November, 2005 Archives

Looking Forward

November 28th, 2005

Last Monday marked the 6 month anniversary of living in our house. It doesn’t feel like that long ago, but at the same time, I can’t really remember life before that very vividly. A lot has happened since then.

We spent our first night of homeownership making a 5-minutes-before-closing trip to Home Depot to buy a bar to put in the sliding glass door that led to the backyard but didn’t lock.

Since then, we’ve spent hours painting every room of the house except two. We spent weeks fighting the 25-year old shrubs in front of the house, struggling to get the massive stumps out of the ground. We’ve taken down valences and shelves and accidentally killed most of the pre-existing plants in the yard (and maybe some grass). The hallway bathroom toilet has problems. The bathtub under the mat showed decades of build-up of something–I’m not sure what. Darek spent a day removing that with some barkeepers friend (the best cleaning product ever, by the way). And we’ve still got lots more stuff to do.

When it was hot this summer, the pipes on the A/C unit froze. Fortunately the house came with a one-year warranty that just required us to pay $50 for the guy to come out.

Cracks showed up, and kept getting bigger. We spent the $3000 allowance we’d been given for foundation repairs, only to discover that we have to spend over $4000 more to get the other half fixed.

When we turned on the heater 2 weeks ago (when it was 38 degrees outside) it ran for a few minutes before making a loud popping sound. A few minutes later, while I was standing next to the closet the furnace is in, I heard another popping sound and saw a burst of light.

The heater is dead. The pops and light were the wires burning through. The heater guy turned the gas off when he came to check it, because it was a safety hazard.

It’s cold. It’s been cold for 2 weeks. I’m waiting this morning for the new heater to arrive, so I can finally feel my feet again. I don’t handle cold well; anyone who’s known me for more than 2 hours knows this.

It’s easy to look back on the last six months and think: “What a pain. We should have stayed in the apartment. All this work, all these problems, and there is still more to come. What were we thinking?”

But then I walk around the house. Our house. (Well, actually, the bank’s house, but you know what I mean.) We’re in our mid-twenties and have over 20% invested in a house we just bought. We don’t share walls with people who play their music ridiculously loud, or smoke below us so the smell wafts in through the kitchen cabinets, or have fighting matches with their children. Along with the problems comes freedom: the freedom to paint, to change the floors, to knock out a wall, to fix the cracks in the windows and doors.

It’s a luxury that many people don’t have. Our heater is broken, but there are people who can’t even afford heat. The walls are cracked, but millions of people don’t even have walls. I’m cold and feeling kind of poor, but the heater will be fixed and eventually this will just a memory of some problems during our first year of homeownership. Really, we have it pretty good. Exceptionally good. I feel very blessed, and I love our house. I’m glad we have one. I’m looking forward to several good years in it.

I didn’t vote on Election Day, but I did see my most favorite band in concert: DEPECHE MODE!

I wasn’t sure what to expect because we were going to be in a Suite and I was afraid this meant we’d be sitting behind glass very high above and far away from the stage. I was afraid it would be more like watching a movie than attending a concert; but I was wrong.

We went in through the special Platinum entrance, went up the stairs to the special Platinum level, and walked through the carpeted corridor to Suite 1123. There were foods and drinks, leather seats, and an unobstructed view of the stage. I watched the opening band while I ate fruit, chips with spinach dip, and a huge chocolate-covered strawberry.

At 9:06, the house lights went down and the stage lights came on. The music started. And Depeche Mode came out.

When I was in high school I used to go to concerts like they were movies; sometimes I’d even go to 2 or 3 a week. I loved the music at high volumes and the feeling of being transported through it.

I stopped going to concerts because they started to make me sad. So many people who seemed so lost. I felt lost in the crowd, and it seemed like I was always behind the guy who was 6 feet tall, next to the girl in the tiny black dress throwing up on the ground, and in front of the screeching people who spilled beer everywhere.

But last Tuesday I was able to watch the show from above the crowd and even watch the crowd while still feeling like I was a little bit a part of it. I let the music wash over me without the claustrophobic feeling of too many people in too little space. I enjoyed sitting through it and not looking forward to it ending so I could stop standing, as I usually did at concerts.

Loud music is so manipulative. I’ve noticed that I like this less and less as I get older. But last week I let myself get lost in it, and I loved it. It’s so hard to describe, because music is so much more than words.

But it was awesome.