The wonders and pains of owning a new home
I come to you this week sore, tired and finally relocated. At the moment, I don’t feel like I ever want to move again. And I won’t—unless it’s to fulfill my dream of living in a gracious old residence along Floyd Street. It will be a decade or more before we can even think about affording one of those homes, but that’s good. It’s going to take me at least that long to be willing to attempt this again.
Someone sent me an email that read, “I’m so happy to hear you’ve moved! Just think—you’ll be totally settled in by Christmas!” I love her, but I think she momentarily forgot that she was writing to me. I am the Queen of Procrastination, the Duchess of Indecision. I hope to be mostly settled in by Christmas, but I’m not holding my breath.
I can’t seem to get ahead on my to-do list, because as soon as I accomplish something, another issue pops up. Every task turns into another one with an annoying snowball effect most homeowners can relate to.
Our new home was built in 1970. We bought it from an allegedly licensed home remodeling guy, someone I have nicknamed “Mr. Wonderful” because he is anything but. I mean, he seems nice enough. I’m sure he has plenty of friends and his wife seemed downright crazy about him. But he seriously needs to reconsider his choice of profession. The longer we’re here, the more problems we keep uncovering, and we’ve ceased being surprised by the shoddy workmanship.
Nothing is square in this house. Some of that is to be expected in an older home, what with settling through the years and all. But Mr. Wonderful installed every switch plate, vent and outlet cover just askew enough to notice. When my hubby tried to fix them, he discovered that they had been screwed on while the wall paint was still damp.
The only thing uglier than a crooked switch plate is a straight switch plate surrounded by white blotches where the drywall tore away with the paint.
And the only thing uglier than that is the tile floor in my hall bathroom.
I don’t know if Mr. W used any subcontractors, but it appears that he hired a onearmed chimp to tile that bathroom floor. And it’s doubtful that anyone with opposable thumbs could’ve made such a mess out of replacing a few window panes.
I want to paint the hall bath another color, but where does one begin? Replacing the bad tile floor also means tearing down the original tile on the walls. Ripping that out means replacing the shower enclosure, and if we do that, we have to buy a whole new tub and shower unit. We also have to take out the vanity to replace the floor, and chances are that we can’t remove it intact.
So is it worth the trouble to go ahead and paint the walls the color we want, or do we just wait until there’s time to redo the entire room?
I used to think I was a patient person, but this move has shown me how much I need to grow in that regard. I want everything done yesterday. I want each room to look the way I envisioned it, especially before it’s time to decorate for Christmas.
Perhaps if the rest of life would stop falling apart, we could better concentrate our energies on the house. This week has been a doozy. I have a cold, and both of our cars have broken down. The mechanic just called to say that the minivan has a blown head gasket and probably a cracked head.
My own head nearly cracked when I heard how much it will cost to fix the engine.
Five-year-old Eli has already used up half a box of BandAids while exploring his new environment in his usual reckless style. He keeps me laughing through the chaos, though.
When we asked if he planned to help us paint the kitchen, he replied, “No. But I’ll walk around with my notebook and check everything off while you do it.”
Smart kid. Too bad someone didn’t do that with Mr. Wonderful.