Monday, February 16, 2009

Book Recommendation

As children and teens, most of us have had at least one conversation with our parents where we try to convince them that our argument is valid by comparing the situation with someone else.

"John's parents let him stay up until 11 and he isn't tired the next day at school."

"John's been to concerts and he's never gotten into trouble."

"Everybody else in school already has a VCR. Why don't we have one yet?"

Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn't. In the end its the parents who give or take, allow or deny. Then we reach adulthood. We're free to stay up as late as we want, drink as much as we want, eat whatever we want and generally do whatever we want (and naturally suffer the consequences).

I've found, now that I'm an adult, that when I've done something rash, something that people might even term as foolish, I still fall into this old pattern of comparison to prove that what I've done is acceptable and normal behavior. In fact, what I've done might even be laudable.

For all those people who think that we went off the deep end when we bought this house (and I know that many of you were just too polite to say so), I'd suggest reading “All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House" by David Giffels. I stumbled across the book when I first saw this article Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Solvent in relation to the ongoing economic doom in the housing market. This led me to the book, which my wife got at the library and gave me on Friday. I finished it on Sunday.

Comparing our two situations is like comparing a cold to terminal pneumonia. This guy embodies the American "can do" spirit and is willing to take on any project with a megalomaniacal glee. And based on the photos I saw, he's doing a darn good job. But I can't imagine starting with what he started.

He's an interesting fellow and a very good writer with a respectable vocabulary, which is all the more amusing when you learn he's written for Beavis and Butthead.

I highly recommend this book, and it should be a requirement for anyone who thinks they want to own a "fixer-upper". I don't know the last time I read a book that I could so clearly empathize with.


Christopher Busta-Peck said...

I really enjoyed the book, too. I had to fight the urge to read every other passage aloud to my wife, with the object of convincing her that I'm not nearly so crazy as that guy.

Pusher said...

I've never thought you were crazy. There have definitely been moments when I was glad I didn't have to do all that work, but I stand by my opinion that your house is worth it, and my admiration for all of you for doing it right.

Ms. Huis Herself said...

Hey, nice new header, hon!