The Joys of Living in an Old House

There's nothing like expecting houseguests to open your eyes to the flaws in your own house. I'd told my mother I'd have Easter here, and the following week, my dad and stepmom are coming for my birthday.

My house is 53 years old, in a beautiful neighborhood with huge trees, big yards, wide streets. The house itself has pine floors, brick walls, roomy rooms, this GIANT sliding glass door separating the main house with the sun room.

But as time for company approaches, I look at it through other people's eyes.

The chipped mosaic floor tile in the main bathroom.

The bedroom door that won't quite close (and that the cats will butt their heads against to get into the room)

The worn varnish under the computer chair

The molding in the hall that never got painted.

Last night was the coup de grace, though. Okay, actually, it started Saturday night, and if the dh would have BELIEVED me, it would have been taken care of Sunday. I was getting out of the tub, the water draining, when the toilet bubbled.


This has happened before, and has required my husband and stepdad (and I think, brother) to get up on the roof and snake the drain that goes out into the yard. No water for hours. Panic.

Dh comes into the bathroom. A fluke, he says. Water draining, nothing to worry about. Riiiight.

Last night, ds comes out of the shower. Tub not draining. Dh, still in denial, goes to look for Drano. I flush toilet. It overflows. Damn it. I shower, shower backs up. DAMN it. Dh promises to get snake from stepdad today.

But here's the scary, that had me lying awake till almost 11:30. When I went out to get my cat, there was water on the front porch, from the flowerbed sitting right outside the bathrooms. Which to me says the water came out at ground level. Which means there may be a broken pipe under my bathrooms. Which means snaking might not fix the problem.

Did I mention I'm having company???

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Anonymous said...

HUGS Mary. I hope it's not a broken pipe. :-(

Unknown said...

((HUGS)) Sorry about the pipes. We had to have all new pipes lain a few years back. It wasn't fun, but it was worth it in the end.

Tracy Montoya said...

Ahhhh! That's horrible! I hope it's just a plugged pipe and not a broken one. On another note, old houses are beautiful--I'm sure no one notices the little things like you do. And really, I expect a few cracked or worn places in a old house.

KATZ said...

Mary - does not sound fun, so sorry. We rent right now, and I'm scared to death to own a house and be responsible for all that stuff!! I'm going to have to buy brand new...we are not handy people at all!

Stacy Dawn said...

Yikes! Hope it's not as bad as you think.

Dana Pollard said...

I for one hate old houses. They are beautiful and nice to visit, but don't ask me to live in one. I've lived in old and new. I prefer new. Sorry about your water worries. (even with new houses things go wrong)

Don't feel bad though... I'm going to a friend's house Thursday to do my 12 loads of laundry. First our dryer was out, then hubby fixed it. Now our washer isn't working. It's always one thing or another.

Your house has character and your guests will love it! (and overlook the flaws you see)

Rene said...

When I woke up the morning I went into labor, my toilet backed up. Water came up through the bathroom sinks and the bathtub. My house was about 40 years old at the time. I couldn't get anyone out to my house that day and had to leave it for when I got home from the hospital. Long story short, the plumbers discovered the house needed to be re-piped. So with a newborn in the house, I had to have my house re-piped. Did I mention colicky newborn? She cried so much that one day when she was asleep the plumber asked if there was something wrong since she wasn't screaming. But the new pipes made all the difference. Definitely worth it.

Toni Anderson said...

(((MARY))) I hope it is a minor fox! I hate that whole toilet overflowing thing--yuck! I'm worried about the sewer backing up into the basement with the high water levels from the spring thaw. Because we too live in an old house we can't put a back stop valve on it--or so DH tells me. Hmmm... I wonder???

April said...

(((Mary))). Didn't you know that having company is asking for something to go wrong with the house? Old houses can be wonderful! At least it wasn't built in the 80's with polybutylene piping. It's prone to bust spontaneously and it's usually in joints... in the wall. What fun! If the problem is only happening in the bathroom, it's unlikely you'd have to have the ENTIRE house re-piped. But there may be a problem right there at the bathroom.

Let us know. And post some pics of the house... It sounds lovely!

Shesawriter said...

Mary, Mary, Mary ....

I feel for you, lady. I lived in an old house a while back and it was a joy and a headache.


MJFredrick said...

Found out last night my dad and stepmom won't be coming after all. And if the problem is bad, we can just have Easter at my mom's.

I just see my Atlanta dollars winging away, though.

Anonymous said...

Hugs, Mary! Hope they get it fixed quickly.

Anonymous said...

Hope your plumbing problem is fixed soon! YIKES!! I'm sure, otherwise, your house is quite lovely. I love older homes.

And thanks for that Gerry picture...hadn't seen that one yet!

MJFredrick said...

Thanks, Leslie. The plumbers are here....I'm hoping it's quick and cheap. Mostly quick. No, mostly cheap....


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