Well, come this October it will be seven years since we bought our house here in the charming suburb of Royal Oak. And with the anniversary, such as it is, comes the proverbial seven-year-itch--in this case, meaning it's time for some upgrades.
Now, we did the windows--all of them--a few years back, which did wonders for not only our heating bill but the overall appearance of the house.
This year brought bigger changes...
Doors: Many of the doors in this house--built in 1949--were of the hollow, flat, chintzy variety. Poorly painted, poorly finished, and even worse fitting, many of them were chipped, damaged, and, in several cases, didn't even close. In addition, the original front door was a bit ugly, all wood, and prone to swelling in warmer weather. So, it was off to Home Depot--and a contractor recommended by a friend of my partner's--to get new hardware. Nice six-panel doors for rooms and closets, and a slick fiberglass number with some nice glasswork up front (complete with new side panels) both looked good and worked wonderfully. Still missing is a front screen door (which would allow our cat, Frasier, to lounge in the summer sun and enjoy some fresh air), but there's plenty of time for that.
Paint: This created all sorts of challenge. While we liked most of the colors (although my partner wasn't thrilled with the peach in the family room), we were ready for some change. At the same time, my partner wanted to minimize the number of paint cans--e.g., we wouldn't be selecting a color just for one bathroom. And, despite some...er...odd-colored bathroom tiles (seafoam green, salmon, and warm grey), white walls were out (too drab). Fortunately, the guy who painted our neighbor's house two doors down promised a quick turnaround (one week at a great price) with his three colleagues, so the next task was selecting colors. With the help of our next-door neighbors, we put together a pretty decent palette. The painting team was friendly, professional, efficient, and high quality, and managed to paint the entire inside of the house in four days.
Technology: I know, I know--for being such a geek, you'd think I would have jumped on the HD bandwagon fairly early. However, there's really no other place in the house to put a 32" Sony tube TV, and so we'll be waiting until that TV dies before we get a nice flatscreen unit. Meanwhile, I had also been a bit resistant, as our curent TiVo is not HD, and I was dismayed to hear that TiVo's lifetime service was no longer available. Or so I thought--around the same time the painting was being scheduled, a notice popped up on our TiVo with a great upgrade offer--$30 off the unit, and half off the new lifetime service price. So, old TiVo went upstairs, and new HD-compatible TiVo Premiere (two tuners!) went into the family room. I've got a USB extension cord on order, as it turns out USB keyboards can be used with the Premiere units for doing things like entering searches (allowing me to ditch the ouija-board-style remote for character input). Also new? The iMac G4 in the family room. Turns out one of our recent storms apparently fried the power source; after expecting to pay about $100 for parts and labor, I found I could get a refurbished unit--with a bigger hard drive and faster processor--locally for $130. The old hard drive has been retrieved, and a USB wireless-G adapter means I can surf a bit faster.
So--lots of changes, all for the better. And now I can relax for another seven years (or until the TV dies)...