Thursday, May 20, 2010


Mrs. Optimist and I sold our home in Big Cold Town (BCT) recently. The process was tinged with sadness, but our sadness was assuaged by the $3,000 or so per month we save from (a) not paying the big mortgage for the big old house (b) not paying the big taxes from BCT and (c) not paying the big utility bills for heating and cooling and watering and sewering the big old house.

But most of all we save the psychic pain that comes from the sudden, catastrophic "you must fix this immediately" moments that are such a charming part of home ownership. Mrs. Optimist totaled up all our out-of-pocket "fixer upper" expenses while we were fussing around getting ready for settlement. It turns out we averaged $666 per month during our 12 years. That's over and above fixed costs.

666 is, of course, the Sign of the Beast. (Revelation 13:16-18). I'm not suggesting this is significant. Just noting the coincidence.

I used to joke that I should film a TV show called "This Damn House" for PBS. Mrs. Optimist and I were compulsive "This Old House" watchers. We could relate. But then I realized that Bob and Norm and the guys were having a lot of fun. We were not having so much fun.

Bob and Norm had carpenters and plumbers and electricians and an unlimited budget. Not us.

We had a bunch of kids and not enough money.

And so when Mrs. Optimist would call me at work and say "there is water pouring through the second floor roof like a waterfall - it's running all the way down to the basement -" I would go home and go on the roof in a hurricane (yes, this happened) and hammer shingles.

Roof + Hurricane = Hurricane wins

That's what I'm talking about. Not a lot of edifying things said on the roof during the hurricane. Wish I was a better man, but there it is. I was angry, soaking wet, cold and scared out of my wits.

So as much as I loved our home, I'm feeling mighty fine right now.

I'm thinking of taking the monthly savings and purchasing us a little solace. Like a trip to Jamaica. All cash. No credit card.

Photo Credit

And while I'm on the beach I will dream a dream about standing on a rickety ladder holding up an 8' sheet of gypsum against the plaster ceiling with my head while I try to balance drywall screws on the tip of my screw-gun as I drive them through the sheet rock.

These guys are wimps, using their hands.

It is a cool trick, but it leaves you with permanent headaches. They don't tell you that stuff on "This Old House."

Holding drywall with head = bad headaches.
Picture Credit.

I like renting a lot.


  1. My vote is for Jamaica. Go forth and sun!

  2. Sint Maarten is more better. Congrats!

  3. At this moment I am deeply, ferociously envious of you and Mrs. Optimist.

  4. Also, I think we should develop a blog version of "This Damn House" where we could post the myriad house-fixing nightmare stories we and our friends-and-relations have acquired. We could solicit material from readers as well.

  5. The world wide web would shut down immediately from the volume of comments if you started a "This Damn House" website.