Thursday, November 11, 2010

I bought a house. Now what?

I am 31 years old, and I have never used a hammer in its intended fashion.

In October, 2010, I moved into my first house.  From the first day, with only a microwave and a sleeping bag, I loved it.  From the second day, I realized it was going to be a heck of a job to keep up.

The house, built in 1975, was in good shape.  The previous owner had maintained the yard beautifully, and she left me records of home repairs and improvements.  The home inspection was good.  It needed some modest repairs and upgrades, but of the sort I'd call "implementation details", not "architectural problems".  So I wasn't worried about making the house better, I was worried about not making it worse.

Since leaving my parents' house, I've always lived in rented apartments.  I made the apartments worse.  Why wouldn't I?  Why try to maintain the appliances if there's a guy paid to repair it when it breaks?  Why clean if you're going to move someday?  Why clear the cobwebs and dead spiders off the balcony if... actually I should have done that, it was  nasty.

But my house is a house, and more importantly my house is my house.  I intend to live here for 10-70 years.  I'm going to take care of it.

I expect to make a lot of mistakes.  These are their stories.

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