Not Perfect?

The greatest thing that could ever happen to me as a writer did the other day. A person I don't even know walked up to me as I stood within earshot of my editor and said, "Oh, you write the house thing. I love that. It is the first thing I read every week when I pick up the paper."

And I really needed that. You see, I got my first ever piece of hate mail. Well, maybe it wasn't hate mail, but it definitely wasn't love mail either. It caused me to have to, as a woman I used to work with would say, "take to my bed."

I hate to sound like a cliché, but the truth is that I just want everyone to be happy. I want the reader to be entertained. I want the homeowner to feel good (which in the above-mentioned, they did not for reasons I haven't yet figured out and am kind of afraid to pursue). I want everyone to love me. In other words I want to be perfect. My editor has pointed out to me that I only have to write to please her and no one else, which she claims I do so I should relax, but I can't.

I am so uptight about doing everything perfectly that I sometimes get stomachaches. I had a party on Saturday, and instead of enjoying the day, I spent it bent over worrying about whether or not I had enough ribbons on my Christmas tree.

So to relax I do yoga. Now this is really funny: I started taking yoga and really enjoying it. But pretty soon I start getting worked up about the whole thing. I sign up for classes all over town. I'm practicing at home every day, and I yell at my husband if he or the children interrupt me, and still I'm thinking - I'm not good enough. I want to be more bend-y than all my teachers are. I want to rule the yoga world. Now I don't know which of the basic commandments of yoga all this violates but I'm pretty sure it's not the yogi's way.

I divulge this little shortcoming of mine only to prove that I have the renovator of 219 S. Ashland Avenue, Gary Davis's, number. As he and his wife Cathy led me through the many rooms of the house they renovated to re-sell, a frequent preface to many of Cathy's comments was, "Well, Gary had to..." As in Gary had to replace the plumbing, electric wiring, heating/cooling system, sewer line, kitchen, roof, bathrooms, light fixtures, and last but not least, the green awning shading the front porch.

I got the feeling that there was more than one late night conversation at the Davis house about just how much needed to be done to this house.

I recognized a kindred spirit when I asked Gary why he put the awning over the porch. "This house was built in 1907 in the Arts and Crafts style. When I went to the library to research the era, I found many houses with awnings. Also, I found awning hardware on the front of the house so I knew there had been an awning on this particular house at one time." And when Cathy asked him to explain why he replaced all of the plumbing. "We were putting in new copper piping. When we went to attach it to the old galvanized pipes I realized that they were clogged and a pencil lead could not have fit through them so I just had to replace them all."

Cathy rolled her eyes but it is clear that she is proud of her perfectionist husband and proud that they have "brought this house back" to its original form.


219 S. Ashland Avenue


6 bedroom

4 full and 2 half baths

Approximately 5000 square feet

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.