Thursday, August 04, 2016

Lost In Home Depot: A Music Teacher Buys a Home

This will be the title to the best-selling sequel to my memoir about teaching, Boomwhacked; A Music Teacher's Life.

It's apt. On Monday, I wandered the massive aisles of the Roseville Home Depot in some extra time before a workout, and...I got lost. 

But seriously, where are they hiding the
window coverings?!

As of today, I'm officially one week into this home ownership thing, and I've had approximately 250 moments where I've thought to myself, "Maybe I should have just rented," but mostly, I'm finding my way along. I knew going in that making this place livable would be a challenge--I will not move in while those carpets are in the bedrooms, and before I can put new floors in, I want to paint. And before I paint, I have to clean, etc. I didn't think it would take a full week to clean...but it has. 

And that is with the help of Mom, Dad, and the awesome, amazing, incredible Sarah, who volunteered a good chunk of her weekend to scrub walls with me.

I spent most of last Friday cleaning the master bathroom shower fit for use--it was filthy, and stained. I spent another three hours yesterday ripping out the caulk between shower and tub (upper arms of steel, seriously), and taking a razor to the stains on the bottom of the tub. Oddly, it works. 

This was Friday, July 29.

After a bunch of scrubbing--still stained.

When I started, this was brown. 

Yesterday, I started on the caulk.

I actually broke a razor. 

Caulk out, most of the stains out. It's not perfect, but I can
live with it.

For every major success (the tub is now safe for my bare feet to encounter), there seems to be a setback, like my washing machine not draining. I try not to let those get me down.

Thing is, I'm doing okay, really. A few weeks ago, Kristen called me about the home warranty. "Remember, we asked the seller to pay for it, and he agreed, up to $400...thing is, if we cover..." (this is where I forgot what she said about five minutes after the call) " will cost $470, so I made the decision on your behalf that you'd pay that $70 difference. I know you well enough to know you'll want that coverage."

"Oh, of course!" And I did, but like I said, five minutes after the call, something else grabbed my attention, and I forgot just what that $70 was covering.

On Tuesday, when my washing machine wouldn't drain, I sent a frantic text to Kristen: "Is it covered by the warranty?! I can't remember!" Kristen, being amazing, called me, pulled her car over to look it up on her iPad because I was at the condo and my paperwork was at home, and said, "Yes! It's covered--remember that extra $70?"

"I do remember."

"That's why your washing machine is covered."
Well Hallelujah and pass the potatoes. There's a weight off. The washing machine repairman called later that day, and he'll be out tomorrow to take a look at it.


I'm learning the most odd and amazing things, and sometimes it's seriously just trial, error, and Google. For example, I can buy a new stove, and anyone I buy it from is happy to install it, but they won't uninstall the old one. They'll haul it off, but they will not remove it from the gas line. 

So I called PG&E (that's Pacific Gas and Electric, for the non-local readers) and asked what I should do. They gave me this complicated spiel about how I can buy a special valve and cap at the hardware store and they can shut off my gas temporarily so I can put that cap on, then turn my gas back on so I have hot water even while I don't have a stove. 


Except...I've never done this and I need some serious help. Can PG&E put the valve on for me?

"Oh, no. We don't do that."

I was in tears this afternoon (for about five minutes), until I reached an electrician/plumber (not the water pipe kind of plumber, the gas kind) in Sacramento and explained my dilemma. 

"Oh, we can do that."

"Even in that tiny space of time I have with the gas turned off on Monday?"

"Sure! I've got it all set up for you."

If this had been an in-person conversation, I probably would have kissed him.

The bottom line in this mini-adventure is that I need a new stove and oven--the one I have is not only fucking filthy (pardon the language, but the former tenants bring it out in me), it's not working. I got cash at closing to buy a new one, so now it's just a matter of safely uninstalling the old while looking for a new.

Oh, and just in case you think I'm prone to exaggeration: 


I knew going into this that the place needed a deep, deep cleaning, fresh paint, and new floors. It's all worth it...but there have been some surprises along the way.

Surprises like random loose wires and an electrical outlet
in the master bedroom closet. 
But for every loose wire (turns out I could hook up an alarm system--Kristen had her boyfriend help me get it safely tucked in the walls, and he fixed a couple of faulty electrical outlets in the 2nd bedroom), or bit of guinea pig poop (yes) I find in a corner, there's usually a better surprise in store--like my ability to dismantle the poorly-installed closet shelving systems in both bedrooms with only my own badass muscles and one electric screwdriver. 

Never underestimate the power of Meg and power tools.

All that? GONE.
And if my physical strength isn't exactly surprising--I work out, you know--what is surprising is that aside from short moments of stress, I'm really just shoving my way through the minor setbacks and what is slooowwwwly emerging is a clean, cute condo that is going to look amazing when I'm finished with it. 

"You'll never be finished," Matt said yesterday, with a grin.

"You mean things will keep going wrong?!" I said, with maybe a small note of panic in my voice.

"Oh, no! I mean, you're always going to be wanting to improve little things, making it even better."

He's so right. Before too long, I won't need a map at Home Depot.

1 comment:

kleinwort said...

And, later, the little fix-er-upper things will be "can't wait to get to" rather than "one more thing in a daunting mountain of work." Congratulations, Meg!!! Enjoy your new home!