Thoughtful Thursday: Fix

June 16, 2011

Thoughtful ThursdayI joined the wonderful new Prompt-ly listserv. (Psst… it’s pretty rockin’, in case you were thinking of joining.)

Anyway, on Prompt-ly, Intelligentsia member A suggested a prompt asking about people’s little daily annoyances.

Everyone has a daily issue (I think) — some idiosyncracy that you end up dealing with every day. For example, in my parent’s house, you couldn’t close or lock an exterior door anywhere (there were 4 doors that I’m counting) without giving it a hip check. So, what’s your daily issue, and why don’t you get it fixed? Leaky coffee maker? Broken oven thermostat?

Yesterday, I responded to the listserv:

We have several burned out lightbulbs right now. None are crucial — two in the dining room light fixture which has four other bulbs, one that’s part of a track light, and one in a bathroom with two others that work. I’m never thinking about changing them when I happen to have time and the opportunity to change them (can’t climb on stools with impressionable toddlers watching). The track light one is impossible to change without a 12-foot ladder which I do not have (and probably wouldn’t climb even if I did). There is no downside to leaving them burned out for a while, except that at every meal my son points out the dining room light and gazes quizzically.

But it reminds me of the days when my twins were newborns. When I was on bedrest, before I went into the hospital for a month, the lights in my husband’s office burned out. They are long fluorescent bulbs which required a trip to the hardware store, which I couldn’t make being on strict bedrest and he couldn’t make having to do everything for a wife on strict bedrest plus work. So we moved a lamp into his office. While I was in the hospital the lamp burned out, and it was a specialty halogen light which also would have required a trip to the hardware store. So he brought in another lamp. Soon after the babies came home from the NICU, that lamp burned out, and we were out of extra lamps to bring into his office. So he sat in the dark, literally for an entire month, because having newborn twins is beyond insane and we could barely feed ourselves, much less go to the hardware store.

Now, one day after writing that, we have only one burned-out lightbulb — the one that requires a very tall ladder. The motivator wasn’t the Prompt-ly list, though. Yesterday we got a call that we needed to show our house to some potential buyers today, so I went around finally replacing the bulbs. In the process I discovered two other bulbs that I hadn’t even realized were out (and replaced those too).

The house showing was also the impetus for unpacking one last bag from the trip we took in May, putting away the sewing box that I finished using several weeks ago, getting rid of a half-full moving box that’s been sitting in the basement since we moved here 5 years ago, and a bunch of other little tasks that never seem important.

For many years, DH and I would host a party every few months just to give us an external motivation to tidy up. Nowadays, we don’t host many parties, and anyone who comes over gets what they get. High-traffic areas like the kitchen, dining room, and playroom remain tidy every day. Places like our bedroom and bathroom are usually not terrible but not totally tidy — usually half a load of laundry waiting on the dresser to be put away, the bed rarely made. Lower-traffic areas (plus zones of chaos like the mail table) get cursory attention the night before the housecleaner comes over. The low-traffic areas only get serious attention when the realtor calls, which sadly has happened a total of 5 times since our house went on the market 8 months ago.

If someone ever buys this house, maybe I’ll finally go through the stuff that got tossed under our bed a couple of years ago.

To build on A’s prompt:
What in your house needs to be fixed? What will it take for you to make that happen?

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17 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Fix”

  1. celia Says:

    Our house is so old, the better question is what DOES NOT need to be fixed. Most annoying is the chandelier in our dining room. We replaced the bulbs in it with those energy saving bulbs what do you call em? Anyhow, they are too much for the fixture and so we had to unscrew half of them. It’s really annoying. We also have this seriously ugly clock in our kitchen that no one can figure out how to remove. I have no idea when we will fix either of those things, because every problem in this house begets three more when we try to fix something. Likely to change the chandelier we would have to rewire and rip out the whole damn ceiling. Heaven help me.

  2. a Says:

    Our house is fairly new, so there are really very few things that need to be fixed. However, I’m currently battling an ant invasion – the caulking around our sliding glass door is coming apart, and I think it’s one of their entry routes. I still have to write about my really annoying issue, which is my husband’s car radio (well, I use the car most, so I guess that makes it my car radio).

    I love your progression of burnt-out light bulbs! It’s hilarious!

    Hoping that your prospective buyers feel enlightened enough to make a good offer!

  3. Cat Says:

    We also have a burned out light bulb in the play room that has been that way for months. Now that we, too, are starting the process of preparing the house to be listed, I’m sure it will finally be fixed.

    What will not be fixed is my alarm clock. It’s a clock radio that I inherited when DH and I switched sides of the bed when the first baby came home in Sept ’09. For half the year it is an hour fast but I have no idea how to fix it. Honest to god, I have TRIED. This clock is NOT intuitive at all and, of course, the manual is long gone because it was my husband’s clock and men don’t read manuals. Even now that it’s the right hour, it’s still several minutes fast, but I can’t fix that either.

    What I really should do is switch it with my old clock radio that’s still on my old side of the bed. Or just switch back sides of the bed because the kids only slept in our room for three nights and that was almost two years ago.

  4. Jendeis Says:

    The state of my house makes my heart hurt. It just feels hopeless right now. (Trying to give myself permission to have a chaotic house, but apparently, I’m a stern taskmaster).

    My mother once told me that this was the reason why you should have to move once a year — so that you get rid of all the accumulated crap.

  5. BB Says:

    LOL… this is such a perfect post by you!

    We are having some friends over tomorrow… after a very, very long time! So I ran around tidying up and hiding stuff. 🙂 Our big bulky DVD player broke down almost a year ago (who has time to watch movies? well, whatever we have watched lately has been on the laptop)… I purchased a new one today (super fine and sleek – notebook size!!) because we were hoping to watch some movies with the friends, while their kids could watch some kiddo stuff on the laptop.

    Also, my BIL is visiting us, so I am hoping to use this time to fix our garage – which has turned in to a big storage junkyard. Besides having visitors in the house, I have realized that whenever I have family visiting for a longer duration, I tend to get in to a cleanup/organization/revamping mode.

  6. St. Elsewhere Says:

    Good one!

    The one thing that has been broken forever is the freezer door in our refrigerator. It was fixed with a string/wire but that came off too, so the door just kind of hangs. Why haven’t we changed it? I would love to replace the refrigerator completely rather than investing more in the old boy. Hubby still loves it, the cooling is fine. So there is constant irritation, but it stays.

  7. jjiraffe Says:

    Oh, man. The lamp story: I totally get that as a mother of twins. Mine are at a stage where they are really hard to control on my own (and my husband works insane hours) so just doing basic things like going to the pharmacy or grocery store are postponed way too long. I haven’t taken clothes to the dry cleaners in months: I have an enormous pile that’s taunting me in the laundry room. I finally got my hair done for the first time on Tuesday since September! Oy, the roots.

  8. Jessica Says:

    That sounds a lot like our house. We moved to a new one a year ago, and we have one room that is still in boxes. Some day… 😉 For the rest of the house, we finally hired someone to come in and clean every two weeks. That means we have to pick up the surfaces so that she can do her job. Otherwise, we get piles everywhere that we just don’t get to.

  9. Tara (TIMO) Says:

    Ahh, yes, the lightbulb issue. We have 2- one easy to reach and one requiring the 8′ ladder. Some day.

    My issue is we rent. So we can’t fix the things that annoy me. The nasty floors that even carpet cleaning can’t make look any better. The warped kitchen cabinets that don’t stay closed. The white countertops everywhere that show every.single.speck. The moldy master bathtub- they recaulked directly over the old moldy caulk so no amount of cleaning will get rid of the yuck.

    My mom is visiting (followed by my mother-in-law and then my sister) and I’m hoping to use those visits as an opportunity to get some of the clutter and papers cleaned up. They’ll watch my boys while I clean and organize. Best of both worlds.


  10. Yes – our kitchen. We redid part of our kitchen in February – new cabinets, etc. The only things that still need to be done are the finishes: plinth, door knobs, final fill–in cabinet between dishwasher and the wall.

    My husband probably needs to take a day off on a day that our son is at the sitter’s, so we can both work on it without the little one trying to run around with a drill or a screwdriver… (or screaming his head off because we won’t allow him near the ‘construction site’).

  11. strongblonde Says:

    we’ve been in our house for almost 6 years and there’s an area of our stairs from the 1st to the 2nd floor that does not have a hand rail. it really bothered me in the beginning, but then i got used to it. i can even carry two babies down the stairs without fear of falling….i’m that used to it. i watched my mom, who has parkinsons disease, go up and down the stairs and felt awful….but STILL didn’t take care of it. i just had a talk with B the other day about how we have to have it taken care of by the end of august. that is when football season starts and things start to get pretty busy. we’ll have friends who will be staying with us on a regular basis and will be trying to carry THEIR kid up and down the stairs, too. i just can’t deal with the potential for someone falling anymore. i think that one of the things that has also helped push me toward the deadline is that we have a handy man now that did great work on our bathroom and a few other little projects. i have complete faith that we can call him, he’ll do it, and it will get done right. 🙂

  12. TwoKayaks Says:

    Oh my. Our issue is the dreaded burned out light bulb as well. We have two burned in our kitchen table’s chandelier and a burned out bulb in the stairs leading to the rec room. It’s not a matter of actually putting new ones in, it’s a matter of BUYING new ones. We always forget when we are out.
    As far as everything else goes, J. is handy and very much motivated to get things done.

  13. Elana Kahn Says:

    The biggest fix we need is to remove the lead paint. Yes, I know I’m a bad mother for not having this done pre-kids, but I’m also not rich. 🙂 That really the main “fix” issue around here. Other things are pretty minor like doorknobs that stick and such.

  14. Photogrl Says:

    I don’t even know where to start…

    The kitchen has at least 2 cabinet doors that will not stay shut. Right now I have them tied together with a rubber band…not very child proof. And the whole room needs repainted.

    The downstairs bathroom has caulking that needs redone.

    The guest bedroom needs repainted.

    Worst of all, my bathroom faucet upstairs broke shortly after the twins came home last July. I have to use pliers to turn the water on…and I don’t see it getting fixed anytime soon!

  15. Rebecca Says:

    Our bathroom! We started it in February, major overhaul, it still isn’t finished. I’m sick of looking at the fucking thing.

  16. Heather Says:

    There’s a burnt out lightbulb in the kitchen island lamp, the garage door keyless entry doesn’t work, and there’s something wrong with one of the 2 1/2 ovens I have in the kitchen. It’ll get there.

  17. Esperanza Says:

    Hello, I’m here from the Prompt-ly list. I’m stopping by everyone’s blog and saying hi! I loved this post, especially the story about the lamps in the office. I don’t think any other example could have portrayed just how insane that time was.

    I also laughed because the light in our living room is out but we keep just falling back on the lamp in there. Evidently I’m the only who changes light bulbs and if I don’t do it it won’t get done.

    I hope the listserv helps inspire you to write more posts. I’m also trying to write more concisely. If I’m under 1000 words I consider that a great accomplishment!

    And to answer your question, I would need to get up the courage and resolve to talk to my landlord, because he has to make any changes in my crap hole of an apartment. So yeah, not much gets done around here.


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