Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Five Things I’ve Learned by Being a Home Owner

Posted by Lissa on October 18, 2010

Good morning everyone!!  I’m alive, I’m well, Rajah has settled in nicely, and the weather is beautiful in sunshiney Florida 🙂  I’m surrounded by full boxes and packing debris.  I’m wearing the same pair of shorts over and over again (I *have* unpacked the laundry detergent). I spent a half hour searching for a metal pan so I could bring brownies to the party next door (it was in a box labeled GLASS; thanks, packers, that was helpful). Unpacking our lives in a one-level house is quite different than our settled Kitty Den on the second floor!

Top five things I’ve discovered so far:

5. There ARE such things as Stepford Wives! Holy Cow!! The nice woman next door had a purse party and a whole handful of women there fit the profile.  You know what I mean?  Very skinny, bleached blond, perfectly made up, perfectly groomed women talking of how much they spoil their children and how their husbands constantly irritate them by playing X-Box, not putting away their dishes or being generally untidy.  Is this what I’m supposed to be in five years???  The hair’s gonna look awfully weird on me, if so.

4. Neighbors are MUCH different in an actual neighborhood than an apartment building.  We lived in the Kitty Den for two years; at no point did we know any of our neighbors by name or take a step through their doorways.  We’ve been here exactly a week and I’ve already met the neighbors on both sides (both of whom offered to answer questions or loan cups of sugar, etc.) as well as the next two houses to the right and one more house to the left.  I already attended a party thrown by one neighbor and Mike met the baby and puppy of another neighbor down the street.  It’s very friendly, but it’s also strange and kind of intimidating.  Perhaps I’ll manage to keep the Raj Mahal tidier than we kept the Kitty Den, if I think that folks might wander through on a random basis.

3. It’s mind-blowing (to this newbie) how much work it takes to set up a house.  I mean, unpacking and stuff, that’s expected.  And turning on electricity and water.  But you add on the home owner’s association, the person connecting the phone line and internet, the person installing Direct TV, the handyman examining the attic access and roof shingles, the Direct TV guy coming BACK to install something else he should have done the first trip, calling the security company to have them reset the system to your new phone line, being home when the new grill is delivered (YAY!!!), the pest company coming to transfer the termite bond, learning how to work the irrigation system . . . yeah.  I hadn’t used my iPhone calendar one TENTH as much as I did this month.

2. Tiles are a big change from carpet.  (Especially carpet in an apartment that was down the entire hallway from the elevator; all rain and mud was generally tracked off by the point of entry.)  We scrubbed the whole place before the furniture arrived from MA, but with all the comings and goings (and construction projects and unpacking) it’s getting a little gritty underfoot.  I have both a broom and a mop, but I’m having to negotiate around boxes and barricades of junk and it’s difficult.  ENTIRELY worth it, however, from watching Rajah skid out; he tried to turn a corner too quickly and slammed DIRECTLY into a cardbox box at full speed.  We laughed so hard I nearly peed myself.

And the number one thing I’ve discovered since becoming a home owner:

1. Crab grass is the Devil’s pubic hair.

Happy Monday, guys!!

10 Responses to “Five Things I’ve Learned by Being a Home Owner”

  1. breda said

    Ack, I think I had an anxiety attack just reading #5.

  2. Brad K. said

    About #4 – a property owner is invested in property values. To keep values stable, you have to have respected, responsible neighbors also acting as if they are invested in their property values – and yours.

    Much of the getting to know each other is a combination of things. One, is that property owners depend on the community for much of their property values, and it helps to find out about newcomers quickly, in case there is a troublemaker to be avoided. Check out the John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd movie “Neighbors” some time.

    In short – they want to know who you are. They may want to know who can babysit, and who might harm they children or pets. They want to know if you are going to landscape the front yard with full coverage vegetable garden – that is left to go to weeds.

    Speaking of garden – a compost bin might be a 10′ length of common woven wire farm fence, tied in a circle. When full, lift off, and use a fork or shovel to move the pile back into the wire ring, now set to one side. Turn 12 times, and I am told you have compost. Mine is still about 6 or 8 turns from finishing. Compost works great for fertilizer, for repotting house plants, for enriching the garden.

    And you can pull crab grass. The compost pile makes a great repository. You can eat dandelions, though a tea made from them is pretty diuretic.

    Good fences good neighbors make. It gives you a place to lean, while talking. It keeps neighbor – and stray – dogs at bay.

    Save up for the year end real estate taxes.


  3. […] I have a Cock Plant Growing in my yard. Lissa has…well… And the number one thing I’ve discovered since becoming a home […]

  4. Total Quote of the Day on Crabgrass!! LOL!

    I was surprised at the Neighbor thing too. Of my various apartments I only knew the teenage kids of my upstairs neighbor when I lived in Portland, and that was mostly because they’d be playing around in the street causing trouble, and when I was home from sea I was more-or-less doing the same thing. On Mt. Desert Island I knew my Neighbor, but he was nearly a mile away, and my place there was really just for sleeping. He actually died in a tragic boating accident a few years ago: http://www.theforecaster.net/node/29923

    In my two apartments in Mass I knew NONE of my neighbors at ALL. Then suddenly when I buy a house I knew all my neighbors inside of a week, and I talk with them all regularly.

    Brad is 100% correct on the whole investment thing, but also as a rule apartment dwellers are transient in nature. They sign their leases year-to-year, and can disappear at any time, why bother getting to know somebody if they’ll just be gone in a year or two?

    meanwhile if you buy a house you’re making a long-term commitment to the area.

  5. Jon said

    RE: #3 – wait until you start to realize how much it takes to maintain a house over time. You’re in for an enlightening moment. It’s worth it, though.

  6. Mopar said

    Don’t have to tell *ME* about #5! I live and work in the area the fictional town of Stepford supposedly was. And near where most of the location filming was done. They are all over the place here. Quite scary!

  7. Jay G. said

    Hey, crabgrass gets a bad rap. Would everyone hate it so much if it had a better name, like elfgrass?

    Besides, if it wasn’t for crabgrass, I wouldn’t have no grass at all…

    (Glad to hear the settling in is going well!)

  8. Borepatch said

    When we first moved to Atlanta, we had exactly the same impression. We used to joke and call it the “Stepford Neighborhood”. You find the folks you want to hang with pretty fast, though.

  9. Ahhh, the joys of home ownership. As my mother says, “There’s always something to do when you own a home.” This fall’s projects are new windows for the family room. Ordered, and when the come in, I’ll have the joy of taking out the old ones, installing the new ones, and then painting the trim. Fun, fun, fun.

    Well, at least you and Mike don’t have to drag the snowblower out of storage and get it running!

  10. Jennifer said

    I think you need video of Rajah skidding out. 🙂

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