Our Old House

Our Old House

I suppose the best opening paragraph to this post is to tell you that as a kid, I used to watch This Old House on Saturday mornings just before Dad monopolized the TV for college football, or whatever.  Truth is, I still watch it when I can, and as a spin-off, I also worship Norm Abrams, host of (the sadly discontinued) New Yankee Workshop.  These two shows, on PBS no less, are without question the definitive root of my woodworking hobby as well as the source of my home repair expertise…

To leverage that segue, home repair has long been a key skill as I’ve occupied Army-provided quarters since 1996.  Yeah, I know, I’m not building equity.  Piss off.  Anyway, my skills have never been as challenged as they have been since we occupied our current (pictured) home.  This is a designated historic property, built in 1908 here at Ft. Leavenworth.  Technically, it’s a Queen Anne style, or so I’m told.  In reality, it’s the result of Army planning of tract homes, circa 1908-ish.  I should point out that we have the support of an office on-post that will, with coaxing, threats and bribery, come out and fix major problems as they’re contracted to do.  A good example of this is when we discovered the 2nd story ceiling was raining.  I’ve managed to improve things by stripping quarter-inch deep enamel paint off of a lot of features, to include the grand staircase.  I’m actually pretty pleased with the results.  I don’t care what people say about lead-based paint chips, they’re great with salsa.

The fact of the matter is, if you live in a home older than about 20 years, you’re going to be involved in some kind of repair.  To be honest, we’ve been lucky because Our Old House has been retrofitted with central air conditioning and heating as well as plumbing, so we thankfully don’t have to go crap in an outhouse in the middle of a Kansas Winter.  The ceilings are high, a nod to pre-AC days to let the heat go up there and not bother the sweaty folks nearer the floor, as are the transoms over the bedroom doors.  At some point, an office and bath was tacked onto the back end of the house, and some enterprising (and wealthy) occupant tricked out the attic with finishing and a third bath.  All said, including the basement, it’s four floors of housekeeping and Mr. Fix-It Fun.  Di and I lovingly refer to it as our “1908 Stairmaster.”

I used to watch This Old House and think I’d never dare take on an old home.  Now that I’ve lived in our quarters for a few years, I am completely convinced that I’ll never intentionally do this again.  This is not to say we’re ungrateful for the opportunity to be stewards of this sturdy home, nor that we don’t enjoy the space and other antique features.  However, I can’t help but think of how much less effort I’d make weekly in a newer home.  Or how much better my knees would feel in only one or two stories of living area.


4 Responses to “Our Old House”

  1. DIANA TOLLE Says:


  2. outkast86 Says:

    At least it looks cool.

  3. […] time capsule of sorts in my house.  The old ass one.  You might remember it from my earlier post- https://brainrants.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/our-old-house/.  Just click that link for even more delicious Brainrants entertainment.  The story of this time […]

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