Adventures in home ownership

After moving from a fantastic, well built house in the Pacific Northwest, Patrick and I bought a townhouse on the East Coast.  We have not found “the house” yet, so we may stay here for a long time, or get lucky, find a house that we want, then rent this place out.  The jury is still out.

In the meantime, we are trying to make our new place our home.  The unit we bought had been rebuilt after a fire, which sounded great!  It hadn’t been lived in since!  Brand new kitchen, floors, heating system, windows, walls, siding!

I used to think I was pretty savvy when it came to buying a home… until I moved here.  This townhouse is kicking my butt.  After a few weeks of abject anger at everything that was going wrong with this place, I have finally decided to welcome all our challenges as a learning experience.  You can’t lead an extraordinary life if you don’t learn and grow from your mistakes, am I right?

Here is what I’ve learned:

Lesson # 1.  Don’t pick out your paint colors at night, under the light emitted CFL bulbs.  Actually, the bigger lesson here is don’t procrastinate until the last second, especially if the painters will be at your house 7:30 tomorrow morning!  This is a lesson I struggle with the most, as I thrive on being “Last Minute Louie”.  The consequence of this (lack of) action is the light gray that I THOUGHT I picked out for the kitchen was actually a pale lavender in the light of day.  Every single time I walked into that room my teeth were set on edge!  So, I had to spend extra money to get it re-painted a much more pleasing color.  At least this time I got it right.

Lesson # 2.  If you have something in your home or yard that bugs you every time you see it, remove or fix it!   It may not seem like much, but it actually adds to your stress level when you see something that annoys you, however slightly, every day.  Money is tight these days, but swapping, selling, painting (see Lesson #1) goes a long way toward reducing that niggling stress.  You’d be surprised at how much better you feel!

Lesson #3.  Insist on a home warranty!!!  Oh, how I wish we had one!  Granted, I do not know the ins and outs of what they cover, but it could at least have offset some of the money we shelled out to fix unexpected problems.  We knew, thanks to the home inspection, that we needed a new steel chimney liner, sliding door and a water heater.  We did NOT know that on our first night here, our main sewer line would back up into our first floor bathroom!  The PVC pipe was cracked and let in some pretty big tree roots which blocked the flow of water.  Oh, and one of the the clean-outs for this pipe was buried.  Under my driveway.  Thanks to the plumber and the guy who operated the backhoe, everything is now fixed.  However, we’ve already had to replace the dishwasher and garage door opener, fix toilets, and now a leak behind our wall in the shower.  This is becoming the House of Surprises.  I wonder what is going to break next?

Lesson #4.  Do not put mashed potatoes down the garbage disposal, unless you want your sink to clog badly.

I know I will continue to learn more about the nuts and bolts of home construction.  At the rate I’m going, I will have my PhD in Plumbing in no time!  More importantly, I am learning how to manage my frustration.  It is not easy, and the temptation to have a tantrum to rival any two-year-old ‘s gets very high.  However, I know that things happen for a reason. Somewhere in this rocky start, there is something for me to learn and grow from.  I have no idea the lesson God wants me to learn (and I’m a little afraid to ask!) but I have to have trust and faith.  Plumbing issues or not.



One thought on “Adventures in home ownership

  1. Wow, what a nightmare! I don’t know much about this area of the law but the paved over clean out port… There is usually some recourse to the seller for things like that which the buyer with be unable to discover on inspection and of which the seller would have had knowledge. ?? Anyway, hang in there and keep on blogging! xx

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