We've been getting ready to sell for years

The Enterprise — Jo E. Prout

Fond farewell: The author’s daughter, Marcela, takes a wistful look at a swing that may soon leave her yard. A meadow beckons beyond.

The Enterprise — Jo E. Prout

Two cute kids, Grandma's quilt, and a flea-market bed turn a former laundry room into a welcoming guest room.

The Enterprise — Jo E. Prout

New and old: “The one on the right is ours, but it's 2 pieces!” says Jo E. Prout. “Hubby knew that, but we didn't. No wonder it took us so long to find replacements.”

The Enterprise — Jo E. Prout

The new deck is fun to hang out on as the author’s daughters, Marcela and Clara, illustrate. But will it bring a buyer to their door?

We’ve been waiting for the tulips to pop and the weigela to bloom to call a Realtor and put our house back on the market. Being in the hills, our bloom season is always a week or two behind the Hudson Valley, so the blooms are taking their sweet time.

That pesky frost date holds back, too, so I can’t drape my porch and deck with welcoming flowers from the garden center, yet — decorating with new flowers is one of my favorite springtime activities! While we wait, we’ve been preparing the house, which obliges The Enterprise every six months with a new, and desperate, repair.

This month, we fixed the bathroom, by which I do not mean to imply that we redecorated the bathroom. My poor husband fixed it, because, while he was gathering tools from the basement for some trifling project, he noticed that the pipes leading out from the bathroom toilet had completely eroded.

In fact, while he watched, the pipes gave way completely, spilling gray water onto our slate basement floor. Yuck! Luckily, he wasn’t standing beneath the rotted pipe, or his disgust would have been twofold.

Toilet off, new pipe installed, toilet on, all finished. Except for the tiny, tiny leak. Maybe next week we’ll fix the seal, by which I mean, of course, my husband will fix the seal.

I choose to be less handy. He’d like to choose to be less handy, too. A home built in the current millennium is calling our names.

We also created a guest room and moved the laundry to the bathroom. He was already doing the plumbing — why not a bit more? We’d had the laundry in its own room, which can be a nice sales point, but the truth is, it was a combined laundry and guest room.

My mother-in-law cannot climb stairs, so we put a guest bed and furniture in the laundry room and the two functions shared. The plan was eventually to move the laundry if she wanted to move in.

That room and the formal piano room in front of it make up the original home’s first floor; the rest has all been added on in rambling farmhouse fashion. We offered the two rooms to her as an apartment, but she was less than impressed. So, we left the laundry there until last week.

We had to give up some of our storage in the bathroom, but we didn’t need to keep hoarding all that stuff anyway, right? Well, maybe just some of the baby clothes I can’t bear to part with.

Some of it could definitely go. Once the bins were out, Hubby knocked out the wall, checking first to be sure it wasn’t load-bearing. Whew! His engineer’s stamp sure comes in handy.

One stacking kit later, at a surprising cost of only $30, and the laundry is now tucked into the bathroom closet, with all appropriate plumbing and venting going in their appropriate directions.

There was a bit of a snag hooking it up, though. At 9 o’clock the night he was ready to hook things up, my son and I were standing at the hardware store snapping pics of valves and texting them back to Hubby.

Yeah, the pipes were old, and one of the valves didn’t fit on the new plastic pipe, having been married to copper for so long. A customer walked past with his little kid and offered to help us. He’s not practicing now, but he was a plumber. Score!

He grabbed what we needed in two seconds. We’d been there for 20 minutes. Reminder to self: always check with a professional.

On the upside, my son is getting an education, of sorts. He prefers all things Google, but he can now differentiate between ½-inch and ¾-inch hot and cold water valves. He’s becoming well-rounded, in the best sense.

We plan to trim out the laundry opening, but I can barely write that without laughing. Trim is not our strong point. In the meantime, a simple curtain partially covers the opening. It works, and now we have a real guest room.

We found an older Jenny Lind head- and footboard set at the local flea market for $5. There were no rails with it, and we didn’t have a frame, having used stacked bricks to hold the bed previously — please, don’t tell my mother-in-law.

Hubby picked up $12 worth of lumber and, in two hours, we had a lovely guest bed for a total of $17. We asked our son, who weighs 140 pounds, to test it out. We nearly had fits when he threw himself on it, but the frame held. Whew, again!

After a quick log-on to Zillow.com, our four-bedroom house is now a five-bedroom house. We bought it labeled as a six-bedroom, but that was just wishful thinking on the part of the previous Realtor.

Back outside, we plan to install a rail around our front-door deck, built last fall to create a nice landing. Having the decking all winter was great, but decorating it with rails will make it look better, too. And, then I’ll have more places to put my flowers.

Sadly, the yard swing has to go. The strong winds last week killed it dead. I was going to replace it anyway, as the seat supports had rusted through, but I’d left it up as an “idea” for potential buyers on how they could sit and stare at the meadow and watch the birdies next to the front flower garden.

Now, the support hook has broken off. Our budget doesn’t cover replacing the swing, but I enjoy the meadow, myself, so maybe we’ll splurge.

So many more projects need to be done, but perhaps we’ve done enough that someone else will come in and bring their own vision and enthusiasm. If not, we’ll make do and enjoy the house for now, and the tulips and weigela when they finally bloom. And, we’ll wait for the house to ask for another repair.