How to Have a House

Living with and understanding a home.


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Getting old sucks. Or does it?

Went to an appointment today to visit a couple who have been regular customers for about 8 years.  We realized this when we reflected on the fact that the second time I worked on the house Bob told me he just turned 80.  That first couple years Fran would blow the car horn at me when she was trying to get out of the garage, she had no time for me or my “costly” maintenance on the house.  Bob’s an old Marine who was in banking for years and clearly managed his money well.  Eight years ago he was just thinking of selling his 40 foot power boat he kept on the Great Lakes. Bob’s always hangs  out at the back of the truck and chats it up while I drag ladders and tools in and out. I learn a lot about customers at the back of the truck.  Bob always asks about my kids and wife and gives me tips on how to keep from pulling my own hair out trying to raise kids. Mostly he just laughs because he’d been there and done it.  The house is pretty good sized, about 4200 square feet. They built the house way after the kids were raised and out on their own, meaning it’s about 3 times bigger than necessary, but so is a 40 foot boat.  He paid for them both and can afford the upkeep and operation so more power to him.  Today was sweet.  Fran’s on a walker now and wants a ramp to get over the threshold of the sliding patio door going to the covered deck, I suggested a ramp going into the garage too so she can get to the car without depending on Bob to get her down what are now two of the toughest steps she’s ever seen.  I’ve worried about these two for a while.  Their getting skinny and frail and are as independent as can be. I’ve suggested in home help a thousand times and they aren’t ready yet. Bob forgets he’s cooking and burns food on the stove all the time.  Fran complains Bob’s health is making her nervous. I hear her complaints while installing grab bars in her shower. He’s the strong silent type except for rolling his eyeballs.  They’re clearly in love.  Bob and Fran are going to stay in this big house.  The boat’s been sold but they still have both cars. Fran admitted she doesn’t drive anymore which is good because she was tearing the edges of the garage up 5 years ago.  They will both celebrate their 88th birthdays in the next two weeks.  I better get the ramps in, they’ve got a lot to get done.  I don’t want to be accused of slowing them down.


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Old school brain, new school blog.

Those of you who have followed me on my Jonas Brothers Inc. facebook page know how much I love houses. How much I love the families living in those houses and how I share my passion for those houses through pictures, videos and written word.  It’s almost impossible for me to resist comment when a house issue comes up.  My personality and character add to the whole thing making for a natural move to a blog format.  As many of you know I’ve written and presented a seminar called How to Have a House. It’s interactive, which means I’m not interested in lecturing, but instead prefer the joy of conversation. Plus, as the presenter of said seminar I get to stand in front of a crowd cracking jokes and have fun digging into what are often tough subjects concerning home ownership. This is my passion.  Let’s go.  I’ll be posting here regularly. I’ll bring photos, stories and videos illustrating the homes we all live in.  Join me. Invite your friends to join. This will be fun.