Much like humans, the moment a house is created it starts to fall apart; slowly at first, and then later as if falling apart is the one thing in which it takes joy.
My house is in its 80's, and if falling apart were a sport, it would be in the Senior Olympics.
Last year we endured the sewer line under the house cracking up as spectacularly as that "agony of defeat" skier they used to show on "Wide World of Sports," except exponentially stinkier.
Now the basement door has rotted out, which is the nature of wooden things which sit outside for 40 years. That's just science.
The door sits parallel to the ground, because I guess the previous owner who built it said to himself, "Now, how can I catch what little rain we get in Southern Cal on a horizontal surface, to make sure none of it runs off?"
Like my confidence in government, my confidence in the water-repelling qualities of latex paint has eroded as I have aged.
The door is made of plywood and heavy 2x4's, and lifting it off the ground has always required the emitting of grunts you generally only hear from Eastern Bloc Olympic weightlifters. The ladies, I mean.
I researched hardy, lightweight polyethylene plastic doors and aluminum doors, but the day I spend a thousand bucks on a door for a part of the house I don't even use is the day you will see me strip naked, strap bacon to myself and run through a Doberman rescue.
What I mean is: you will not see that.
So I bought some fresh plywood and some 2x3's, to rebuild it lighter, got some leftover house paint, and saved myself about $950. I have considered, for many years, building a pulley and counter-weight system which would make raising the door easy, but I have put it off because it would require research and effort, two things I find easier to procrastinate than any two other things you could name.
Now that the basement is secured against skunks (long story), I can almost hear the house pondering plans for its next calamity. The roof? The plumbing?
An old house is a leaky rowboat. You never quite stop bailing, but it's worth it. After all, you cannot put a price on charm, especially after you have spent so much time redefining it.
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