I'm hoping that 2009 will be the Year of Home Improvement.
Already we've arranged for a badly-needed paint job on our eaves and trim. That will involve some repair on rotted woodwork. A couple of places where the roof is leaking in our overhang have also been discovered; that means that roof work will quickly follow the painting.
For Valentine's Day, Noel arranged to have our dining room chairs repaired and reupholstered, and they should be coming back any day. Depending on how much money we have left, the next step will be some work in the backyard -- clearing an overgrown garden plot, removing a gravel-covered area where an RV garage once stood, and hauling away the remains of a metal shed and a pallet compost enclosure.
I doubt we'll be flush enough to keep going after that unless our tax refund is a lot bigger than I'm anticipating. But what would be next, if we could? I'd plump for landscaping our front lawn, which is supported by railroad timbers that are falling apart, and from which every hard rain washes soil into the sewer system. But we also need a new shower enclosure in our bathroom. And once we clear the clutter out of our living areas, I'm ready for new carpets and new window treatments all around.
Sounds ambitious, I know, especially in a time when we're supposed to be cutting back spending. But here's the thing: In five years, our house is going to be paid off. We're going to need to do one of two things to keep the tax bill in check: buy a new house, or take out a new mortgage on this one. Either way, this place will need to be brought up to a reasonable person's standards. And personally, speaking as a person lucky enough to have disposable income and a decent credit score, I'm ready to keep going.