Saturday, June 16, 2012

Owning a House...Or Why I Always Feel Broke

I have, as they say, good news and bad news.  The good news (desert first) is that we have hot water again. Yay!  What's that you say?  Don't most houses have hot water? Oh yes.  But only with a working hot water heater.  Which leads me to the vegetables, or the bad news.  Yep, we had to replace the hot water heater this week.

Oh Joy.

Wow, okay so I'm tired but I hope everyone can tell that's sarcasm. 

See I grew up in a house and I'm familiar with the problems they can have.  Water heaters leaking or breaking down.  Air conditioners not working when its 98 plus degrees outside.  Furnaces waiting until January to crap out.  Uh, have I ever mentioned I grew up outside of Chicago?  Texas winters are a breeze compared to Illinois.  Though I have seen more tornados and hail down here than I ever did up there.

There are certain things one has to get used to when living in a house in Texas.  Chances are the house will not have a basement, due to the type of earth/ground we have here.  And foundation repairs are something everyone needs whether they like it or not.  You also may find that your water heater is not located some where sensible like the garage (which we don't have) or the kitchen (which would make sense) but off of your back patio.  It will also only be accessible by a door on the outside of your house.

I know for all of you who live in Texas that this isn't exactly news.  But I was really, (and I can't say that enough) surprised by that.  It's still one of the things I find most irritating about my house.

Another strange thing to get used to is that the furnace isn't the basement (the lack of which has already been addressed) but it will be in a tiny closet, or sometimes in the attic.  The repair people for heating and air are always happy with the closet scenario because apparently attics are some of the worst places to deal with.

Having never been in my attic and never intending to go up there I wouldn't know.  I can imagine quite a bit though and I'll just stay on the ground floor.  It's not as if the attic is livable or even a place I want to store things.  I have closets for that.  The only time the attic door has ever been opened was when the house was inspected and when we had cable put in. 

I'd like to be clear.  That is totally fine with me.  I'm not a fan of bugs, dirt, spiders or leaves and I'm certain they all exist in my attic.

Other joys of owning a house are a huge front lawn.  Requiring the purchase of a working lawnmower when the old one breaks down.  We got an electric one and a couple of really long extension cords.  Best decision we every made as at least we didn't end up paying for a lot of gasoline every time we needed to mow.

A sprinkler system that has to be winterized and then set up again in the spring.  Trees that seem to drop limbs everywhere, including the back fence one year.  Leaves we have to rake or mow down into mulch.  The list goes on and on.

But lest you think I hate being a homeowner there are things we like.  My husband grew up in apartments.  Yesterday morning he decided to pay the bills (I know shocking right? Americans don't do that anymore do they? Yes, they do. Or at least we do.) to the tune of Electric Blue at a deafening volume.  No one complained or pounded on the walls or ceiling about the nose.  Because we're in a house and the neighbors couldn't hear.

We also, if you noticed from the cat pictures, have cats and made cat furniture for them.  Shelves that go beneath windows on the wall.  Yes, we have holes in the walls from pictures, cat shelves, a dartboard, curtain name it.  And we won't lose our security deposit over them because, yay, we own the place and if we want to knock down the walls hole by hole we're allowed.

We also don't have to troop down the hall and up a flight of stairs to do laundry, or down to a laundramat because we have a washer and dryer here. (One of which also had to be replaced recently.)

Oh, and we have four cats.  With the option for more if we're feeling stupid and crazy because four is enough for this small house.  But the point is we can have our four because there isn't a pet deposit or a limit on our house.  (Not sure if our city has a limit on pets, I should probably find out.)  And without our cats we'd go seriously crazy. 

I know what you're thinking.  We sound crazy already. 

Yeah, you got me there, but we're a benign sort of insane.  Play video games, watch movies and tv, and write all weekend kind of crazy.  Not the sitting on the roof and taking potshots at passing cars with a rifle crazy.

Owning a house is good.  I get credit because it was my idea. Also my 401k money that made it possible to make a down payment.  It's a good feeling most days.  I've had people be surprised that I'm a homeowner, apparently I don't always come off as responsible or something. 

But occassionally, it does feel like the house exists to take my money.  I like my house...but I really love having money.  I've been broke. I did not care for it.  And no matter how often my husband shows me our accounts and says we're fine...after a big expenditure like furnace repair, washer replacement, water heater replacement...I always feel nervous.  And broke.

I'm sure it'll go away sooner or later.

In the least writing is free entertainment right?

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