Well, the honeymoon is over. No, not for me and my husband. For us and our house.
The one-year anniversary of the day we signed the papers to our very own property is quickly approaching. We were so blinded by excitement that the potential downsides didn’t even occur to us. We wouldn’t have a crummy landlord! We could paint the walls! We had a yard!
Part of the loan application process included a test to ensure that we were well aware of the many financial responsibilities of homeownership. We were given a book to study that included things such as how to design a budget plan, how an old roof should be replaced before ugly carpet and how we should have a savings account with a three-month income reserve.
We passed the test easily, but most of the advice went out the window with our down payment.
Because of a home inspection, we knew the house was in good shape. The only black mark on the report was the gutters. The 101-year-old gutters were rusted through in more than a few spots.
But who wants to invest in gutters? I mean, they’re designed to blend in. To be inconspicuous. Not to stand out. I mean, it’s like buying boring socks instead of a fabulous pair of shoes.
So like novices, we put it off. It could wait a year. We invested in new appliances, instead.
When winter hit, we knew we had made a terrible mistake. The gutters sprung another leak right over our back walkway — the one we use regularly to get to our vehicles. All that snowing and melting created a dangerous three-inch-thick sheet of ice at the bottom of the steps.
By spring, we couldn’t call a gutter company fast enough.
The professionals were here and gone within a week, leaving behind a network of shiny seamless gutters that even our immediate neighbors would be hard-pressed to notice.
But the relief I felt was immeasurable. It was as if a giant weight I hadn’t been aware of had been lifted off my shoulders. Our house was whole again. No more major expenses in sight.
Well, until the wind caught the back screen door and slammed it against the porch, blowing out the glass. Or when the front doorknob seized up and died. Or when I came home last week to a kitchen floor with standing water.
It would’ve been blissful to have been able to pawn off all of those problems with a simple phone call to a landlord.
Fortunately, we’re becoming more handy with each passing disaster. Sure, we wouldn’t attempt to attach gutters, but now we know where to take a door panel to get glass replaced. Or how to install a new doorknob. Or how to dismantle a sink and tighten a hose.
I guess owning a house is like all relationships in life: It takes a little elbow grease to keep things running smoothly.