The won­ders and pains of own­ing a new home

The Covington News - - SUNDAY LIVING -

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.

Kari Apted

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