Are you ready to own a home?

November 15, 2007

Last Christmas we discovered a crack in the basin of the bathroom sink and when I had my uncle over to help put in a new sink he discovered a gap between the shower and the wall. (I must admit that I had some suspicions about the water tightness of the shower but conveniently overlooked the signs). He’s a carpenter and knows about these things so he suggested that I crawl underneath the house and take a look around. The next day I donned some dirty clothes and with flashlight in hand ducked under pipes and crawled to the far part of the house underneath the shower. From a photographer’s standpoint the stalagmites of black and white mold cascading down from the wet wood held a certain appeal. But as a holder of the house with said fungal formations I was none too pleased. I don’t know what words I used to describe the subterranean scene to my wife but I do remember her forlorn look of disbelief. How could the house we have owned for less than a year already have the makings of a money pit?

I didn’t inherit a handyman gene but had fun dismantling the shower with hammer and fury. Some of the wood underneath the floor had been soaked through for so long that it flaked away like paper. My wife and I shared a laugh about how lucky we were not to have descended four feet through the floor while mid-hairwash. I still don’t know how the home inspector overlooked this peach of a problem. If you’re ever in southeast Virginia and buying a house I’ve got a name for you to avoid. Really I’m not bitter, just perturbed. I’m sure there must be a difference.

When trying to decide what to do with the mess of a bathroom I invited my brother-in-law over to take a look and give his assessment. In our exchange he filled me with confidence that this was a project I could tackle and eventually complete. It’s been almost a year and the bathroom is still not usable. Not to suggest that I have done nothing because I have banged some nails, screwed some screws and mistakenly hammered through the now deceased toilet. With my dad some walls have come tumbling down. A plumber installed most of the shower. Really there is not much more to be done and yet the job is not complete.

And here comes the realization: I have utterly no interest in home repair. I do it without passion. Mindlessly I’ll spend hours on a project that improves some aspect of the interior. I have signed up for the homeowner job to get away from apartment living and the consequence is that I will always have a project to start. When the bathroom is ready again for flushing and bathing my attention will be called to the stove that needs replacing or the drain that refuses its only function. Through all of these home repairs I need to keep convincing myself that the upkeep is my responsibility. I imagine that one day it will be an offshoot of who I am.

Granted when there is a novel to pen the appeal factor of driving nails definitely increases. NaNo WC: 4225 (I haven’t given up!)


One Response to “Are you ready to own a home?”

  1. Taffiny Says:

    Glad to know you are still adding words to NaNo.
    ( I hope you like the ones you are adding. My last batch, not so good. But you say, you work it out first, and then set words, sentences, ideas down when they are right. My brain has not, that capacity.)

    No I wouldn’t bother looking at it like that, your inevitable responsiblity, that is how I used to think about cooking, let’s dream of other alternatives instead, “someday” we will make “enough” money to pay others to do these tasks for us. (or at least some of it anyway)

    I don’t know what our home inspector was thinking either, I swear he must have been on the take. Once it was fully ours, and we moved in, in the light of day, and pulled back the blinds, it was just one unpleasant surprise after the other. ( quite pleased to hear, none of you fell through while washing)

    I am good at spackeling and painting, but other than that, forget about it. Bob is not handy at all. 4 months after we moved in, about 4 years ago, Bob tried to change the shower head in the master bath, and the whole pipe came out of the wall. It is still like that. We may get to it “someday” after we finish all our other half-finished projects.

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