Deferred Maintenance

When it comes to home maintenance, I have a philosophy: projects must fully mature before I will address them. Just now, for example, our bathroom sink’s drain is clogged. Not water-standing-permanently-in-the-sink clogged, merely water-backs-up-and-drains-slowly-so-that-it-takes-several-operations-of-the-faucet-to-get-rid-of-the-shaving-cream clogged. This condition is now approximately three weeks old. It’s maturity level is seven out of ten. I anticipate that within a week, at most two, it will fully mature and I will deal with the problem. To paraphrase the redoubtable Orson Welles, I will fix no problem before its time.

Home Maintenance Is Like A Fine Wine

This approach works tolerably well and over the years, the lovely Marianne and I have reached a mostly easy, occasionally strained, rapprochement on the subject. When she notices items and brings them to my attention, I conduct an initial evaluation, assign a maturity level and keep careful watch to pounce on the project when in the fullness of time it has reached the peak of readiness.

I don’t want to leave the wrong impression here. I’m no handyman. My home improvement skills top out at putting in a new faucet or light fixture. Anything beyond that is beyond me. I know people who finish basements and redo kitchens and bathrooms, but that ain’t yours truly. No, I stand firmly with Jerry Seinfeld.

The Only Thing Jerry and I Have in Common.

We have had an unusually wet spring. As the spring rains ramped up, it came to my attention that water was not pouring from our home’s gutters as it should. I dutifully logged the gutter cleaning project and started monitoring its maturity. Yesterday after a month and a half of our wet spring, I judged the gutter cleaning task mature. So I hauled out my ladder. When I reached our home’s east side by the chimney I discovered I had a little forest with its own eco-system.

Not my actual gutter, but a reasonable representation.

Judging from the different flora, whole species and a new civilization had evolved in my gutter. I even glimpsed miniature buldings deep in the jungle with smoke from tiny chimneys. I hesitated only a moment then overcame my reluctance and with ruthless efficiency removed the entire offending community. Harsh perhaps, but if you let that sort of thing go too long, you’ll find you’ve lost your home. I came away from the experience with the impression I needed to alter my definition of when a project has matured– something I’ll consider doing in the very near future.

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