always get a bit skeptical when people claim they knew exactly
what they were getting when they moved into their first home.
a reaction built on doubt, since virtually every homeowner I’ve
ever met had a list of surprises that hit them when they purchased
a house. Busy all over with unexpected thrills, never mind the
thought of being able to say they were prepared for everything
that first property tossed their way.
of my most memorable experiences in this regard was a friend that
claimed because they had rented a different house (as opposed
to an apartment), he and his wife were prepared for what the house
they purchased might throw their way.
should probably add at this moment that I don’t wish anyone headaches
and problems as far as home ownership is concerned. I don’t. But
there’s this naïve ignorance that so many don’t recognize,
and then they fall victim to it when the thrills begin. That friend
that assumed one house was going to equate to another… that they
were ready because they had lived together in a house… hearing
that idea expressed was like bells and whistles and fireworks
that some fun was about to begin.
first wave of surprise was caused by three squirrels. A tree on
one side of the house had branches the reached out and ended within
a few inches of the roof. Actually, more specifically, it had
one branch that was literally two inches away from the vent for
the attic. (Use your imagination, and you still won’t be close
to the amazing chaos caused by trying to evict those three unexpected
residents after they moved in.)
second wave came during the first winter in the house. Any time
snow was melting, the couple was finding water in the basement.
After checking everything, including gutters and flashing, they
made an interesting discovery accidentally when they went out
into the yard with their dogs. The house they bought had a pool,
a deck around that pool, and a concrete slab set up perfectly
for a barbecue area. Because the deck wasn’t perfectly level,
the snow melting on it was running off it to the side of the concrete
slab. The slab had a bit of a slant to it, causing water to move
from it toward the house. If there was a lot of snow melting,
or if the ground was still somewhat frozen, a significant amount
of water would end up flowing directly toward the house.
our first house the biggest surprise was the trees. Dozens upon
dozens of them. Mostly towering, mature oaks. We first saw the
house in late winter. We made our offer in the early spring and
purchased it in May. Things looked lovely then. By early November,
I had learned countless new curse words. The leaves… oh, dear
lord, the leaves. Piled upon each other, high and deep and unending.
In the early spring, there was zero way of knowing what was headed
our way in the fall.
will you have seen a house in all seasons and all situations.
And that’s what matters. It’s a twist on that not knowing what
you know until you know it idea. If you don’t see the house in
the snow… if you don’t see what happens as rainwater flows down
the driveway toward the garage door… if you don’t try to turn
on the shower and washing machine at the same time… then you don’t
understand what to expect when a strong wind blows.
we had a housewarming party for some friends after moving in to
that first house. It was only then, while trying to play music
and cook in the kitchen on a hot summer day with the air conditioner
running, that we learned exactly how much of the house was wired
into the same circuit.
our current home, we’re still trying to figure out the hidden
treasures of plants and flowers. The first couple of years, Terry
and I would get ahead of ourselves when it came to gardening.
We’d recognize many of the early varieties… say daffodils and
tulips… and enjoy them as they bloomed. But there was a good chance
we ended up cutting down or pulling up many others as they arrived,
thinking we were cleaning up weeds and keeping things tidy.
year, a few decisions exposed several varieties of lilies that
we didn’t know were located along one of the edges of our yard.
So, this year, Terry decided we should ease back and let a lot
of things just grow a bit wild. See what happens. Track the progress.
the most part, still only a few days into the actual summer and
with many weeks remaining until the fall arrives, it has been
an interesting experience. Unfortunately, we were drenched with
poor weather in March, April and May, which has in turned slowed
everything down (and literally washed many things away).
a crazy thing learning—literally and figuratively—where the weeds
are around your home. It can be fun, but it’s not always easy.
There’s work to be done, issues to address, and items to remember
for next time.
not to forget to appreciate the flowers along the way.