By David Enna

Knight-Ridder NewspapersAs the new year begins, take a look around your house. What are the subtle, or not so subtle, ways it has changed in the past year? Isn't it remarkable?

Really, 1990 wasn't a bad year at the Enna house.

Not if you don't count the large crack in the eight-month-old concrete driveway.

Or the 12 hours of torment that my wife, Debbie, and I spent using razor blades to scrape wallpaper and old paint off the kitchen walls.

Or the piles of boxes, books and assorted junk that seem to be reproducing in the basement.

Our 36-year-old house is looking fine.

I was thinking about this the other morning while sitting in our shiny new kitchen and gazing into the backyard. Hmmm . . . There's another mud hole where we just planted grass.

The most important addition of 1990 was about 6 square feet of unheated space - a doghouse - and a wildly affectionate beagle named Parker to go in it. Parker is not subtle.

Between hole-digging efforts, she races around the yard, chasing week-old scents and leaping over monkey grass. This dog has eliminated any hope of a manicured lawn. Well, darn.

Inside, she sleeps under the coffee table, chews on misplaced shoes, puts on a pitifully sad face whenever we are eating, and . . . Hey! Get off the couch!

How did half the backyard get onto the floor in here? Oh well, so much for shiny.

This is an old house, just the usual brick ranch, nothing special really. But it's a better place today than it was a year ago. And each year, it feels more like home.

Look around your own house. What are the additions? A new baby? New paint in the den? Grandma's new quilt? A college student happily at home for the holidays?

Give your house a hug for the new year.