It’s been ONE YEAR since we signed away the next 30 years of our life to living on First St. Which, at the time we weren’t even thirty (*I still haven’t crossed that milestone, thankyouverymuch) – so what the heck do we know about 30 years? I’ll tell you what, we know a lot about a lot after just one year of home ownership that we didn’t know last year. So, I guess 1 year down, 29 to go?
Here are only a few of our major “learnings” from Year 1:
- We don’t need modern kitchen conveniences – we just REALLY want them.
Our kitchen is not only old (1936 cabinets), it’s small (2 feet of counter space), hot (evening sun and no ventilation), and there’s not enough storage. We’ve learned to live without a microwave; after a few months you kind of forget that you don’t have one and get used to heating things up on the stove or in the oven.
We have NOT learned to live without a dishwasher. When you have to hand-wash every dish and utensil you start to factor in dishes needed when picking recipes. We eat lots of salads and sandwiches now.
I miss our recipes, every day.
- The weather is everything.
Is there such thing as being a hypochondriac but for your house? If so, that’s exactly what I am. I’ve never felt so emotionally connected to and stressed by weather as I am now that I’m a homeowner. Every major rainstorm I’m fearful we’ll spring a leak, at home we do a scan with flashlights and moisture detectors, but when at work all I can think is, “probably pouring into the windows by now,” as I do an Angie’s List search for plaster repair deals…
- Confidence means nothing.
I was so cocky when we bought our house. “Solid as a rock” I said, “updated where it matters” we thought, “dry as a bone!” we boasted. Every house has its problems, and just because it didn’t show them during the home inspection or in the first couple months (thank God) doesn’t mean ours didn’t have them. We’ve had leaks (which is a new one), discoveries (new electrical boxes does not equal new electric behind the walls) and cracks (um, was that there last week?).
Even our friends who bought *fully updated* homes found “quirks” as they started to live there. Nobody is safe, we just have to be ready for the next thing to happen.
- HGTV is all LIES
When talking to non-homeowners I often feel a tang of jealousy when they talk about something cool they saw on HGTV they wish they had a house so they could do it themselves. I miss being naiive. I miss the Property Brothers (<3). Homeowner me hates most of HGTV and I find myself yelling at the TV when it’s on. For the record: it does NOT take a couple hours to paint a room – it takes a weekend if you’re fast and prepared. It does NOT cost $10k to renovate a kitchen and furniture is VERY expensive as well, normal people can’t redecorate an entire room (much less a house) in a couple days and with regular budgets.
- When someone offers to help – you take them up on it.
We don’t live near family, we have no dads or sisters or uncles that can come over on a Saturday and help with a project or give their opinion when something breaks. We don’t have family trusted plumbers or a guy who fixes all the whatevers in the neighborhood. We have to find someone and pay them for nearly everything we can’t figure out how to do ourselves using YouTube and the webernets. Thankfully, we have some very good and awesome friends in DC who offer to help us sometimes; in the past, I would either just take care of it myself or try to minimize the need on my friend, however now I say, “thank you” and use them for all I can get out the offer.
My parents have been incredibly helpful when they come to town. They grumble a bit that they’re visiting to work, but Kyle and I couldn’t be more grateful for their help – even if it’s just a reassurance this is a marathon, not a sprint!
Fingers crossed and cheers to our 2nd year!