I’m looking at a bunch of repairs that this house needs while pondering questions about money. We don’t have anywhere near enough to even get started, so what to do?Take out a low-interest loan against the house to get the work done? Or struggle along without  money and hope nothing really bad happens?

Which of these is the simple answer? IS there a simple answer?

Winter in New England
Home in the fall

I don’t have an answer. Not even close to an answer.

Maybe we are a bit long in the tooth to take out long-term money? Yet there are so many things that need doing. I don’t know how else we could get them done.  Bathrooms, windows, floors. Almost everything needs at least a bit of work or repair.

Everyone talks about the simple life, but as mine rolls along, nothing is ever simple.

My world is not simple. It may look that way until you get into the details. After that, it’s endlessly complicated.


  1. Tish Farrell February 9, 2018 / 3:04 pm

    These are very troubling dilemmas. In the UK we have a system where you can release equity from your home, by selling it to a property company, who allow you to continue to live in it until you pass on. But at that point they will swoop and take possession. If you are not worrying about heirs then this seems to work for some people. On the other hand, it could be a worse minefield with too much small print to digest. So sorry you have all this worry.


    • Martha Kennedy February 9, 2018 / 3:17 pm

      We call that a “reverse mortgage.” I had a good friend who benefitted from that, but you have to have a lot of equity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marilyn Armstrong February 9, 2018 / 3:23 pm

        We don’t have enough equity. We have A LITTLE BIT of equity, finally, but not nearly enough. By the time we do, we will be too old to worry about it. i think we are already too old to worry about it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Martha Kennedy February 9, 2018 / 5:57 pm

          I doubt I’ll live long enough to have enough equity in my house to use it to help me out, AND this is a depressed economic area anyway. We just do the best we can with what we have and try not to worry about it. ❤


          • Marilyn Armstrong February 9, 2018 / 6:34 pm

            I’m trying for a very low interest home equity loan at our bank. They sent us the papers. That would be the simplest solution. IF they will give us the money and that is very much a question without an answer. I really don’t want to refinance. Every time we have refinanced, we’ve gotten screwed. Somehow, some way, it always bites us on the ass. But if we wait much longer, it really will be hopeless and if we are going to live here, we need to fix at least the bathroom and the front wall of the house. Everything else is cosmetic.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Martha Kennedy February 9, 2018 / 7:37 pm

              I did a refi last year hoping to get the money for the garge. I didn’t, but I got my interest rate lowered by 2 percentage points and that’s good; it amounts to $200/month less in house payment. I went with the company that had the mortgage and they were very motivated to keep my business.


  2. Embeecee February 9, 2018 / 3:12 pm

    When I bought my ‘low maintenance’ home here, I actually believed that. *snort*…Nothing is ever simple, and we’re simple if we believe it will be. My hopes that you find a reasonable solution…


    • Marilyn Armstrong February 9, 2018 / 3:24 pm

      I think we are going to just live in it as long as we can and if we can’t, NO idea. Complete blank. I’ve always found answers where there were none, but I think I’ve run out of answers and am left with nothing at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Martha Kennedy February 9, 2018 / 3:17 pm

    I don’t think there is a simple life and certainly not if you are living in a rural setting. That’s advertising, I think, by real estate agents to sell property in the country. Maybe what’s “simple” is what you’re used to. I don’t know. My life has elements of simplicity to it but they are counter-balanced by related complexity. Living alone simplifies a lot of life BUT because I live alone, I have to arrange someone to stay with me after my surgery, etc. That’s not to say that my phantom partner might not be unable to care for me at that time, which is another complexity. If I lived in a city, I wouldn’t have to travel so far to find an orthopedic surgeon BUT I would also not be able to call my hospital and request a copy of my X-ray and get it 30 minutes later or have a nice herd of bison to watch from the parking lot. I have no idea what “simple” means in the case of organizing one’s life. I don’t think it exists. And yeah; stuff constantly needs fixing and THAT (I learned last summer) is NOT simple out here in the wilds of America. OH well…


    • Marilyn Armstrong February 9, 2018 / 3:26 pm

      I’m at a loss. We fixed all this stuff when we moved in 18 years ago and it all needs fixing again because, it turns out, things get old. Not just people. Our stuff doesn’t stay new. I don’t know where I got the idea that you just fix it and it stays fixed forever. I think I never lived anywhere long enough to have to come around again for another repair.

      I’m left really not knowing what to do. I get exhausted even thinking about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Martha Kennedy February 9, 2018 / 5:56 pm

        I have the same idea. fix it and it’s fixed. I just got rid of a 14 year old printer. I always hated it. I named it Darth Printer. It was an asshole. But it finally got too fractious to deal with and then it swallowed 1/3 ream of paper. The new printer arrived today. It’s actually simple to set up and helpful. Technology in the past 14 years has improved the interface in several different ways. Who knew?


        • Marilyn Armstrong February 9, 2018 / 6:36 pm

          I had to do that too. My old printer finally decided it wasn’t going to print anymore. The new one is so much easier to use. And it is faster and the ink is cheaper. Who’d have guessed?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Martha Kennedy February 9, 2018 / 7:35 pm

            I sure didn’t. The ink for my new printer is simpler and cheaper, too. I truly hated Darth Printer. I would’ve taken a hammer to him if it wouldn’t have been so dangerously messy.


  4. Donnalee February 9, 2018 / 3:42 pm

    Hmm. No tech school anywhere near you or contiuing ed school with an outreach program, where you could contact the teacher and see if they have ideas about using your position to teach students how to do stuff…? I’m just making it up but there might be some help there, the way people go to dental clinics and get worked on by trainees. I hope you figure it out or at least let yourself not get freaked by it. We have an older house too so I know what you mean. We just bought ours this year but it has been neglected for a long time, so we inherited all the problems too. Good luck with it.


    • Marilyn Armstrong February 9, 2018 / 5:12 pm

      Not that I know of. But we are going to do some checking around at the Senior Center where they know a lot of this stuff. It’s ironic. We have fantastic credit. We could get refinanced tomorrow and probably be in about the same month-to-month position we’re in now. But our great credit hides the fact that we are on a fixed income and the idea of adding more debt isn’t making me feel all warm and runny.


      • Donnalee February 9, 2018 / 5:19 pm

        I understand comepletly. Limited money only goes so far. I hope the Senior Center has good ideas for you that don’t get you into debt.


  5. slmret February 9, 2018 / 3:54 pm

    I was also wondering if a reverse mortgage would help — it seems you’ve explored that option. Otherwise I have no good ideas for you.


    • Marilyn Armstrong February 9, 2018 / 5:14 pm

      We don’t have enough equity. We’re at about 30-40%. You need at least 60-70%. We could refinance. But first, I think I need to find out how much what we need to do will actually COST.


  6. Covert Novelist February 9, 2018 / 4:32 pm

    I like the tech suggestion. We had one at our highschool. It was a mechanics related one, but hey might be worth a thought.


    • Marilyn Armstrong February 9, 2018 / 5:14 pm

      I am planning to do some checking, but I don’t think so — at least not anywhere near us.


      • Covert Novelist February 9, 2018 / 7:15 pm

        Well damn! That would have been a simpler answer and far less costly. Sometimes they ask for cost of supplies, sometimes not.


  7. swo8Leslie February 9, 2018 / 5:13 pm

    Simple is when the hot water tank doesn’t crash and the waste water disappears and the bank book balances. I wouldn’t take a loan of the house, interest rates could go any direction. Make a list and prioritize. Start with most urgent and least expensive and slowly work your way through it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and home maintenance seems to go on forever.


    • Marilyn Armstrong February 9, 2018 / 5:16 pm

      That was what I was trying to do. But we’ve got some stuff happening now that really MUST be fixed and we’re just out of money. We’ll see. The urgent stuff we need done? Fix the wall in the front of the house that I think (can’t tell because of the siding covering it) has dry rot … and the window that’s falling out of it. And then, replace the two toilets and sinks … and the shower. I don’t think it’s a million dollars of work, but it’s more than we have.


  8. Globug February 9, 2018 / 8:20 pm

    The worst thing about getting older is the inability to DIY without serious bodily harm…the things I wouldn’t hesitate to do in my 40’s & 50’s are quite impossible now. Heck, I can’t even get into my socks without help anymore! lol I’ve remodeled 2 homes. The last, I fired the guy doing my tile because he was botching the job and did it myself. Ignorance is sometimes bliss – I never questioned my ability to be able to do a better job than he was. Now, just planning where I am going to put my new flower beds has taken me months to figure out. Best advice I can give, find someone you can barter with and trade something you can do for something they can do. Do the most urgent first. Pay as you go for materials, a little at a time. I’d advertise in my local paper for a handyman – get references – but you knew that already. I’ve created websites, designed business cards, stationary, done taxes, etc. for work I needed done that I couldn’t do myself. If you belong to a local church, you may be able to easily find help there…all us oldies are in the same boat with many things…I hope you find a solution without going into hock or hurting yourselves!


    • Marilyn Armstrong February 9, 2018 / 9:56 pm

      When I lived in the city, that had more possibilities. Out here? No one needs a writer. They don’t need a reporter, either. Life in the country — people need gardeners, builders, plumbers, roofers, window installers. I wish I did have something to swap. I’d be swapping the hell out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Globug February 10, 2018 / 11:48 pm

        If I lived closer, I could certainly help with some of it. Have done quite a bit, if nothing else, I could help you do it. I live in the city and it is no longer neighbor’s helping each other…I don’t know a single one of my neighbor’s and I’ve been here over 7 years now. It’s like that everywhere I suppose. Will keep my fingers crossed for you.


  9. Rebel Guy February 10, 2018 / 12:26 pm

    You can measure up the size of window you need and check out a local window company . They always throw away windows that have been replaced. It might take a month or so but you can get a great replacement for free. Your windows look standard so you shouldn’t have a problem finding one Then find a word of mouth handyman to put it in for you. With any luck the 2×6 window frame is still good . I wonder if the window is insulated around the edges. If not condensation is likely the problem . From the picture your windows look like vinyl but it is hard to tell. I feel your pain my house is 125 years old . I hope this advice helps,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn Armstrong February 11, 2018 / 12:06 am

      I think when they put up the siding, there may have been dampness in the wall that has turned to dry rot. The window looks okay, but the wall is sagging. I’ve got a guy coming next week who may be able to help. My son says it is outside his skill set. He’s pretty good, but he has learned where to draw the line.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. thereluctantpoet February 11, 2018 / 7:50 am

    Ha! I have to laugh, sorry! It’s just that your problem seems to be the same as the rest of the 80% – too much to do and not enough money. I think it’s a function of the law of nature – everything deteriorates. Maybe you should adopt the motto we have at our house – “IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING!” Make a list and do the best you can, My Friend! Great post!


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