Monday, December 27, 2010

Handy Homeowner

My wife and I joined the elite, highly-stressed, constantly worried about being foreclosed, risk-taking club of first-time homebuyers about two months ago.

At the time, it just seemed to make sense. And I don’t think either one of us regrets the decision (even if I did recently lose my job a few weeks after settlement - which is an entirely different story for an entirely different day.)

Ostensibly, we bought a house because we plan to settle down in the neighborhood - and need a bit more space than our 2-bedroom rental could offer. Plus, mortgage rates were historically low, and the entire market has been in the shitter for a couple of years now. I mean really, how much lower could prices possibly fall? Famous last words, I realize.

In any case, 2 months in and so far, so good. The house has good bones, as they say. But I wait, vice grips in hand, anxiously anticipating the day when one of those bones breaks.

Because for me, buying a house isn’t just about the opportunity to settle down, or build a nest, or have a place for little Mills to roam free and play. It means the chance to become something I’ve never been before. To assume an alter ego of sorts, even more mysterious and alluring than that afforded by a Blogger account.

That’s right. I now have the opportunity to prove to the world (my wife) that I am, in fact HANDY. Because this house is great in many ways, but it sure as hell isn’t perfect. And there are enough minor problems - structural, cosmetic, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, creaking doors, out-of-whack windows, and dead or dying plant life - to offer almost unlimited chances to be handy.

Why, just the other day I replaced a missing vent in the dining room. Kinda handy.

I patched a big-ass hole in the ceiling of the garage. Pretty handy.

I resealed the cap flashing on all 5 dormers on the third floor facade, and replaced all the windows with energy-efficient, triple-paned, double-hung Andersen windows. Extremely handy.

Of course, this is all incredibly great and you’re probably thinking I’m so super-handy. Except that I’m lying about that last one. We pay professionals to do that kind of shit. In reality, anyone with a screwdriver and some scrap drywall could do what I’ve done. But this is just the beginning of my jaunt down a very handy road. And without a home of our own, I’d never be able to take this journey.

I’m sure the trip will include some missteps - that’s why I’m forbidden from undertaking any projects that feature live electrical circuits. There will likely be a hammer blow to this thumb, and a cabinet dropped on that foot. Shoes and shirts will be ruined with paint, and rickety ladders will be used without a spotter. I may even try to get up on the roof through the bathroom skylight, but only when there are no thunderstorms in the area.

I hereby pledge to never use a pneumatic nail gun (too many possible horror movie scenarios), and will try my best to avoid the temptations of using a circular saw (I REALLY like having all ten fingers). I promise that I will not fix it if it ain’t broke. And I will keep all of my bits with my drill - if you know what I mean.

Subscribe to my sweet feed

1 comment:

Dark Lord said...

Good luck with your home repairs and renovations. I too have recently joined the ranks of homeowner. My home is 113 years old! It was built by awesome standards and the structure itself is very good, however, it requires A LOT of updating and repairs. It will be an interesting process for sure.