When we were house hunting, I had four very specific requirements. 1. a dining room 2. an entryway. 3. no garage in the front and 4. a house you stepped UP to, with a front porch. This house had all four of those things and so I bought it.
Anyway. I have had big plans for the front porch, right from the beginning. Tile the cement with terra cotta tiles. Add a fancy light and an olive tree in a pot. Wrap the skinny posts in nice wide wood cladding. And buy a new exterior front door with lots of glass in it, add an old fashioned door knob to it, and paint it red. And then get a new screen door.
Unfortunately our house is suffering from years of neglect and we pretty much do projects on a “this just fell off oh my god” basis. I am not even sure I can remember everything we’ve done, but a quick list goes something like: painted all the rooms including the ceilings, restored the fireplace including a new mantel, ripped the water heater out of the kitchen and hung a new one on the back of the house, removed three trees and graded and landscaped the side yard, replaced the garage roof, new gate in the backyard, entire new backyard (we didn’t do all of that ourselves), new light fixtures in every room but one, new medicine cabinet, new back porch, painted the kitchen cabinets, new landscaping in the front yard and the other side of the house, replaced and resurfaced the plaster in the hallway, added a dishwasher, and misc. plumbing and electrical disasters.
This doesn’t include replacing all the appliances and buying a houseful of new furniture, so we’ve been busy. And poor.
Also, I would just like to add that whenever I see a real estate walking through a house with a couple and saying over and over “Oh, paint is easy and cheap!” I just laugh. Because painting nine rooms including the ceilings (which sucks) when you have two kids and don’t own any painting supplies and have to repair plaster and fix cracks is a lot of things, but it’s not really that cheap or that easy. Just saying.
Anyway, I’ve been slooooowly working on the front porch, not that you’d know it. We bought a mail box. I scraped all the chipping white paint off the ceiling and the roof (this SUCKED) and patched it and repainted it. We put new house numbers on, and when Smith & Hawken went out of business I hustled over there to buy their cast iron doormat and spray painted it black. I am ashamed to admit that I also jumped the gun spectactularly, and one of the first things I bought when we moved in here was a gallon of red paint for the front door I was going to buy someday. And then I bought an old doorknob on Ebay. And then this stuff sat in my garage for three years.
Do you have any idea how hard it is find a real wood front door that’s not a thousand dollars? It is difficult. I am sure I could find an OLD front door, at ReStore or something, but I honestly do not think that Mr. E and I possess the skills required to get anything other than a prehung door on this wonky ass old ass house. Which means a $50 door at ReStore is going to cost me $1000 in labor anyway, because I’m going to have to pay someone to work some serious mojo on it to get it in the space.
So then I decided that I’d just make the best of things, because shit, I have the paint. I have the doorknob. I can’t find a new door I like anyway. So I would just paint the front door I have red, and that might be better in the long run anyway, because even though it doesn’t have a window in it, I am not sure I’ll ever be able to fit another door in this space (seriously, you should see how much they had to cut down the top of this door to get it in), and again, I can’t find a wood door. I just needed a deadbolt lock, because the door knob that is on the door now is one of those cheap interior locks (I know) and there’s no dead bolt. There’s a dead bolt on the horrible iron screen door, but I wanted to take that off, obviously. The new door knob doesn’t have a lock, so I needed to add one to the door.
No problem. I take everything off the door and buy a lock.
Then I leave the bag with the door lock in it, which I have paid for, at the check out at Home Depot.
I go back to Home Depot.
I bribe Eli, who REALLY doesn’t want to go back to Home Depot, with Jamba Juice.
I get back home and carry Katie and a cup of Jamba Juice and a lock and my purse and my keys up to the front door, and she pries the lid off the cup and flings Orange Dream Machine all over the porch, and all over me. It is in my hair, all over my shirt, all over my skirt, all over my shoes, all over Katie. It is my TOES, and I am wearing sneakers.
I prime the door, and start painting it red. It’s the weirdest looking paint in the world, it goes on hot pink, and it’s over white primer, so it looks AWFUL, and it’s apparent I will have to put 7,000 coats of this paint on this door, but whatever. Project Red Door is a go!
Katherine vomits all over me and the couch. Then while I am cleaning that up, she poops all over me.
I have a big fight with Mr. E about the front door, because this project involves work, which he is allergic to.
I realize that the old doorknob I bought on Ebay is just the knob, literally, and has no tongue or innards, and won’t fit with the workings of the doorknob I removed, and I have to order a special part to make it work.
I open the package for the lock, and realize I need a hole saw. Mr. E and I have another fight about how much money this project is costing.
I go back to Home Depot.
Mr. E reads the lock directions, and starts to figure out where to put the lock. I hear a lot of mysterious tapping and banging and then some yelling. Then more yelling. Perhaps a bad word or two as well.
We realize that the FRONT EXTERIOR DOOR of our house is actually AN INTERIOR HOLLOW CORE DOOR.
Because of this, I cannot add a lock, since the door is hollow and there’s nothing to drill into. So glad I bought that hole saw! I cannot use my pretty new (old) door knob, because it doesn’t have a lock in it, it’s just a door knob. I can’t take off the UNBELIEVABLY UGLY iron security door, because a HOLLOW CORE INTERIOR DOOR (!) isn’t secure as a front door. ARGHHHHHHHHHH.
Oh for god’s sake. Sometimes I want to write the previous owners of this house a really long letter. In this letter I would use I use ALL the bad words. A great many times.
Whatever. I’m still painting the stupid door red. Sparkling garnet, if those kinds of things are the kinds of things you need to know.
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