Willow Manor. The stone lined culvert that cuts through the front
of the property was once lined with huge willow trees, hence "Willow
Manor", the name given to the place by previous owners. It's a
delightful old house, built in 1927, with lots of original fixtures and
glorious mature trees. Looking back, we've adored every single day
living here. Well, most days, that is.
As any of you who have lived in a older home know, there is always
something sinking or exploding. Do you remember the film
The Money Pit, when Tom Hanks and Shelley Long portray a
idealistic young couple who struggle to repair a dilapidated old house?
Well, it's a perfect picture of us and our first weeks at Willow Manor.
I'll never forget the first night here, when I turned on the water to
fill the tub for a nice hot bath, after a harrowing day of moving. Just
like in the movie, muddy water gushed out, filling the tub with thick
brown slop. Revolted, I let out a blood curdling scream. The romantic
bath in my new dream home was not exactly coming together like I
Putting the bath episode aside, the next morning I happily came
downstairs to make a lovely breakfast in our new surroundings.
When I plugged in the toaster, all the kitchen lights went out with
fireworks and a dynamic pop. After another desperate scream, from
this non-screaming kind of girl, I rushed into the dining room to find
WT poking at a soft spot in the ceiling. Just as I was opening my
mouth to tell him about the kitchen episode, a sizable (18' x 18') hunk
of plaster fell on his head, leaving a gaping hole in our newly acquired
formal dining room. Oh, I wish I'd had my digital camera then.
The following weeks were spent living among some unsavory
remodeling guys, one of whom I will never forget. The company
hired to install air conditioning, sent their slinkiest man. He, being
the only one who could actually fit inside the plaster walls to build
the duct work. Again, I let out some whopper screams, when his
unsuspecting, Norman Bates head would randomly slide out of a
register opening. I swear he was trying to catch me naked.
Newly dug well and years of plumbing, electrical and drywall
patching later, we adore this old place; and even more for the wear.
Yes, it's still a money pit. As I speak, there's a large hole in the
master closet ceiling, covered with duct tape and a plastic garbage
bag, the hot water faucet doesn't work in the kitchen bath, and the
air handler upstairs is out. One of these days, when our last is
finished with school, (we're starting our eleventh straight year of
kids in college) we'll take care of some delayed projects. Still, the
manor does have a comfortable old personality all its own. The cracks
and duct tape are all part of the patina that gives it that unique
charm we've come to love. So, I raise my glass in a toast to the manor,
our darling, crusty old money pit.
Where are you?
I'm in the den!
No you're not, I was just in there...
I'm in the den! I swear it! Please believe me!
Will you stop fooling around, Walter? I'm tired!
I'm right here.
Look, Walter, enough is enough!
I'M RIGHT HERE!
In the floor behind the chair.
The Money Pit, 1986