Reality Check

Buying a house is all fun and games, until you start living in it.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my home and I am thrilled that I purchased it. I’ve owned a home (well, a condo) previously, so I had a pretty fair idea of what I was getting myself into. Now that I’ve lived here for 5 months though, my “honey do” list has gotten pretty long.

And it’s all on me. I don’t have a “honey” to help me do the things, though my girlfriends have been incredibly generous about loaning me their husbands/boyfriends, and I’ve found some great skilled vendors. The list keep growing, and I’m trying to be a grown-up and compromise.

I found a gorgeous daybed with trundle that I want to buy, but it’s pricey for the whole thing including mattresses. And I just received a bill from my eye doc that is $500 after insurance. So, I’ll buy the frames now and put two twin mattresses on a future Costco shopping list.

The windows could use replacing, as they are sticky, single-paned, the screens don’t fit properly and/or they are riddled with holes. The original plan was just to replace everything soon, but I’m going to have to piecemeal it with new screen doors and learning how to replace the mesh in the screens¬†because all new windows isn’t in the budget right now (see medical bill above).

A friend sold me some great LED tubes for the overhead lights in my garage, but I need to bypass the ballast for them to work properly. That requires an electrician, which is $100/hour. I’m going to¬†put the florescent lights back in for now as I don’t want to tempt an electrical fire, and I can’t afford the electrician.

The hall toilet keeps cycling and I can’t figure out why. My contractor friend has replaced the flushing mechanism, and the flapper, and now the handle doesn’t go all the way up (I think I need to adjust the flapper chain) so it’s not flushing at all unless I remove the tank lid and pull the chain from the inside. THAT is an expense that is necessary, and if he can’t figure it out on his next visit, I’ll call a plumber. My water bill is almost double that of a comparable household, and I am wasting SO MUCH water. I flinch every time I hear that toilet run, and imagine the dollars and gallons being flushed away.

As much as I want to do it all NOW, I’ve had to slow down my pursuit of the perfect home and remind myself that I plan to be here for many more years so there’s no rush, as long as I can make it habitable and safe. The exterminator and monthly gardener are necessary expenses to keep the house critter-free, and the yard from getting me reported to the HOA (I have a LOT of bushes/flowers/trees, and no idea what to do with them). I am putting in sweat equity in pulling weeds, trimming palm trees, and placing new paving stones to replace the porcelain tiles on the pathway that are slippery death traps when it rains. The art is on the walls, and I’m thinning out more stuff for a garage sale.

Slowly, my house is becoming my home. I guess this another area where I have to factor in “Hawaiian time”!