We have recently moved houses (and cities), and we are still settling into our new abode. It’s a bit of a chaotic time since we moved before our renovations were complete, so we are without a functioning kitchen until early next month, and though most of our washroom in the upstairs level is working, we still have to go downstairs in order to use a functioning sink. It’s a minor inconvenience but one that we are fine to live with since the move has brought with it many perks – a quieter neighborhood away from university students, a shorter commute to work for my fiancee, and a nice backyard for barbecuing in.
In moving out of a condominium and into a house, it has brought new layers of responsibility. Whereas before, our job was largely to ensure the unit was cared for (all things considered, a fairly minimal task), owning a house requires a fair amount of stewardship. It’s a balancing act of routine upkeep, preventative maintenance, problem auditing, and financial mindfulness that is well beyond what was required of us at our last place. For instance, in our old place, since it was a townhouse that was part of a condominium, all outdoor maintenance was taken care of by the condo’s management company. This included repairs, lawn care, snow removal, gutter cleaning, building upgrades, etc. Even things like water was handled though condo fees.
Now, all of those tasks fall to us, and more. In some cases, a lot more.
Last weekend, our air conditioner froze. Well, the A/C unit itself didn’t freeze, but the outdoor compressor and our interior coils above the furnace froze. When we called a technician to come out and take a look at things, we found out several fun surprises – our until was installed in 1982, we were currently running on half the amount of refrigerant that the unit required to operate, that the refrigerant our unit uses is harmful to the environment and will no longer be manufactured by 2020, and that getting a crew out to find the leak and fix everything was going to be very expensive. It was quite the house warming gift literally speaking, since the temperatures were up over 30 Celsius inside our house when the unit froze.
Did I mention that this happened the day after we moved in? In fact, we noticed the lack of cool air the morning after I accidentally punched a hole in the wall while trying to hang some privacy curtains in the bedroom.
I am not the most handy of people.
I’m not discouraged by the turn of events, though. Yes, it was an expensive way to kick off owning a new house, but the reality of it is that it’s a new house with new rules. Along with the fun that comes with redesigning the house to meet your vision, it also comes with the responsibility of taking care of things to ensure it lasts. Things will break down, unexpected costs will arise, and if you want the privilege of owning a house, you’re going to have to roll with the punches.