Saturday, July 7, 2007

The joys of homeownership?

Warning this story contains adult language, rambling, sheer idiocy and a late night trip to Wal-mart. If you are prepared to read those things…continue.

There are so many nice things about owning a home. If you want to do something…you do it. There is no need to get permission from a landlord or super…the house is yours to wreck or improve as you please. Of course, if something goes wrong it becomes your responsibility to fix – there is no landlord or super to call.

As you may or may not know – we are in the process of improving our backyard. First was fixing up the barn followed by some landscaping, and then came the new fence. Last week Amy picked up new patio furniture to make it quite a lovely spot to sit and enjoy a meal or just the weather. I had the genius idea to run some speakers to the back patio. We have one of the “wireless” speakers that work with a little FM tuner – and it is OK. But there is really no substitute for hardwired speakers to help you fully enjoy the backyard experience.

I purchased all the necessary equipment and my dear friend Chad offered to give me a hand with the project. It is always more pleasant to wiggle through the crawlspace with a handful of wire if there is somebody with you. Scratch that – somebody with you that isn’t complaining about being down there.

Now – I shouldn’t even have to say this next part – but I will. We started the project much later in the evening than we should have. I had my evening class – and for some reason we still thought it was a good idea to start as the sun was setting. Much of our time was spent in the crawlspace – which is dark anyway – but this seems like it should have been a 3 PM project not a 9-ish PM project.

OK – so Chad and I are in the crawlspace. We decided that since we were down there we would go ahead and run cable not just to the outside speakers, but also to the back office and bedroom in the event I decide to hook speakers up there. How long do you think it was before Chad (a few feet in front of me whilst Army crawling) said, “Hey, it looks like there’s some water down here.”? Not long is the answer to that. Not long at all.

“FRACK!” There is nothing worse than water in the crawlspace. I have buried all of my gutter downspouts 25 feet from the house to avoid just this! That means that the water is worse…it means that most likely it is coming from the bathroom. “FRACK! Double FRACK!”

So – we finish the wire – at least that run of it – and we realize that we need more for the actual hook-up on the topside. So, at some late hour we ran to Wally World covered in “crawlspace crap”. There is nothing like a late night trip to Wal-mart…especially when they are renovating the entire store. We needed speaker wire on the night that they were moving the entire electronics section! What are the chances? Wal-mart’s Law (similar to Murphy’s Law) states very clearly that if you are sweaty, upset and in need of something – they will make it as difficult as possible to locate your item and be on your way. I know – that sounds exactly like Murphy’s Law – this difference is that Wal-mart’s Law has the addition of screaming children, regardless of the hour you are there. We did manage to find some buried in a shopping cart. What a pain, though. Man I really dislike Wal-mart. Can anything else stay open 24 hours…please?

Anyway – back to the shitty part of homeownership – water in the crawl. A year ago, our inspector told us that it looked as though there was “old damage” under a toilet that had been replaced prior to our purchase of the house. We have been operating under that assumption for the past year. It turns out that was not the case. Water has been going through bad grout in our shower! There is no shower wall left – it has all rotted away – and the subfloor is on its way out, too.

So – in an unexpected turn of events – we have another fun house project. We knew we wanted to work in the bathrooms – we just were hoping to wait a year or so.

I did get all the water out. Amy has removed LARGE portions of tile – and we are currently in the drying/repair mode on our shower. That means we have no shower to use. All we have is the tub. A bathtub is a great thing if you have a HUGE tub or you are 80 or if you are a baby…and know nothing better. For two people that are about to hit 30 – a bath everyday is gross. And for a guy that is my size (with a tub our size) a bath is just degrading. I simply cannot fit in the tub.

In other news…who am I kidding? There is no other news. This house consumes us. Every improvement is merely a window in the countless others that need to happen. So to all the kiddies out there – live at home. Live there forever. Then you don’t have to pay rent – there is no weird landlord to deal with – and any problems aren’t “your” problem…they are your parents’ problems.

NOTE: The speakers do work – and they are great.

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