To Do List Claustrophobia

Remember time claustrophobia?

I have a new claustrophobia to add to the canon: the weight of the mostly undocumented, and thus theoretically endless, list of tasks to be completed around the house. Not the “install a new septic system” or “get the roof replaced” list, the “fix the wobbly step” or “touch up the paint in the bedroom list.”

I had cause to quickly commit my personal list, for 100 Prince Street, to paper this weekend, and here’s what I came up with:

  1. Front vestibule screen door doesn’t close properly. Best case scenario it can be straightened so that it does; fallback position is to replace it. 
  2. Main front door needs weatherproofing: I’d had weatherstripping in place previously, but had to remove this as it made the door too difficult for Oliver to close and lock. As it stands it’s very drafty and seems like low-hanging fruit for cutting down on heat loss. 
  3. In the upstairs hallway an old stove pipe that was plastered over has emerged through the plaster, leaving the wall in need of repair and painting. 
  4. At the top of the stairs there’s loose/squeaky stair that I’ve been meaning to have addressed for 20 years. 
  5. When we had our bathroom renovated 20 years ago, there was never a door sill installed between the bathroom and the hall, leaving bare plywood. It would be nice to have something there. 
  6. When we first moved into our house we ripped up blue shag carpet that covered the entire house. We only partially replaced the quarter-round that came out with it, and it would be nice to have this replaced now. There are two upstairs bedrooms and the upstairs hall without it. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find the list only has 6 items on it. And, to be honest, if the upstairs bedrooms went without quarter-round for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t lose a lot of sleep.

With the exception of the screen door, which I think needs the skills of a professional, I think I can probably take on the rest of the list myself over the winter.

With the list committed to paper, its claustrophobic powers are much reduced.


Ton Zijlstra 's picture
Ton Zijlstra on November 17, 2020 - 16:57 Permalink

My observation and experience suggests that quarter-rounds only finally get fixed when a house goes up for sale :)

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on November 17, 2020 - 17:07 Permalink

That is an astute observation.

Paul Capewell's picture
Paul Capewell on November 18, 2020 - 05:15 Permalink

Committing these things to a list both diminishes them and makes them concrete, I find. Can go both ways!

Your post reminded me of a great little film by a chap called Beau Miles. He decided to run a mile around his block - one per hour - and in the intervening time he ticked off a bunch of little niggling to-do items from a list. He did this for a whole day, running a marathon in the process. Inspiring and - of course - slightly mad:

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on November 18, 2020 - 16:04 Permalink

That is a great find, thank you.

It reminds me, as well, that I often experience chained bursts of inertia-busting activity: making tomato sauce prompts me to make apple sauce, prompts me to prune the apple tree, prompts me to mow the lawn.

Tim S.'s picture
Tim S. on November 19, 2020 - 09:20 Permalink

I had to put in a threshold same as you and surprised myself how easy it was after watching this video. You can buy the threshold from your hardware store and you will cut it to size. Just pick up some finishing nails with no heads and a setting tool.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on February 7, 2021 - 13:55 Permalink

Update: our friend Peter came over yesterday and breathed new life into the screen door on our vestibule.  It now fits like a glove. It’s amazing.