Something in the Water


A photo of Susan B. SommerI’ve just learned there’s something in the water in our neighborhood. It causes a disease called H1NF and typically only affects men, especially those who’ve lived here a long time. Apparently, if too many germs from this malady build up in their system, they’re forever afflicted. H1NF’s common name is House 1 Never Finished.

Remodeling frustration

The causes of H1NF are many: lack of money or time; illness or injury; 80-hour work weeks; indecision; purchase of other more pressing items such as camper, RV, ATV, snow machine, or boat; football season; fishing season; cold beer. In fact, a friend up the hill swears it’s not the water wreaking havoc with our men’s systems, but something – ahem – a little stronger. Could be. Could also be that every so often they hear a voice on the wind calling, “Hhhhoooo - this is your cabin speaking ... when are you going to build my deck? And how about that Arctic entryway you promised?” Our poor chaps. They’re pulled in all directions! I do know that whenever my hubby and I earn a little extra money, we both agree it’s more fun to use it for fixing up the cabin than our house. So I admit I’m just as guilty of fostering our case of H1NF.

Cabin improvements in progress

Friends and neighbors have come up with all kinds of creative solutions for dealing with their own H1NF condition. One married gal whose kitchen floor was bare plywood for the longest time decided to sponge paint it a nice peaceful green to simulate a mossy carpet. Though a trail has been worn into the most active corridor, the floor retains a rustic charm that matches the rest of her house.

Another friend whose home, upon initial entry, seems finished – for it sports carpet, linoleum, and blinds – reveals a few small details left off the to-do list. The window sills have lacked trim for a decade. And a while ago (as in years, not weeks), the couple cut a wall back to make more room in the dining area. The flooring there still gapes, filling with dirt and crumbs between regular vacuumings. My friend just rolls her eyes and offers us ladies more wine. While sipping, we joke about trading our men to each other for house and yard projects, since they seem more eager to tackle others’ tasks than their own (especially if there’s beer). Maybe that way we’d all end up with finished houses one day. But probably not. Guys are so easily distracted by things like tractors, sawmills, “vintage” cars, and shiny tools.

Carolyn Mccartney
4/13/2013 6:58:34 PM

I just found your blog while reading a Grit article. The H1NF is not unique to AK alone - we have it here in MO, too. I live in a 100 year old house that is constantly suffering from this malady. As to the 2CGC's, my husband calls me a PILOT - I pile it (my special things} around me so I can find them easily. I enjoyed your articles and look forward to the next.

Frank Kennedy
8/13/2010 12:58:14 PM

I've been trying to figure out where your homestead is. I 'm sure it is in south central tho. I lived in Palmer for the better part of 10 years and wish now I had never left there. Do get some beautiful veggies there with all the sunlight in the summer

6/3/2010 11:31:53 AM

Nebraska Dave: Thanks, but we have plenty of "good" stuff in our garage already! You know, things like cans of bent nails, old hipboots, a huge boombox with double cassette player, and boxes of who-knows-what--all covered in a darkish grime and fringed with fuzz. I hear my Jeep rolling its headlights outside! Cindy: My condolences. Maybe we need a Facebook support page. :-) Susan

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