Christmas that year found us at a Christmas party. Someone mentioned how the host had baseboards just like their own. I stared quizzically at the commenter, because there were no baseboards on the wall. The hosts had apparently replaced the carpet and had not found time to put the new baseboards on. The walls had been baseboard-less for two years or so. The commenter had apparently been without baseboards for almost ten years. I was aghast! I was also innocent and naive.
Four babies and ten years later our home is still without baseboards. We removed them before we moved in in order to rip out the pea green carpets and refinish the oak hardwoods that were hiding underneath. We just never got to the baseboards. The furnace blew. In November. The installers left blood on the concrete floor trying to get the new model to fit with forty year old ducting. The roof went the next summer. Then the hot water tank, while Mr Pages was away on a business trip.
The deck finally caved in and became such a death trap for our preschoolers that we ripped it out. In trying to erect a play structure we found an old above ground pool that the previous owner had buried in the back yard. We keep waiting for skeletons. The wind storm the following autumn took our fence.
Inside, we were not faring well either. The dishwasher exploded into the basement. The dryer finally sputtered out its last warm breath. While the house was wired for ground, none of the outlets had three prongs, so Mr Pages dutifully began exchanging them all. Until he pulled out one box in the basement and found the back charred and melted. There had been an electrical fire in the wall. So out came the entire basement. (No loss. It was decorated in sixties black floor tile and orange stained chip board.) Ten men, several sledgehammers and a reciprocating saw make for a interesting Saturday afternoon. We eventually had to replace the whole main electrical box
Baby number five required us to replace the sagging patio doors and make a storage room into a nursery.
And so nine years later and several blown budgets, we are still without baseboards. The pantry is almost done, though. The front hall entryway just needs drywalling. The basement is framed, insulated and some of the walls are primed.
Most importantly, we have learned that you really can do anything you set your mind too. Plumbing, electrical, framing, roofing, drywalling – if we have wanted it done, we have checked out a book from the library and done it.
And really who needs baseboards anyway? Where else would we store all those Cheerios?