Yes it is. I sympathize, but that’s the truth about homes - like people they just keep deteriorating as they get older :). Unlike people you can pretty much keep them going in perpetuity if you stay on top of the decay, but yeah it is a never-ending story. There will always be more to do. Always. Forever.
In our economic system at least it is usually better to be an owner than a renter. But of the several advantages to renting, not having to worry and budget for major upkeep is definitely a big one.
And then the damned big-ticket items self-destruct at the worst times! The roof! The HVAC! The termites! The hundred dollar bills that must be thrown around regularly are bad enough, but those big-ticket jobbies send you to your bed, crying like a baby.
And then the cars in the driveway start talking to themselves, feeling lonely and ignored. Transmission! Serpentine belt! Suspension and tires!
There is always something broken in a house. Even when a house is brand new something will break right away. A lot of things will be simple, can even be ignored, but plumbing problems keep happening and can rarely be ignored.
Our fridge keeps making an anomalous Click! rrrrrrrrrrrrrr **Click!. The sequence takes about five seconds in all. Then it remains silent for about a half hour or so. It sounds like something is trying to turn on and failing. Yet things seem to stay cold or frozen, depending on the compartment they’re in. I fear for the day that is not so.
But I fear more for our chimney, which drips water into the fireplace during a good rain. It’s over a century old and, man, is it gonna be pricey to fix. The kind of pricieness we can’t afford right now.
These kinds of things make me miss being a renter.
If you’re only worried about using the chimney you can get a stainless steel liner installed. If the chimney is crumbling though it won’t be cheap to replace it with masonry, but you can replace it with steel pipe. At least check with a good mason to see what your situation is. Sometimes chimneys just need re-pointing and/or minor repairs to hold up for a long time.
If you have a new masonry chimney built remember to pay the guy. The story goes like this, a man contracted a mason to build a new chimney for him The man had a reputation for not paying his bills. When the mason was done he asked for payment but the man asked if he could pay him after 30 days. The mason said “Sure you can, but don’t use that fireplace until you pay me”. The man agreed. After the mason left he stuck his head in the fireplace, looked up and saw daylight, so he lit up a fire. Instantly smoke came billowing out into the room, he had to douse the fire with water to stop it. He called up the mason and began yelling that the chimney must be blocked and it was no good. The mason said he’d fix it immediately, if he got paid. The man agreed. The mason came out, took the money, got out his ladder, and then climbed up to the top of the chimney with a single brick in his hand. Then he dropped the brick down the chimney breaking the pane of glass he had mortared across the opening.
Thanks for the advice, TriPolar, and for the great story.
**Renee, **I thought about the chimney cap. It’s terra cotta, and could be cracked. The only way to get a look at it, since our ladder-climbing days are over, is from the property next door, which is about fifteen feet lower than ours. It looks OK but who really knows from that distance?
In the seventeen years the Big Crow has owned this house, I don’t think he’s ever used the fireplace and it’s highly unlikely we ever will want to, so at least there’s no worries there.
Get out your vacuum cleaner and pull off the grate that is at the bottom front of your fridge. With the crevice tool (the long skinny thing nobody is sure what to do with it) clean out the coils underneath. A long skinny duster is useful, too.
You will gets gobs and gobs of dust, fuzz, cat hair, and God knows what. Everything that has ever rolled under the fridge since The Beginnibg of Time will be under there. It will be disgusting.
You and everyone I’ve tried to buy a house from lately. The first one had 5 layers of roof that rippled like the ocean and an active leak on to the wooden structural supports for house that they didn’t repair for at least two weeks that I know of. The latest one has had their roof fail with active water dripping into the house and the thermal camera shows a 2’ diameter puddle in the ceiling which of course they won’t repair so its going to sit and get worse until we can buy it from them in 2 weeks.
After renting for 4 years I’m looking forward to working on this house slowly for the next decade to repair his neglect. At least unlike the first guy he’s priced his house like it hasn’t been touched since he inherited it 30 years ago.
Our house celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. For decades it was owned by a dude who was a DIY enthusiast with the skillset of a drunken chimpanzee. We got things like a “French Drain” in the backyard that was really just a series of 50-gallon oil drums laid end to end, or a shingled roof that was really just a bunch of shingles nailed into corrugated tin using cheap nails that rusted away to nothing, turning the roof into a watering can, or a floor underlayer consisting of equal parts asbestos tiles and 1970s-style wood paneling.
Every time we have work done on the house, it’s a guarantee that the repair folks will call out at some point, “Uh, could you come in here and take a look at this?” They invariably follow it up with, “I’ve never seen anything like this before…”