Six years ago we were preparing to move from our cozy, safe little life to an adventure in Europe. We had to make decisions, purchases and purges, preparations, preparations, and… preparations. We were leaving our 4 (nearly) adult children in charge of the family home we were determined to preserve, and the devil was in the details.
And now in the process of repatriating, memories flood back about the concerns we cultivated, the excitement we expected, and the issues we anticipated. As I’ve been searching through some of those documents and problems we addressed in 2016, I came across the extensive chronicle of home maintenance I’d shared with our family.
How to Ru
in a House: a novella
Sunday evenings are very special to our family. To commemorate this amazing bond we have, we gather all our trash/recycling and put it by the curb. Because of this ritual, we have the MONDAY ceremony of returning the trash/recycling receptacles to their rightful places.
Dear Lockhart children…if you’ve been here over the weekend, please gather ALL the trash–upstairs and down–and remove it from the house to keep the stink monsters, soot gremlins, and critters away.
THERMOSTAT THEORIES — Summer settings for cooling–during the day, the thermostat is acceptable on 73 or so degrees (warmer if you want). At night, it can be turned down to 69, for a more pleasant sleeping environment. If you’re gone for the weekend in the summer, please turn thermostat up to 78 or more (in order to keep the Fairport Electric bill easy to manage). When the weather begins to cool in the fall, feel free to turn the thermostat to OFF position.
BEFORE TURNING THE HEAT ON WHEN THE WEATHER COOLS, and you’re sure you won’t turn on the air again…Change the ductwork in the basement. Photos for demonstration will follow.
For the thermostat in winter, please turn no higher than 71 degrees during the day. You may sleep more comfortably turning it down to around 66 at night. If you’ve been home for the weekend, please turn thermostat down to around 62 when you leave to go home. BRRR…
Please also take care to not leave crappy food in the fridge for too long. We’re not too excited to come home to a fuzzy green monster in the kitchen! (See Sunday ritual instructions)
Plumbing (in the color of plum
bs!) and other water issues
In case of a water emergency–think “flash flood” in the house–turn off water at the main valve in the basement. That valve turns off water for the entire house. In smaller cases, turn off water under each sink.
Please flush toilets on a weekly basis (keeps crud from growing).
On the rare occasion a breaker blows–you’ll know. Sometimes the vacuum cleaner and the de-humidifier running at the same time will cause the breaker to shut off. The electric box is in the basement in the corner past the fridge. If indeed a breaker blew, you’ll see one of these switches is not like the others (yes, I’m singing that age old Sesame Street song in my head), so simply flip it!
Feel free to vacuum–please once a week (if you’re here!). In the winter, those little cinders from the salt and road get tracked in and could mark up the floor. If you want to really CLEAN the floor, just use damp cloth with a tiny bit of Dawn–clean with one hand, wipe dry with the other =) Wax on…wax off….NO WAX–that was just a movie reference!! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087538/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Some quirks about doing laundry at home–comforters do not fit in the washing machine, no matter how hard you push and arrange. Those should be washed in a bigger machine in the laundromat (it’s not so bad–I’ve made friends there!).
Occasionally, it may begin to seem things aren’t getting dried so fast (don’t pack the dryer with huge loads). Sometimes the outside vent gets packed with lint. It’s around the garage by the air conditioner condenser thingy. Lift up the little flaps on the vent (or if the dryer’s on–they’ll be flapping a bit) and see if you need to pull some lint out. Do it well–keeps the flow good for drying capacities. The applications are endless!!! 😉 The bunnies and bird love the lint. Okay…I’m not really sure that’s true…just making it up…
In Case Something Happens to Us…
We have a will, though the attorney who did it for us is no longer practicing. See the letter I put with the will–it’s either in the safe–good luck finding that!–or in the file box on the basement steps.
We each have life insurance policies–Dad’s through work and Northwestern Mutual, mine through Mass Mutual–maybe Hartford, too (not sure about that one–I’m in the process of seeing if mine from work can be converted). And, should we die in Europe, our healthcare–United Healthcare–has a clause indicating they’ll pay to mail us home–or something like that! Hope it’s not price per pound…
Take care of each other
Love each other
Be kind and forgiving
Work hard, even when it’s not fun
Protect your hearts
Know we’re praying for you
Remember that your Dad and I lived an adventurous life, and as much as we love you, our Father in Heaven loves you so much more…