On the Infinitude of Improvements

So today was all about fixing the house.

The kitchen sink, which had been leaking for months, finally got a lick of silicon sealant; the cabinet doors, which had been hanging on a single hinge or without a catch for several days, finally got a new set of screws; the downstairs toilet, which had also been leaking for months, finally got two new valves and a hose; the upstairs bathroom sink, which had been clogged for months, finally got a new P-trap; and the terrace roof, which had been disfigured by a makeshift tarpaulin cover, was finally freed of the ungainly contraption.

The whole thing cost most of the day, two trips to Wilcon and a startling sum of money (who knew that angle valves could be so expensive???). All of which goes to prove that Robert Kiyosaki was right in saying that a home can never be an asset—if by asset we mean anything that generates cash rather than consumes it.

But if a house is a liability of the pale, elephantine variety, it’s one that most of us are happy to be saddled with (and we even increase the burden of our own volition). There’s no such thing as a house that’s finally “done up”—like the Cartesian freedom of choice, the extent to which a home can be renovated or upgraded is essentially limitless. This is because although functional improvements follow the law of diminishing marginal utility, aesthetic improvements do not (or how else could have Martha Stewart built an empire?). As of today, everything in my house is finally in good working order, but that hasn’t stopped me—the ridiculous prices of angle valves notwithstanding—from picturing new countertops for the kitchen or new tiles for the bathroom.  

And to think, the garden isn’t even done yet.



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