Sunday, March 15, 2009

THE TIME WE BOUGHT A HOUSE IN THE SUBURBS...



So we moved to the suburbs about a year ago. Thought we were ready to settle down, bought a big house in a prestigious neighborhood right next to the train tracks, so that we would have easy commute to Manhattan where we both work, and moved in.


I guess I had read too many home design magazines and watched too many design shows at HGTV that I had this imaginary idea how life would be. It would be just as picture perfect. WRONG! It was not so romantic and wonderful as you see on House Hunters. Of course for a moment, after the closing was over and we were driving to pick up the keys from the realtors office, pulling to our own driveway and opening the door to the house, there was a moment when we looked at each other and gave each other a hug and said we can't believe it's ours. But walking around the house got us both think how much work we had ahead of us.


We moved in the middle of December and it all started so well. We hired moving company to help us out, got a contractor who owed us a favor to refinish our hardwood floors on all three floors for no charge (real price would have been $9000, so thank you connections!) and I took off a week from work in order to clean, unpack and furnish the house.

And of course I wanted time to get to know the neighborhood. All these beautiful historic victorian and colonial houses with huge lemonade porches and manicured lawns, tree lined streets and cute little stores and restaurants. Oh, and all that space you have! Not to forget your own private garden oasis to sunbath, grow your own cooking herbs, fresh flowers, have barbeques and so on. Doesn't that sound just lovely?

Well, the reality hit few weeks later. Our heat suddenly stopped working in the middle of January during the coldest time of the winter. We had no clue what to do. We almost blew up our entire house and ourselves by trying to light the gas boiler with matches. We were so desperate. Our house was freezing. I did not want to get out of the bed or go to shower. I took few days off from work again until we called someone to come and take a look at the boiler.

First dude spoke with Russian accent and told us the boiler was caput, they could not fix it. But they could get us a new one the next day and yes, we could get on a payment plan. I did not get a good vibe from him, so I said we would call him the next day. Didn't.

Next step was to blame it on our electricity and gas supplier and known for their prompt service, someone from them came over the very next day to look at our problem.


It was very simple solution. Some tiny wire had disconnected itself and once the dude reconnected it, the boiler fired up. And he didn't even charge us anything. Now we know. It took over 2 days for the whole house to heat up back to comfortable level. And we bought programmable thermostat to control the heating in order to conserve energy.



Second unpleasant thing to notice was how much time it took to clean the house. I spent weekends just cleaning and cleaning and cleaning some more. 4 levels, 4 bathrooms, tons of windows and windowsills, stairs, hardwood, carpeting, rugs... Way too much for one person (because my husband would not clean... He would only do laundry, cook and do the dishes. He wanted to hire someone to do the cleaning, but I wanted to save money and do it myself... So I did). So goodbye for weekends dedicated for relaxation.



Although I do enjoy the benefits of the house as well. Sometimes I just need to stop and look around and remember that this is all mine. And all the possibilities it offers.

.So far we've got the hardwood floors refinished and we re-did our first floor powder room. I took out the old wallpaper (what a pain), painted at least 3 coats of yellow, changed the toilet bowl, changed the sink, faucet and the cabinet, bought new medicine cabinet with mirror and all new hardware (towel holder, toilet paper holder, switch plates). Only art is missing. I already got 2 white frames, just need to put some art in it. But I'm working on it, taking some artistic photos around the house.
So we still got long list to go through, starting with these first: 1. Upgrading our electric panel and service 2. Installing central air conditioning 3. Renovating the master bath 4. Renovating the kitchen.



These photos were taken during an early spring jogging around the neighborhood. I love combining these two hobbies, jogging and photography.
Have a beautiful day!

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