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French window shutters

French window shutters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)  Much cheerier than California window shutters!

Virtually every contractor, handyman, and college student looking for work over the summer rings my doorbell and offers to fix my house’s exterior.  I always refuse because who knows who these guys are, what they’ll charge, whether they’ll even show up, or what damage they could do to my already pitiful curb appeal.

My house, like all the others in my suburban neighborhood, has decorative shutters on the front.  These shutters do nothing functional, but supposedly add “architectural detail” to the California stucco.  Except the California sun beats down on their painted surfaces, causing the paint to chip and peel, exposing the wood which results in cracks.  So basically, the shutters look like they’ve got eczema and psoriasis.

It’s been making me cringe for at least five years.

Then there’s the faded paint on the fascia, the front door, and the garage door.  It’s a hot, sun-bleached mess, kinda like Pamela Anderson.

Last week, I noticed a guy next door working on my neighbor’s diseased-looking shutters.  We chatted, he made suggestions, gave me a very reasonable estimate, and I dug out the paint schematic from 11 years ago.   I live under the tyranny of a Homeowner’s Association, and we’re not supposed to deviate from the original paint colors, which is why I held on to the schematic for so long.  But the handyman guy suggested we go with the same color on all the shutters and doors, instead of the weird two-tone the builder used.  I decided why the hell not, anything’s better than the unkempt crack house vibe I had going.

He came back just when he said he would, prepped and painted, and even touched up a couple other patches of sad-looking paint, plus fixed the leaky rain gutters.  His bill matched his estimate, he only mentioned the need to repaint the entire house twice, and he was just about the perfect handyman.

The house looks much better, which will hopefully repel all those college students looking for work this summer.  Unfortunately, it attracted a pair of security salesmen who opened their pitch with, “You have the best looking house on the block.  Have you thought about protecting it with an alarm system?”

You mean besides the two fat, crazy cats?

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