A month after I turned 18, I ventured off to college. That time was my first experience living somewhere in which I paid the rent. Yes, it was a college dorm, but I still had to pay for it. I didn’t love the combination of a concrete overhang, a wooden loft, and midnight fire alarms. The freedom, though was outstanding. For fourteen years I never moved beyond paying rent to a landlord. I rationalized having a landlord as a fact of stress-free life. Sure, the landlord could raise the rent at the end of every lease, but I never experienced any huge increases. And when something went wrong? One phone call usually kicked the machine into action and the problem went away. And it never cost anything. Ahhh, utopia.
Twelve days ago Danielle and I moved into our new house. And when I say new, I mean new, not just “new to us”. The builder finished in February, and until we moved in, no one had lived in that house. We didn’t pick the specific options because we bought it from an investor/seller (which, aside from the obvious aspect that I’m involved, is another sign that the market must be a bubble), so the house is basic in most ways. The seller puts some effort into the kitchen, which is nice, but most other features are four walls and a ceiling. I’m happy with that because I don’t want any sort of molding. It’s simple, with plenty of room for personalization. Which leads me to Sunday and yesterday and today.
Aside from a necessary custom installation of two new cable outlets, because the investor/seller didn’t deem an outlet in the living room a necessary
investment expense, the house is as structurally intact as it was twelve days ago. And then I washed paint from my feet after Danielle and I completed work on our office. (More on the office later…) I joined Danielle, my brother, and my sister-in-law in the dining room before we heading out on trip 4,203 to Home Depot since we bought the house. The moment is blurry in my mind now, but my brother said something to the effect of “That’s probably not a good thing.” He spoke of this:
What the hell? Fourteen years of renting and the worst that ever happened was a clogged sink. Barely into Day 11 of home ownership and there is water coming through the ceiling? The pall of Bitter Time™ descended. This. Was. Not. Happening. I imagined flailing from invested to destitute within mere hours thanks to re-plumbing the house and fixing drywall. And I imagined sleeping in the dining room when the bed inevitably fell from the third floor. I immediately began referring to Danielle as Shelley and myself as Tom.
Yesterday, the builder sent someone to investigate. He wasn’t a plumber, but he worked to determine the problem. This is how he had to investigate:
I really had wanted a skylight in the house, but twenty feet higher, in the ceiling of the master bedroom. The skylight in the dining room? Not really a good feature for resale, I suspect. Fortunately, our roof didn’t cave in and all of this is still covered under the one year warranty, but still. Eleven days? Remind me again why owning is better than the renting? I guess the best investment portfolio, given today’s real estate market, should include Home Depot and Lowe’s.
And maybe Benjamin Moore, who seems to be getting richer one quart (and two gallons) at a time, but that’s a whole other entry.