I’ve owned my first house for about seven months now, and in that time I’ve been surprised by a lot of things.
Houses (especially cosmetic fixer-uppers like mine) are a lot of work. Before I moved in, I imagined myself relishing every little step of the home improvement. I thought I’d be zipping through the house tirelessly removing wallpaper and repainting window sills until I had the beautiful home of my dreams.
That is, um, not really what happened.
I have worked hard. At times I’ve worked incredibly hard. But every project took three times longer than I expected, and it turns out there is a limit to my enthusiasm for home improvement. In February I hit a lull that I wasn’t expecting. I lost my energy for painting and scraping, and a lot of projects stalled.
The most ridiculous of the stalled project is this wall. It was probably November when I put these paint samples up, but every day since, the first thing I see when I walk into my house is this mess of a wall.
The good news is, I’m back! It must be the warm weather, because all of a sudden I’m back on track with the house. The paint cans are back out (oh, who am I kidding the cans never actually left. The difference is that now I’m using them), and I’m getting things done again.
One of the weirdest things about homeownership is that pride I feel when I get something totally mundane done. Sure, it makes sense to feel proud when a room gets painted and the furniture slides into place, but pride over a new porch roof? Weird.
This week I got new glass block windows in the basement, and I love them. Like, I want to marry them. I never expected to want to marry a glass block window, and yet, here I am.
Glass block windows are installed directly into the foundation with cement to ensure that bad guys (or bears) can’t kick them in. My basement is now all sealed up from the elements. The evening after the windows were installed I went downstairs to look at them, and I realized that the cement was still wet.
So, there I was, all in love with the windows and with homeownership, and I’m feeling all proud and happy, and I realize that there is WET CEMENT in my house. In MY house. In the house that I OWN. Where I can do whatever I want, because it’s mine. I had to scratch something in the cement!
First, a confession: Almost without thinking, I grabbed a nail and scratched a heart into one of the frames. I dunno. It was pure instinct. I think girls are genetically programmed to draw hearts wherever they go. I immediately regretted the heart, so I carefully considered my options before raising the nail to scratch again.
I thought about writing my name or my initials, but that seemed a little lame, and I had already used up my allotment of “lame” on the heart. I wanted to write something that would be meaningful to me, but also not annoying to any potential future owners of the house.
In the end, the choice was obvious:
Owning a house is not always fun, but it definitely provides lots of opportunity for small, joyful triumphs.