Eight thoughts from my first week as a homeowner

By • Oct 28th, 2007 • Category: Daily Life

HomeIt has been a week now since Laura and I moved in to our first home. I suppose I can call it that now, but the excitement of moving paired with the new job makes everything seem a bit surreal. Laura and I both like the house, and especially enjoy having a place to call our own. I suppose we were not very prepared though because there are a lot of new feelings we are discovering that we never expected.

It is our house. For a lot of our first week in the new house it felt like we were visitors staying in someone else’s home. It was a challenge to overcome saying “they” or “their” when talking to the people that were kind enough to visit us the first few days after moving in. We talked about “their” (the previous owners’) new floors and “their” intercom system. We are still trying to convince ourselves that we paid for it so it is ours. I suppose in reality though it’s the bank’s too until everything is paid for.

Our house makes us lonely. We discovered we feel a lot lonelier living in a house than when we lived in the apartment. We didn’t have many visitors at the apartment either, but at least we knew the neighbors were around, and we got to hang out with them a lot. Our last night at the apartment the neighbors below us decided to “smoke” as we were going to bed, so we got to enjoy the nice smell that came through our window. That night we talked about how nice it was going to be not having to hear their music or loud drunkenness (or the guy in Emporia that played the guitar every night at 2am). Now, in a way, we actually miss having them around.

There is a lot of space. We also didn’t realize how big 2,618 square feet actually was until we moved everything from our 580 square foot apartment. Before, everything fit comfortably in our living room, one bedroom, and bathroom. Now our desk and computer look lonely in our office. The bed, dresser and nightstand take up just a little space in our bedroom. And the ferrets and cat live in the panic room. The baby’s room is empty except for a few things being stored in there until we re-carpet the basement, and there are two bedrooms and a downstairs living room that aren’t even being touched. Sure, we will grow in to it eventually, but I am pretty convinced we are the only house on the block with nothing but cars in the garage.

The house gives us something to do. A positive thing about the house is that owning it gives us plenty to do. Prior to moving we kept ourselves occupied by preparing for the move or watching DVDs. Now that we are moved in we haven’t had the chance to even plug in the TV. We have been making minor repairs around the house and are still trying to find places to store things like my ninja turtles and skis. Laura still complains that she is bored when I’m at work, but that’s because she doesn’t like to clean or put anything away unless I’m there with her. (Next time she complains she is bored you should tell her to clean.) We have also been able to enjoy walking around the trails surrounding our neighborhood.

Our routine has changed. In addition to not watching as much TV, having more space, and having our own washer and dryer, we are trying to adjust to living in a different part of Wichita. Before we lived on the east side of town and were used to the stores and restaurants there. I know nothing about west Wichita and have had to adjust my morning routine to make sure I get to work in time. I liked east Wichita because it reminds me a lot of Johnson County, but in reality we never shopped at any of those stores because my old job wouldn’t allow it. We also preferred saving for a house rather than buying unnecessary stuff. In east Wichita there was a big difference when you went from one neighborhood to the next. West Wichita seems to offer the same things, but appears more family friendly. We have a Target right down the street from us (and a Lowe’s!) and even the Wal-Mart has nicer (less trashy) people.

We spend less. There is no doubt in my mind that our utilities cost less now than at the apartment. Before we only had to pay electricity, but even without running the air conditioner our old appliances would cost us close to $120 / month. The old owners (and the utility companies) said the previous bills were well under what we were used to out east and in Emporia. In addition to the bills, we also find that we go to the store less often than before. Rather than going every time we needed something, having the extra room (and larger fridge) allows us to plan ahead and shop less because we finally have room to store everything. Because of this, so far this week we have been able to prepare all our meals at home. We are going to Chili’s tonight though to celebrate our 400th day of marriage.

New appliances are great. I suppose so far the best thing about having a house is the fact that you own everything in it. I absolutely hated the appliances in Emporia (and not having a dishwasher) and hated the fridge in our apartment in Wichita because the previous tenants didn’t feel like defrosting it. This was what we got to look forward to every time we wanted to put groceries in it.

Ice Blob

Our “Ice Blob Monster” became a running joke to everyone who visited because we were never able to defrost it before moving out. In Emporia we had a small freezer, but at least were able to store stuff in the fridge. Here we could only keep one gallon of milk (on its side) and our water pitcher on the top shelf. Everything else got soaked from the continuously growing ice blob in the fridge. About a month before moving out the ice grew large enough to engulf the light bulb and eventually made it so the fridge wouldn’t stay closed without keeping one of the moving boxes propped against it. Sure we probably had enough chances (and plenty of willing neighbors) to allow us to defrost the fridge, but we didn’t like the idea of having to walk next door to grab something to eat. We are still paying for the apartment until November 18th, but the fridge has since been defrosted. The only appliance I don’t like at the house is the mismatched microwave because it doesn’t have a turntable and is the only black appliance in the stainless steel kitchen.

Lots more to be done. There is still a lot of work to be done around the house to make it how we want it. Things like removing the outdated wallpaper in the office, master bedroom, and basement hallway, and plenty of painting. Plus we pulled up the carpet in the basement because the old owners thought it was a bathroom or let their pets use it as one. It has been great this first week though, and I’m guessing we will enjoy it more as we grow into it.

Photo: _mpd_

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