by Jon Spaulding, jon@smalldog.com

All things considered, it’s the wrong time to be listing our house, but on Valentine’s Day this year my wife and I did just that, looking to make some change in our lives. We both commute long distances every day, and day care for our boys is in a town outside our school district. My eldest will be five this fall, after the cut off date to start Kindergarten, but we wanted him to go to preschool somewhere our day care provider would be able to pick him up after school.

After listing our house, we came across a few properties that satisfy our needs as far as space and location are concerned. We went through the process of signing a contingent contract on one of the homes, and the wait began. Since February, we have had about fifteen showings and a well-attended open house. Two people were all but ready to buy, but couldn’t secure financing.

In desperation, my wife fired off an email to our realtor a week and a half ago about our inability to move our house. In a candid exchange, our realtor explained that some of the things she had heard from potential buyers were the darkness of our basement/family room and the busy wall paper in the master bedroom. Neither of these things bothered us.

Last Sunday, in a moment of frenzied haste, my wife began to remove the wallpaper only to reveal a job we were dreading. Our bedroom had layers of wallpaper upon wallpaper, and paint over yet more wallpaper.

We spent an hour here and there through the week, and were finally able to get all the paper cleanly off the walls. Last weekend, we were able to get the glue residue removed and the holes patched, leaving a wall ready for primer and paint. With that ready, we started to address the other deficiency–the lighting. My wife had already purchased new fixtures, so on Saturday afternoon and evening, I started to remove the old lights to be replaced. This revealed an ugly truth: the old fixtures covered great circles of damaged drop ceiling tiles that would have to be replaced prior to the lights themselves. So, Saturday, just after four in the afternoon, we set out on a great adventure to get paint and ceiling tiles from the local home center.

By the end of the day Monday, having taken the day off from work, I had newly and beautifully painted walls in my bedroom, a new ceiling in my family room, and new lighting to show it all off. What was supposed to be $180 in paint and lights ballooned to a staggering amount in the end. (Ah, the joy of being a home owner.)

An interesting aside: one mirthful sighting from our trip to the home center was a beat up old Chevy Suburban. The almost derelict rig was cruising down I-89 in central VT. Seeing writing on the back of the right and an absence of bumper stickers, I was intrigued–it was a website.

What we found was a blog written by a Vet, Daniel, about his travels on the road. I’ve read the entirely of the blog, and at this point, find Daniel to be funny and poignant. My wife was taken in by his story as well. In all the negativity that our society generates towards the military at this time, it’s always nice to see and learn the human story behind members of our armed forces.

Read about Daniel’s adventures for yourself on his blog.

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