April 20, 2004

The House That Hates Me

Many of you no doubt already know that I bought a house last week, and for those of you who don't know, well, you know now.

Here's what I've learned about home ownership so far: my house doesn't like me all that much. I can say this based on two early incidents that do not bode well for the future.

The day I closed on the house, I waited around for my girlfriend to come down from the Twin Cities because she wanted to be with me during my first in-depth tour of my new house. Girls are weird creatures like that. I could buy a can of athlete's foot spray, and my girfriend would want to be with me for the initial application. Okay, I'm kidding. . . somewhat.

So, anyway, my girlfriend and I arrive at my new house, at which time I discover I don't have the key to get in. Now, I was 99.9 percent certain I had the key before leaving to go to the house. I mean, I was POSITIVE I had it. So, the fact I suddenly didn't have it bothered me to no end. We retraced our steps. We went back to the point of origin. We went EVERYWHERE. Nothing. No key.

There I stood outside of the house I just paid an amazing amount of money for, lacking any means of entry. Okay, let me rephrase that last part: lacking any TRADITIONAL means of entry. I started an in-depth security patrol of my new house, probing for potential weaknesses I could exploit. I found a weakness, in the form of a basement window, which I popped out of place and slithered my way into the darkest basement EVER.

Now, keep in mind, I didn't know my house all that well, so I wasn't all that sure what room I had just dropped into, and it was so amazingly dark, I could just as well as been in a cave. What transpired was a lot of clumsy bumping around as I walked into several walls and grabbed at many loose wires, which frankly spooked the hell out of me.

I'll tell you what: there are few things more disorienting than being caught in pitch darkness in a basement you're not at all familiar with. I think you could make a pretty creepy movie based entirely on that concept alone. I hadn't believed in monsters and ghosts for at least a couple of years but, as I fumbled my way aimlessly around that darkened basement, I found myself once again entertaining the possibility they existed, and they no doubt existed about five inches from my face, taunthing me from a safe distance.

I finally half-discovered, half-fell-up, the basement staircase and I was monumentally relieved to find a light switch at the top of the stairs. Oh, light! Beautiful light! Chaser awayer of all imagined ghosts and demons!

My girlfriend was waiting patiently for me at the front door, and she wasn't surprised in the least that I materialized inside the house because, she explained, she had heard me banging around in the basement for the last five minutes or so. Girlfriends can be so helpful like that.

We walked through the house for the first time with me as the proud owner and, proud owner that I was, I was most proud to find a spare set of keys so I wouldn't have to crawl through the basement every time I wanted to visit my home.

The next day, we arrived triumphantly, ready to get to work on updating my purchase, and within the first few minutes, I found the missing key sitting squarely in the center of the driveway. Stupid key.

One of our first tasks was to go around the house and remove all the light switch and outlet covers. It was during this exercise that my house tried to kill me.

One outlet cover, in particular, apparently took offense at me trying to remove it, and it reacted in such a way as to spark and buzz loudly, while sending a considerable electrical jolt cascading through my body. The resulting power surge blew a fuse which, once I had sufficiently recovered from the shock, required me to go back into the darkened and unfamiliar basement to replace the blown fuse.

All in all, however, so far home ownership has been an enjoyable experience. And, if all goes well, the house will kill me sometime next week.

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Posted by Ryan at April 20, 2004 10:26 AM

Dang! I hate messing with electricity because of something alot like what happened to you. I fused the end up a screwdriver and nearly fried my entire body.

It'll get better, especially when you start shining up those hidden hardwood floors (for which I officially hate you, by the way).

Posted by: Johnny Huh? at April 20, 2004 10:36 AM

As excited as I am for you for buying a house, I really like being able to call Maintenance for anything & everything at our apartment.

Stopped up toilet? Call maintenance. Lost your key? Call maintenance. Dishwasher stops washing? Call maintenance.

Wait, why would I ever want a house? No house for me unless it comes with a maintenance department.

Posted by: Mandy at April 20, 2004 12:46 PM

Mandy, my wife was wishing we could call maintenance this morning because our shower drain is messed up. So yeah, it would be nice sometimes.

But its also very empowering to be able to look at a wall and go "That shouldn't be there" and then knocking it down.

And there's also the whole rent/mortgage issue. Sending in a rent check felt like I was burning my money, sending in the mortgage payment means I'm investing in my family's future. One sucked, the other sucks alot less!

Posted by: Johnny Huh? at April 20, 2004 02:15 PM

I hope you rewired that switch, it sounds like it needs it, I mean really, it shouldn't shock you just for taking off the plate.
Don't forget, the first thing in your house is bread and salt, one so you will be prosperous, the other so you will have seasoning I guess, lol.
And the youngest member of the family carries in the brooms and mops so you will always be taken care of. For getting rid of bad karma, juju, left over emotions, whatever you want to call it, burn a bowl of cedar chips, it chases away all the bad spirits. And those are all my new house superstitions.
And rewire the switches.
Don't be surprised at what you find when you do though, I had a brand new house built 7 years ago now, and when I put in outdoor lights with motion sensors, my wiring was wrong too. I still have problems with the wiring in the garage, and will sooner or later have to get an electrician in, it keeps tripping to the point where I had to get rid of my freezer in there. Maintenance would be cool.

Posted by: Donna at April 20, 2004 08:15 PM

Oh, and this is important, do not wear contacts if you are messing with electricity, it can literally melt them to your eyeballs...wear glasses!!!!!!

Posted by: Donna at April 20, 2004 08:17 PM


Posted by: Joshua at April 21, 2004 12:54 PM
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