The tax-deadline postponement is just a timely illustration of the go-around, come-around phenomenon. The genesis was, in fact, a pitch from a PR person hired by Coldwell Banker to get me to write about its "latest" survey.
Tell me if you've heard this one before: When it comes to the home and homeownership, both men and women make home-buying decisions with their head and their heart.
Warriner's disciples - retired English teachers, that is - will note immediately that because one is saying "men" and "women," it should be "heads" and "hearts."
To quote Allen Sherman: "Singular and plural are so different, bless my soul! Has it ever occurred to you that the plural of 'half' is 'whole?'?"
The point, however, is that home-buying decisions are based on both of these, and why do we need a survey confirming this? Has something changed since the start of the real estate downturn that I've missed?
"Honey, I love the kitchen. Do you think we can afford it?"
"Dear, that is one great basement, but don't you think the taxes are steep?"
All these surveys tend to ask 1,000 people - I guess that's what comprises a cross-section of 300 million-plus Americans these days.
I know that I've written this before, because the findings of this survey sound so familiar, but let me go through the exercise anyway, in case I've missed something new:
- Fifty-four percent of women say they take the lead in decorating. Forty-eight percent of men 18 to 44 say they decorate as well, although it drops to 36 percent from age 45 on. I think it would be good for household harmony if rock, paper, and scissors were employed to determine which gender does what.
- Women "cook it up" in the household (68 percent), while 23 percent of men say they do. It is true in my case that the kitchen sold my wife on our house, while the basement and the garage convinced me. Yet when I'm hungry and there is no one around, I don't starve. My younger son follows the same path. We do enjoy anything my wife creates for dinner, though. In fact, we eagerly anticipate it, milling about the dining room until dinner appears, being annoying.
- Sharing financial decisions may get easier over time. Fifty-four percent of people ages 18 to 44 say major financial decisions are mutual, compared with 60 percent of those 45 to 54. That increases to 70 percent for people 55 and over. Interestingly, as age increases, so does contentment with the current status of the home, said consumer specialist Jessica Edwards. "Almost half of those older than 55 say they are very happy with their home just the way it is, compared with 25 percent of those age 18 to 44."
- More men seem to be focused on making significant changes to the home. Let me say that I find myself less and less eager to embark on major renovation projects these days.
Admittedly, we bought a house that needed few changes, and none of them major.
That was my wife's idea. She worked to find a house that wouldn't require moving scaffolding every year so we could have Easter dinner.
As I debate whether to repaint the exterior, which doesn't really need it, I think her idea was the right one.
"On the House" appears Sundays. Contact Alan J. Heavens at 215-854-2472 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @alheavens.