Friday, May 15, 2009

Homeownership Is Not All It's Cracked Up To Be (no pun intended)

So, here's the thing about me owning a home. I'm crazy. I got big neuroses rattling around in this melon of mine. And when you've been reading Martha Stewart Living since you were sixteen, pretty much just dreaming, hoping and waiting for the day that you'll have your very own space to unleash all your collected thoughts, ideas and projects- well, your expectations can get a bit out of whack. I realize that there are some things that are, more or less, out of my control. That however doesn't mean I always accept it.

This is where the unintentional pun comes in. We wanted an older house, something with some character and charm. We knew that this being Texas, and us wanting to be in this general part of town (it's not called South Hills for it's smooth landscape), that we would have trouble finding a house without any foundation issues at all. When we decided to take a closer look at the home we now occupy we saw where many cracks had been patched and repaired. The sellers included a foundation report with their disclosure and we hired a structural engineer to do our inspection. Some shifting, not as bad as could be expected for the age of house, no repairs needed at this time, though possibly down the road. Sounded good to us. And then we weren't there to water the foundation as often as we should have been the first month. And then it rained for 4 days, and I saw first hand that slight drainage issue the inspector had mentioned we might have at the front of the house. Next came the cracks. Some big, some small, but a lot of them. Everywhere I look I seem to see one. I try to take comfort in the fact that they are cracks that previously existed, just coming back out. I spend a lot of time pointing and yelling- bouncing between yelling at them to stop and shouting that I won't let them take over my life.

That last bit is obviously not true (yet), since here I am doing an entire blog post about it. But I am trying. I try to keep my head down, try to keep my eyes on what I'm doing. Sometimes I just wonder around and look at them all, and look for more. And then I curse myself for mucking things up. When having a home has been your dream for so many years, and then you feel like your failing at the one constant wish you've ever had, it can be a pretty depressing state of mind to be in. But like I said, I'm trying. Slowly I'm finding things a home, emptying one more box, putting one more thing in it's place. I've got plans for a compost pile, have been reading about square-foot gardening and researching gutterless rain barrels. I think I've decided on a programmable thermostat and we'll be insulating our water heater soon. This one thing doesn't have to stop me from doing what I can to improve our home. Part of me knows that I should take these cracks as a sign that I can't plan for and control everything. But it doesn't seem to stop me from trying anyway.


MrsEm said...

You have to water a foundation? Oh lordy, I know nothing about owning a home.

Here's what helps me feel better about this sort of thing: What's the worst that could happen? You'd have to pay for a whole new foundation? That would be rough, but you'd survive. Maybe start putting some money into a savings account for that possibility.