Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bad things come in threes

We've all heard the old adage, "bad things come in threes."  Here were the three that came in rapid-fire succession just three weeks after I'd moved into my house. 

1. I went to the emergency room.  As a generally healthy person whose idea of a medical issue is needing a band-aid, this was a definite bad thing, though everything's been resolved and I feel fine.  I had a wonderful co-worker take me to the ER and then wait with me until my mom could drive the two hours to get there.  When I was released at 10:30, we headed home but didn't end up going to sleep until about 1am, so I took the next day off work to recoup. 

2. I woke up and saw a puddle of water on the bedroom floor.  The baseboard heat was leaking water, 1/2 cup every 15 minutes.  After calling 4 companies, I finally found someone who could come fix it that afternoon.  The others were going to put me off 4 or 5 days! He was able to tighten up a clamp to temporarily fix the leak but recommended replacing 10 feet of the baseboard heat unit to create a permanent fix. 

3. While waiting for the heat repairman, I decided to take a shower.  As I was finishing the shower, I heard Mom running up the stairs yelling, "Turn off the water!  Turn off the water!"  I did, and quickly dried off and got dressed.  I went to find out what was happening.  Water was backing up out of the drain for the washing machine.  I called Roto Rooter who came and cleaned the main drain to the house.  While doing that, he found that the clean-out pipe wasn't actually attached to the sewer line and had to come back the next day to fix that! 

Let's just hope the threes don't repeat too often! 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

How it all began

After about 5 years of living in the same apartment, I knew I was ready for a change.  The apartment was fine but it was lacking the personalization I really wanted and I was tired of sharing walls with neighbors.

In October 2013, I started working with my realtor Bob to find my home. My list of musts limited my choices.  I wanted a house in about a 5 block square area of my town.  The house had to have a nice sunny space in the yard for a garden.  It needed at least 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms but not so big that it would feel empty with just me living there.  The street should be relatively quiet and the neighbors' houses well-kept.  The distance to downtown shops, restaurants, church, post office, and library should be short enough that I'd willingly walk, at least in good weather.  Bonus points for: covered parking, fireplace, any recent upgrades, and storage space like a dry basement (rare in my area).

Bob and I visited lots of homes. I just quickly counted up 11 from memory and I might have missed one or two more.  Every house had some kind of deal breaker, from termites, to bedrooms with no access to a bathroom except in the master suite, to no kitchen at all, to being way too much of a fairytale, to just being too "blah."  In August, I came to see my house, just as school was getting started.  The timing couldn't have been worse for a teacher!  I saw the house on a Thursday and had an accepted offer by Sunday.

The house is a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath Cape Cod on about 1/4 acre in town.  The bathrooms and kitchen had cosmetic updates done by the sellers, so I pretty much left those rooms alone.  There's a sunroom on the south side of the house that gets lovely light.  I'm just four blocks from downtown businesses and less than a mile from work.  

I closed at the end of September and went to work hiring contractors.  I wanted to have the doors and windows replaced to help seal up the house.  I also knew the hardwood floors needed to be refinished and I certainly didn't want to live through all that dust.  I also had drawers built into the walls in the upstairs bedrooms, a hall closet built, new lighting installed in the kitchen, a fan/vent combo put up in the bathroom, and a few other small things done.  It took some doing to find a contractor who could do the work by the end of November because I wanted to hold off on moving in until the work was done.  Through serendipity, one of the recommendations I got was for the business partner, Jack, of a man I know from church, Paul.  Jack and Paul did an excellent job on everything they touched and I was very fortunate that they were able to keep on schedule as well.  The weather was pretty cooperative as they had 22 windows to install! 

I moved in on November 22 and the adventure really began...