May
10
2011
The Joys Of Home Ownership

If my responsibilities would just fuck off for a minute, that would be great. I don’t need any more lemonade making tasks added to my schedule. I’m busy.

I would soak in a tub of Calgon if I thought it would take me away. But I probably shouldn’t introduce any additional liquid into this house. With my luck, the tub would fall through the kitchen ceiling.

When we moved in 2006, we purposely bought a home that had been completely renovated. We seem to have a “please screw us” sign on our backs, so we wanted to minimize having to deal with contractors.

Everyone was so impressed with the house we bought. Our realtor was salivating over it. The home inspector rhapsodized about how well it was built. The two other bidders who drove up the damn price loved it too.

When water seeped in through the foundation and ruined part of our entertainment center in the finished portion of the basement, I took it in stride. We didn’t even have to pay to fix that. Dave diagnosed and fixed the problem himself. Go Dave.

When we learned that the A/C unit in the attic didn’t have an appropriate emergency back up pipe to avoid leaks, I was pissed but basically took it in stride. We fixed it before it was ever a problem.

When water started dripping through the ceiling in the master bedroom, I took it in stride. OK, that’s a lie. The dripping woke me up and forced me to sleep on the futon in the guest room and that really made me cranky. But a thousand dollars later, the roof seems fixed and there’s only the tiniest spot of water damage on the ceiling that will inevitably stay there until we want to sell.

When Dave said there was water in the basement over Easter weekend and he didn’t know why, I lost my shit.

Call me picky, but I prefer NOT to have water in places not meant to house water.

Memories of our previous place, a townhouse built of sugar cubes, filled my mind with dread. Every day that fucker sprung a new leak. Fixing those leaks so that we could sell the house was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. Not a single one of the endless parade of contractors that came out had any fucking idea what was causing the water to pour through our kitchen ceiling every time there was a hard rain. We had the roof over the window re-caulked multiple times. We had the seal on the second floor windows checked, we had the brick and flashing inspected. We considered giving up and trying to promote the leak to potential buyers as a “water feature”.

Our realtor said no. So it came to a physicist and a social science researcher having to diagnose the problem. We are available for consultation, call now.

Dave cut a big hole in the kitchen ceiling, so we could shove our heads up there and see what was going on and also so the mold spores could escape their confinement. It wasn’t raining at the time and even if it were, I don’t know what the hell we thought we’d see up there that would help (unfortunately there was no shoelace untied or snowman with his hat blown off…check out 23:35 to 26:50 of the video below).

Once we cut the hole, it completely stopped raining for days and days. Our new pastime became watering the house with a hose while standing on a ladder. Yes, this looked just as odd as you might think.

Things we learned:

* Brick is porous!

* I’m allergic to mold!

* Contractors suck!

* We should move!

So we bought this newly renovated house. The current leak here came from a burst pipe going to the fridge. Ironically, this is the same pipe that has been failing to provide water for the ice cube maker and filtered water dispenser for over a year (the plumber said it was the fridge; the appliance repair man said it was the plumbing, we said fuck it and bought a Brita pitcher).

Score one for the plumber because even though water wasn’t getting to the fridge, it sure as hell got everywhere else it wasn’t supposed to go when the pipe burst, as evidenced by the water in the basement, the mold growing behind the fridge and the damage to the wood floor and the pantry cabinet.

It is not exactly clear what to do. Our high bid is definitely a Cadillac–$2500 just for mold remediation, not including reconstruction afterward. We’d likely be without the use of our kitchen for a while as the area would be blocked off during the work. This firm also suggests we hire a separate firm to create the plan and inspect the work, to the tune of an additional $1000. The low bid came last week in the form of a guy who essentially told Dave he should put some Windex on it. Voila, problem solved.

But at least we have ants!

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2 Responses to “The Joys Of Home Ownership”

  1. Abby
    Friday, May 13, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    I feel your pain.
    I have owned my house for almost three years now, except I don’t have a husband that kind of pretends to know what he’s doing when it comes to repairs. Instead, I have a mom and stepdad that kind of know what they’re doing and try to help, usually causing me to pine for vodka and a condo with a maintenance man.

    Nothing is cheap or easy house-wise, that’s for sure. However, I love, LOVE that I have a place of my own that I can escape to. If only no one knew where that place was…

    • logyexpress
      Friday, May 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

      I love my house too. But between the water and the maintenance and the out of control landscaping (as it turns out, weeding is not very fun), I started to wonder if condo living wouldn’t be more our speed. But there were totally annoying things about that kind of living too–at our townhouse there were HOA fees and next to no services, but plenty of rules. We couldn’t even paint the front door the color we wanted. I didn’t like having people up in my grill all the time. If only we were handier.

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