Thursday, October 6, 2011

Good Advice

"I often give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it."
--Alice In Wonderland

I'm a lot like Alice.  I can think a problem through, sit myself down, and give myself very good advice.  And then I go and do whatever I want to do anyway, which very often is the polar opposite of the good advice I'd just given myself.  That's why talking things over with friends is important.  Y'all think of things I wouldn't, remind me of things I've forgotten, give me great ideas, and put things in perspective.

After I read the comments to my last post, three things stood out:

Karen Anne's advice to take a wait-and-see approach.  "Either the price will come down further or the house will be sold, solving your problem."

Sandra's very wise reminder.  "All of us enslaved to an older house covet ones that are perfectly finished."

Dave's good advice.  "Accept the burnout and go with it when it happens."

I thought about all of that on my days off, mostly while sitting on my front porch with a cold beer in my hand, and I made a decision that's a conglomeration of those three pieces of advice:  I'm going to finish what has to be done before winter (namely, the peeling paint on the east side of the house) and then I'm going to sit back and wait until my restoration burnout dissipates, because everybody who has an old house feels this way sometimes and it will probably pass--but if it doesn't go away in a year, then I'm going to buy that house on Highland.  A year.  I'm giving myself a year.

I also took Dynochick's advice about putting hot towels on the floor to dissolve the glue, but that didn't work.  Joey (the floor guy) thinks that's because the glue on my floors is newer and not water-soluble.  Speaking of Joey, when things slow down a little for him this winter, he's going to come over and give me a real estimate for refinishing my floors.  A real estimate, not the "somewhere between $2,500 and $5,000, prolly" that he gave me a couple of years ago. 

Then I sat down with a calculator and started working on a Real Budget for the bathroom renovation.  A real one, not the seat-of-my-pants estimating that I usually do.  I want to come up with a total cost for materials, add a healthy 15% to 20% to that to hedge against unseen problems (because you know there will be some), get a plumber in here to bid the work I don't know how to do or don't want to mess with, add in Joey's estimate for the floors in the rest of the house, and then get a loan to cover all that and be done with it.  The two things I detest most about my house right now are the horrid floors and the horrid bathrooms.  Horrid, I tell you.  If the floors and the bathrooms were done, I might forget all about the Highland House...but if I don't, having that stuff done will help out my resale value.  I'm against loans on principle (haha, principle) but in this case, with my mental health at stake, I'll make an exception.

And speaking of mental health...remember The Devil Queen?  If you're not familiar with this blog, you really ought to read it.  John says in the header that it's a cautionary tale, and it truly is.  My house is not nearly "the ruin" (John's word) that the Queen was before John and his wife started their restoration, but this is a case of Restoration Burnout becoming terminal.  Reading The Devil Queen again makes me feel both better and worse.

A plan.  A year.  Or so. Mark your calendars, y'all, because come Fall-ish 2013 2012, we'll revisit this issue.

Late Edit:  Thanks to Kate H. for pointing out my incorrect timeline.  I shouldn't try to write intelligently just before bedtime.  :)


  1. Isn't that two years? lol

    Good approach, especially re: making yourself tackle the things like the siding paint that really have to be done to preserve the integrity of the house, then taking more deliberate steps towards resolving the aesthetic/convenience horrors over the longer term. I've been watching/listening to old Holmes on Homes episodes while repainting my 3rd floor study, and if there's anything Mike hammers away on, it's keeping the water out.

    That house on Highland costs about what I still owe on the Sow's Ear. Until I add in what's outstanding on my HELOC. Sigh. Whatever you do, use the loan for the house. Period.

  2. Check out local credit unions if you go for a loan. Probably you know that they tend to have better terms than banks.