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Concessions: Part 2

Our a very very very fine house...for being 89 years old!
Our a very very very fine house...for being 89 years old!
Melissa Estes

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So, let us continue with the saga that is living in a historic abode!

7. Your fear of creaks and sounds at night: Are you a light sleeper? Get over that. Does every sound you hear at night make you think someone is trying to break in? Get over that too. If you've had a pet, these noises can usually be blamed on them, but in an older home, you'll discover noises you never imagined existed. Sometimes, when I'm in the living room, over head I hear this high pitched squeal. I told the hubs about it and when he finally heard it, he traced it to the upstairs toilet valve. Oh, okay...THAT was random. The hardwoods creak in EVERY place, so if we had a teenager trying to sneak in after curfew, they'd be screwed. The house settles and emits sounds like an 89 year old man would do, I suppose.

8. The way you were taught to clean: Most cleaners, vacuums, and wipes aren't recommended for old floors, lead painted windowsills and painted concrete floors. What's a OCD lady to do? Steam mops were my best friend. Also, vacuum cleaners that say they're for hardwood exclusively are LIARS. They mean fake hardwood from 2011...not my 1925 real oak floors that are slanted and bumpy.

9. Your love of heat in the winter and air con in the summer: Here's your new reality, the upstairs atmosphere is always the direct opposite of what the downstairs atmosphere is and the upstairs exactly matches the external temperature outside. We have 0 blankets downstairs and 20 upstairs. Also, for our wedding, we registered for a window air conditioner for the upstairs bedroom. Yeah, welcome to the functionality of gifts instead of the glamour.

10. Your love of stuff: This just can't happen when you live in a place as old as our house. Clothes, trinkets, toys, electrical equipment, tvs, computers, your massive DVD collection, all must either be paired down or gotten rid of. You can't live like you're on an episode of Hoarders and you really shouldn't anyway. I've learned what's important and what's not. I also make at minimum 3 Goodwill trips as year. You accumulate so many things over the course of a year (birthdays, office meetings, parties, Christmas, people just giving you stuff) that it's really important, when you have a home tight on storage space, that you purge frequently. I don't miss anything that I've ever gotten rid of...the ole' ball and chain would sing a different tune, but I stand by this habit.

11. Anything EVER looking pristine: Living in an historic home is about the character, the rough around the edges spirit. It doesn't have that pristine, brand new build feel to it, and some people love that. Again, I'm learning to love it, but when you have in your head how a home should look, you're sadly disappointed when you're living with an older home. The hardwoods are ragged, the plaster is cracked, the brick is in serious need of some tuck-pointing, the basement steps make terrible noises and space is at a limit. You learn to do the best with what you have. There have been a few times that I've mopped and scrubbed the same exact spot because it looks just awful. Hubby has come up behind me and said, "You know that's just age on the wood...that's not coming off." is what it is and I've had to let it go. It's not my ideal but what in life ever is.

Basically, you're perfectionism must go right out the window. Instead, I'm trying to replace that perfectionism with pride, with the sense of history that surrounds me. I know that a lot of people made beautiful, wonderful memories here. And now I am a part of that. Birthdays, holidays, parties, best friends drinking over new neighborhood all occurred right where I'm sitting. The cracks in the plaster witnessed loving moments, the hardwoods have felt the gentle thunder of little feet playing, I'm living in a virtual historical postcard that still has a bunch of secrets to tell.

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