Dallas Public Schools: When Two People Realize the Same Thing

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The Porch of Shame

See this? This is the porch of shame. I’ll start with the porch of shame because it’s my porch of shame, and it’s also the start of what will be a series of renovations and improvements on our cute little Midway Hollow home.

As we’ve talked about before, we have been weighing several schools, knowing we had a year or so before we really had to pull the trigger and put our house on the market and look for something else.

But then it happened. I had been driving around for a while and looking at every farking update Trulia and Zillow sent me, and couldn’t shake the feeling that we already had our house, and our school. Every house within our budget needed work. So does ours, only with the equity we have in it now, we can afford to make all kinds of changes.  And we really fell in love with Withers Elementary, but the only way we can really afford to live in its attendance zone is to stay put.

But I didn’t know how my husband felt. The last time we had discussed renovation, there was this fight (and we never fight) over where the master suite would be, which is silly when you think about it because we don’t even have a contractor yet. We had kind of agreed that maybe for the sake of our marriage, we should put our house on the market and look for something near one of the three or four Dallas public schools we liked.

But then one afternoon my husband admitted he kind of wanted to stay, too. So we mapped out a plan that would be livable for us – doing small improvements over the next year or so, and then take on our first big renovation project, turning our one car garage into a master suite, and adding on to it to have a large bathroom and laundry area.

We plan on renovating in phases, in a bid to make it a little less disruptive. The next renovation project will be a sunroom addition off the dining room, to increase our entertaining space, and to do a small re-do on the kitchen to add storage and counter space.

And that brings me back to that porch. That sad, sad porch, whose steps list despite the efforts of our foundation guys, because of the drainage in that area. That porch, my friends, is our first improvement. Our mason comes at the end of the month or so to lay a new concrete pad where monkey grass grows now, and to build beautiful new, wide brick steps and a pretty new planter. I’m fairly giddy about how this will change the look of our house, and will be sure to write about the process and our fabulous mason.

So yeah, a decision has been made, and you all get to be along for the ride as we go through all the ups and downs of renovation. And feel free to throw in your tips and suggestions – I’m already collecting them!


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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1961 Fox and Jacobs home with her husband, a second-grader, and Conrad Bain the dog. If she won the lottery, she'd by an E. Faye Jones home. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Online News Association, the Education Writers Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She doesn't like lima beans or the word moist.

Reader Interactions


  1. Margaret Manser says

    Get yourself very well informed before you sign any agreement with a contractor. Go to Houzz and put in searches like “what to ask your contractor,” etc. Good luck. Take your time about signing on the dotted line.

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