Pandemic Property Improvements

By Joe Rector

Covid-19 swooped across the world and halted most activities. Americans grumbled because many lost their yearly trips to beaches, theme parks, and state parks. July 4th celebrations were canceled, as were most Labor Day activities. Thanksgiving get togethers didn’t occur, and Christmas Day might also come with folks staying at home to help stop the spread of the disease.

Many Americans have taken the money they saved for vacations and applied it to projects around their homes. Amy and I planned to complete some projects, but things have gotten out of control.

At home, we wanted to remodel the master bathroom. This space is Amy’s; my bathroom is at the far end of the house. However, we first needed to address some pressing needs at our condo in Gallatin. The heat pump gave up the spirit in mid-fall, and right behind that, the garbage disposal died. Luckily, our neighbor there put us in touch with men who completed the replacements quickly and economically. We still must replace the two ceiling fans that have never worked and install a storm door.

At home, we made a tough decision to replace the roofing. The existing shingles were worn so much that more of their small rocks lay in the gutters than on the roof. Much of the guttering was painted white over the original brown color. Those sections of metal had been in place since we built our house in 1978. The new 6-inch wide gutters stopped the cascading rain that flowed during downpours. We have two skylights, and as fate would have it, they leaked like a boat with a hole. That unexpected hit required even more investment. Daniel Hood Roofing did the work, and while the company did the work at a fair price, the monetary hit was still a shock.

My wife has waited for too many years to upgrade her bathroom. I declared that we would complete the renovation and find a way to pay for it. She’s picked colors, vanities, shower units, toilets and lights. Most of the time I’ve nodded and stated, “I love it.” That’s what a woman wants to hear when she makes a choice, and since this bathroom is hers, I had no real say in what went into it. I believe in the adage that say, “If Momma’s happy, everybody is happy!”

For what we’ve spent on these home improvements, Amy and I could have spent a month at some all-inclusive resort. I’m ready for a vacation, but I’m also pleased that our home and condo are in good repair, at least for a while. I do know that this is the last roof for which I will pay. In thirty years, I probably won’t be around, and if I am, my children will have stuck me in some assisted living place. Then they can take care of repairs and remodel areas to suit their tastes. Maybe they will even let me come visit the house.

I hope every homeowners’ experience with changes at home have gone as well as mine. This damn disease that has paralyzed our country has been a positive in one way: it has brought about more homeownership pride and improvements that will increase property values. That might be the only civil thing I can ever say about 2020 or this pandemic.

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