of Greater Tarrant County, Goodwill and the Junior League resale shop, but you may not see our smiling faces at your event this fall.  In part because I am too busy going through back issues of This Old House Magazine and pinning images of cream-glazed upper cabinetry to Pinterest to find a dress for said event.  Although I did actually venture out this weekend and buy:  some new black pants, a black pencil skirt, a cute black-and-cream patterned (but still sort of neutral) skirt, a black cable-knit crewneck and four button-downs.  On account of how all of my staple wardrobe items had gotten way too long in the tooth, but I hadn't taken time to replace them, and so I was wearing the same, kind of wacky, bordering-on-bag lady outfits to work every day.  Primarily because those outfits ended up in the front of the closet when the contents of the wardrobe boxes exploded.  That's something else I did this weekend:  reorganize the apartment closet.  I am proud to announce that I do not look anywhere near a bag lady today.  Blue pinpoint oxford button-down:  check.  Black pencil skirt:  check.  Leopard-print heels with ginormous black pilgrim buckles:  check.  (Hey, a girl's got to insert a little flavor.)  So I am feeling slightly saner, at least in the physical appearance department.  Although I have to say that it was INCREDIBLY PAINFUL to part with the funds that it cost to pay for my wardrobe upgrades.  Off of the top of my head, I would say "A BATHROOM VANITY WITH SINK TOP" on the "incredibly painful" scale.

Can't help myself - I'm totally focused on making my house the equivalent of a blue button-down and black pencil skirt (you know, for the RESALE VALUE) with a pair of "look at me" leopard heels (that part's all moi).


Anonymous said...

The issue for this is the washer has a hard shut off built in you should tap a line below the spigot to feed the utility sinks with it’s own shut offs. The concern is the venting too.

Manic Momma said...

Thanks for the tip, but that wasn't the problem. Severe drought conditions caused a major pipe under the surface of the earth to crack and break apart. Nothing that we could have prevented!