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I was waiting for the plumber yesterday morning, trying to figure out when we last replaced our toilet, and I realized, we took possession of our house 13 years ago today. We had planned to stay until Big Guy graduated from high school, but he graduated (and moved out) a few years ago. Great! 13 years and 3 toilets later, and we still have an irritable system!

It’s been almost a year since we went house hunting, and it certainly was not from any lack of desire to trade my hovel “castle” for a nicer hovel “castle”. It’s because I had my heart broken by what promised to be my perfect century home.

From the front, it looked like an English cottage. It boasted 4 bedrooms, a dining room, an eat-in kitchen, a family room and a large bonus room. It had a fenced side and back yard with a large garden shed. Best of all, the front of the house faced our friends’ yard, not that I want to live like Lucy & Ethel, but maybe we could help each other out with kids in an emergency or borrow a cup of sugar.

The smell of roses was in the air as I stepped up to the front door. It had a large dining room to the left with high ceilings. I could put my harvest table and my antique bookshelves in there with room to spare. To the right, a large bedroom with a small closet (this could be my new room). So far, so good…but what is that smell?

We headed down the hall to a dimly lit kitchen. It was dimly lit because it hadn’t been renovated since the early ‘80s (which meant it was still an upgrade for me)! I walked around the island and nudged the open cupboard door with my toe. The door fell off. I was admiring the mud room and the spacious side yard with a broken, upside-down hot tub, when Hubby noticed something strange. Ok, the makeshift laundry and pantry rooms were strange, but it was the floor that caught his attention. Yup! Slants downhill. He lost his quarter. On the plus side, though, this washer didn’t require quarters like the last house. Seriously, what is that smell?

The large family room, to be polite, had “rustic charm”, a fireplace and lots of blackened brick. And the bonus room had glass walls and green felt carpet. Hubby noticed there was no heat source. Bonus: you can only use this room 3 seasons of the year. It would appear that the fireplace was the only source of heat for the entire first floor. Hubby’s heart was growing cold.

The bedrooms were tiny with slanted ceilings and no closets. Well… we did say we need to simplify. I don’t remember if there was a bathroom…I was still distracted by that smell…

Hubby investigated the crawlspace next; I declined to descend the steep steps into the “pit”. Apparently the smell originated there in the form of a wet sludgy puddle at the bottom…and up until then, it had been a dry season.

It was a quiet drive home. I watched the sun setting over the corn fields and farmhouses, choking back tears. For a time, all efforts to de-clutter stalled. The weeds ran wild, along with the dust bunnies…

I am still adjusting to the fact that I will probably die in this house. After 13 years in this house, the plumbing still doesn’t work properly. But…I finally got the new blinds I have coveted all this time…so if I’m going to die in this house, at least I can do it privately.