Thursday, February 21, 2013

The utter delights of homeownership

There is no nice way to spin the inspiration for this post: sometimes buying a house is an exercise in  teeth-grinding.

I went to my parent's house for dinner last night and called TB about 7:30 to ask him if he could pull my old desk out of our basement in order to give it to my dad/sister when they dropped me off back home. About a half-hour later, he gives my sister a call (my cell phone was dead). Her side of the conversation was basically as follows:

"No, I don't. My dad might. What's wrong? ...  Is that bad? How much water? Dad, do you know a plumber? <to me> He wants to talk to you."

The even, casual tone TB struck with my sister was in sharp contrast to the strained, irritated and defeated voice that greeted me as soon as I picked up.

"What's up?"
"That open pipe in the basement is spilling water all around it. It got through most of a cardboard box of stuff before I discovered it."
"Oh... Well... I guess we'll need a plumber?"
"Probably. <Swearing> <hang up>"

My dad followed up the call with some talk about valves and caps and, I dunno, flux capacitors - I fully admit my eyes glaze over at any talk of home reno projects, direly needed though they might be. We decided to head home to survey the damage. Full confession: I have yet to survey the damage. I like to live in blissful ignorance when toilet water's part of the gameplan. Frankly, my take away from all of this is that my nagging requests to bring things up from the basement are to be lauded as they led to the discovery of the plumbing issue in the first place. Go me.

Anywho, I arrived home to my little stress ball and used my soothing words and calming voice to assure TB that everything would be all right and that we could get through anything that was handed to us as long as we did it together. I believe my exact words were "So... are we not watching Mad Men, then? Because I want to open that package of beef jerky and watch Betty eat like me." I'm basically the Anthony Robbins of motivational relationship speeches.

I'm not saying I wasn't sympathetic, but at this point I've basically accepted that humans were not meant to live in buildings and all homes are lemons. I've heard the horror stories of new homes that went up too fast, condos that open for the first time with water in the walls and sweating windows, turn of the century homes that have massive cracks in their foundations, post-war houses whose roofs basically fly off - nothing surprises me at this point. We've been in our place just over 5 months and we've replaced the furnace and the stove as well as had an electrician in. Sure, the final two were voluntary and largely cosmetic but the fact remains: they needed to be replaced, even if it wasn't dangerous to keep them the way they were. Before we leave this place there will probably be a dozen other things we need to fix.

And I'm okay with that. I kind of dig the way our house is telling us what needs to be done, just by being its demanding, cranky self. On my best days, I actually think it's kind of hilarious. TB is not ready to guffaw over it just yet but he's slowly learning to accept that 100-year-old houses come with their own little foibles - such is the price you pay for charm. But so far they're all affordable things, the replacing of which increase the value of the house. And they were things we knew we'd need to fix eventually anyway. For example, we have no drain in our basement and we knew one of the pipes in the bathroom was ready to be replaced so it's no surprise this is happening, really. It's just annoying that it's happening now. But what can ya do? We'll deal with it and hope doesn't cost us a fortune.

But for all the potential issues with our little home, I'm still curmudgeon-ly happy to be here. Renting definitely has its benefits, what with the superintendents and the trouble-free leaving and the cost savings, and I can absolutely see the reasons why people would choose it over buying but for me, I'm still giddy that we were able to get this place. I like that we can throw parties and play Rock Band until 4am without worrying about disturbing our neighbours. I like that I can paint or hammer or plant anything I want without having to worry about restoring it to its move-in state. I like that I have an outdoor area (paved though it may be) in which to hang out with a drink this summer. I like that it's all ours.

And I will try my best to remember all of this when I'm handing over yet another cheque from the line of credit to some head-shaking, wincing tradesperson who's muttering into his chest that "this won't be cheap." Of course it won't, of course it won't.

No comments:

Post a Comment