I am in my home!
Yes, that's right, we’re about 2.5 months in and now happily referring to it as “home.” It took some time to process the amount of work and the many (MANY) surprises that come with buying a first home before I could properly sit down and put pen to paper again.
There have been sleepless nights, about 5 times I single-handedly nearly burned the place down, and a (now) laughable amount of arms-up-in-the-air-what-the-heck-do-we-do-now moments. But in this moment, right now, on this beautiful crisp fall day with a warm fire blazing in the pellet stove (which accounted for about 30% of the almost-burn-down-the-house memories…), some strong Italian brew in my favorite blue mug, some ever-so-charming—if I may say so myself—green walls all around, and Ella crooning “Begin the Beguine” in the background, I am home.
OK, so now for the nitty gritty:
What’s happened so far? What HASN’T happened so far? Honestly, I’ve learned that owning a home requires a vernacular I’ve never before encountered for EVERY. SINGLE. NEW. THING. Google is my new bff, home depot is my “second home,” and the nextdoor neighbor app is my bread and butter. I’ll release separate posts for some of these projects with helpful tips and what I’ve learned along the way, but here are a few highlights:
We’ve had the locks changed, security installed, water tested and filtered in multiple places (more on this later), setup utilities, bought a new washing machine, and even unpacked our boxes!
We’ve painted about half the house. Rookie mistake #1 was painting the one room we have no furniture for first. It’s pretty though…
We tried to cut a tree down after insurance told us we have to or we’d lose said insurance. After a few failed attempts, and reality-check with a very real fear of heights, we called a professional who cut it down for us without our knowledge nor confirmation while we were out of town…which was another fun learning experience.
We got all of the stuff we’d been so desperately missing out of storage and quickly learned how unimportant material goods are….after spending about 24 hours battling mold and mildew resulting from ground water in our unit (which is NOT covered by insurance by the way). We spent a lot of time with bleach and vinegar—SEPARATELY of course (take note of that if that’s news to you--avoid ammonia intoxication)—and we tossed a lot. Yay, new stuff!
I may or may not have turned into a character straight out of Poe or Stephen King and ripped up the floorboards in the master bedroom after discovering a 10 year cat pee stain with a black light…more on that later. That wing of the house is currently the haunted wing no one dares to enter, FOR NOW…
We learned how to use a lawnmower, which apparently you don't just turn on like vacuum, and even mowed about 40% of the lawn…once. Look, we’re still learning, OK? Plus there was about a month where Hans was out-of-commission after discovering he's severely allergic to poison ivy.
We’ve built a lot of furniture and bought a lot of tools!
We’ve gone to the farm down the street and picked pumpkins, apples, and flowers oh my!
We decorated for halloween, introduced Philippe the skeleton (he's a lover, not a fighter), put out “the good candy,” and scared some local kids, hopefully securing our place on the block as a house you have to visit.
We’ve met one neighbor. Yes, just the one. #COVID
We’ve stared at mountains and the changing leaves endlessly. It never gets boring. We’ve entertained a few guests even by forcing them to do the same…don’t worry, they were given strong cups of coffee too.
We’ve ventured north and gone antiquing like the true boho upstaters we are. We bought vintage brass finials and everything!
And finally, for now, we’ve quite literally run around every inch of the house and yard yipping with our pets happily in tow.
What’s going on now?
We have a rather large TO DO list which we’ve compiled (and continue to compile). The question that falls off of our tongues almost on the daily is: can we do this or do we need to find a professional? Follow up Q: what kind of professional does this? And, what even is this? Most importantly, we’ve come to terms with the fact that not everything will be done right away, or even tomorrow, and that’s OK. It’f funny because that’s what most people said to us when we first moved in—"have patience and don’t feel like you need to do everything now"--which I immediately laughed off—or chortled if I’m being honest—and proceeded to run run run until I had finally encountered enough of those "fun" little surprises that involve basic form and function which will always take priority. So we’ll do our best to breathe, take our time, and enjoy the process.
What advice can I give fellow to new homeowners?
Have patience and carry a big stick--just kidding about the stick, although, on second thought, we have seen few bobcats so...OK, have patience, carry a big stick (just in case), and be kind to yourself. It’s a learning process involving a totally foreign language in a totally foreign land and, when everything is that new, it can be truly exhausting. But you will prevail. And you shall reap the benefits of your labor! Make lists, organize your research, and ask friends, family, and neighbors for advice. And invest in some strong coffee.