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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As of this October, the Family Robbo will have occupied Port Swiller Manor for 19 years.  It’s a modest two-story brick colonial with a walk-out basement, plus a standard four-room-plus-front-hall downstairs and four bedrooms upstairs.

Myself, I’ve always thought the first floor layout to be just fine: Living room, library, dining room, kitchen. (My only gripe is that the kitchen, designed in the early 70’s when the place was built, is really not much more than a glorified galley, reminiscent of a time when folks didn’t do all that much serious cooking.  Preparing a meal more elaborate than a roast, Yorkshire pud, and two veg, particularly given how blasted picky my family is, requires logistical calculations worthy of the Overlord landings.  But I can live with that.)

Mrs. Robbo is of a very different mind.  Every now and again she is seized with the desire to Do Something with the downstairs, something that invariably involves knocking out one or more walls.

Now if there’s one thing Ol’ Robbo loathes more than anything else architecture-wise,  it’s an open floorplan.  To me, a proper house should be clearly compartmentalized.  I simply don’t want, for example, to sit in my library and stare straight into the kitchen.

I say so to Mrs. R whenever she gets this expansionist itch.

“Oh,” she says, “But at least I want a bigger kitchen!  One with two ovens and a bigger fridge and an island in the middle!”

“Why?” I ask.  “You don’t cook.”  (She doesn’t.)

“Well, but I might!” she always answers.

Yeah, no.  (And I’ve no problem with that.  She is who she is.)

But because Mrs. R brings these things up, Ol’ Robbo finds himself almost involuntarily playing What If games, at least as far as the kitchen goes.  As a matter of fact, I actually do have a plan half-mapped out in my head.  The problem is that it is also associated with a reconfiguration of one whole end of the house, including the garage, the building of an in-law/ guest suite (which we’ve often discussed) over it, the transmogrification of the laundry room and pantries, and the relocation of the washing machine and drier to the basement.

Doable, but at a price far beyond anything we could hope to swallow for the foreseeable future, what with having at least two gels in college for the next four years.  And besides, once Ol’ Robbo goes under the sod or we otherwise sell the place, what with the current trend in our neck of Northern Virginny, the odds are that the buyers would simply knock the place down altogether and build a new McMansion afresh.  So why sink capital into the place we don’t absolutely need or want to?

That’s Ol’ Robbo’s trump card for sticking to the status quo, and by golly I’m going to play it for all it’s worth.

Obligatory musickal selection:


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June 2019