My Indiana Home

Alright, enough about the mysteries, hardships, and annoyances of first-time home ownership. This morning is a great example of why I love my Indiana home.

This is the view from my kitchen table where I happily sit having tea, eating eggs, and reading the New York Times and Washington Post. All I can see are the lovely trees in the backyard, no highway, no neighbors, and no strip mall. All I can hear are the bugs and birds outside and The Queen as she lounges in the kitchen floor. Ah, quiet is pretty. And all this loveliness is mine.

I hope you are enjoying your Sunday morning.

 

Home Ownership Lesson #6

Curtains are dumb.

It is true, experts agree. By experts I mean Daisy, one of my Cosmic Sisters, and me.

Yes, I know that they are necessary. I, too, enjoy privacy. But honestly, I have an easier time selecting major pieces of furniture (sofas, tables, beds, you name it) and art than I do buying curtains.

The kind sellers of my new home left the curtain hardware in place, which saved me a fortune. Very nice. However, the curtains they left are not my favorite. The living room set were close to the right color but they were rigged-up and hung by white rope. Clearly handmade. Not good. I was able to repurpose the gold sheers from the bedroom as tolerable temporary curtains for the living room.

Since I have an internet addiction, I started online. I was looking for two 60×84 aubergine or deep purple opaque curtains. Simple? Sort of. I found many and zeroed in on a set from Sears. They were the right color, price, and there is a Sears down the road. Quick and easy. I tend to lack impulse control when it comes to these types of purchases, so I immediately went to Sears. I found what I thought was an great deal. Purple panels for $10 each. Who can beat that? I also snagged a set of tab-top sheers to go under the purple panels.

Mistake #1 – when buying curtains one should know what “tab-top” actually means. Apparently, I do not.  I thought the sheers were the kind you slide the rod through. No. Tab-top means that they have the loops hanging on top like a shower curtain. I should have called Mommy. Because I have an aversion to returning things to stores (I really really dislike doing it), I elected just to keep them since it did not affect the light entering my room and I was sure that the panels would hide the tabs. Fine.

Mistake #2 – the reason the panels were so cheap is because they were 60 inches long – not the 84 I needed. I did not find this out until I got one panel completely out of the package and on the rod. Having the white sheers hanging down below the panels was not a look I was going for, especially since the panels were not long enough to actually reach the window sill. Imagine Jethro Bodine’s high-water blue jeans as curtains. Fancy. I could not avoid returning these jewels. Of course, in order to do that I would have to get this panel folded up perfectly to get it back in the tiny little plastic zipper bag it came in. Nearly impossible. I got it in there but it was not pretty. I made sure to stack the unopened one on top of it. Fun times.

I should add that these curtain discoveries were made at 4:00 a.m. I could not sleep due to the unfortunate digestion of a Claritin-D at 10:00 p.m. So my desire to sleep coupled with the sinus attack I was taking the Claritin-D to cure probably added to my curtain frustration.

The next day after a couple cups of tea and some food I came to terms with returning the curtains. What else could I do? Then it occurred to me that I threw the receipt for them away at the Red Robin. I ate there after the purchase because I heard they had a g-free menu (they do, it is good). So, this increased my stress level. I already hate to return things and now what would I do when they wanted a receipt or told me that because it was a sale I could not return them. The anticipation was killing me.

I carted myself and my curtains back down to Sears. The nice lady at the register was an angel. She did not ask for a receipt, she paid no attention to the packaging, and gave me cash back. It was a short-lived victory. The celebration ended when I had to go back and do more shopping for curtains. Because, of course, the kind I bought originally are not available in the 84 inch length.

Decorating is not as fun as people what you to believe.

Sears did have more deep purple curtains ranging from $13 per panel to $50. I had to decide whether little swirly stitches were important enough to me to pay an extra  $37. That did not take long. I checked and double checked the color, style of the top, and length repeatedly between the rack and the check out. I was out the door $28 later. Happily these worked. They hid the tab-tops, are the right color, and length. Win.

Now I just have to find curtains for the living room and kitchen. Maybe I should just buy blinds?

Home Ownership Lesson #5

There will be mysteries.

I remember the day that I looked at my house for the first time. It was house number three for the day.

The house immediately before it was the same floor plan but a corner lot that exposed the entire backyard to everyone who drove by the house. I was not raised in a subdivision. My parents quite literally carved a house seat out of the side of a mountain in order to build my childhood home. Our road had one other house on it and it belongs to B & Daddy Pete. My Daddy and Daddy Pete lived across the road (a different road) from each other their entire childhoods until Daddy Pete went into the Navy and then Daddy went to college. But, soon after the Navy and college they resumed their normal locations. Across the road. Needless to say, I am not used to having neighbors much less having a backyard that total strangers (there are no strangers in the holler at home – we know everyone) can observe. So I passed on that house.

My house has a large backyard with mature trees and no neighbors to the rear – only two neighbors!  Then there is the screened in porch where I can sit and listen to the rain and look at the trees. I did not need much more encouragement. Although, the inside of the house was nice – fireplace, tile, hardwood, and surround sound. I was intrigued by the surround sound. The crafty sellers were wise enough to have the surround sound playing during the showing. And it was on NPR – that helped – I do enjoy some public radio. Every room has speakers, including the screened in porch. Very nice, especially since my laptop works overtime playing music all the time.

So, I make the deal, sign the papers, erect the fence, move in and set up housekeeping. During all this I assumed that I would find the surround sound controls. Seems reasonable that the controls would be obvious. I was wrong. To date, I have no idea exactly how to make sound come out of the surround sound speakers. There are little knobs in every room and tastefully recessed speakers but no obvious outlet, control panel, or plug-in for the system. After weeks of looking I thought I found it. There is a Honeywell panel in the closet. That must be it. When Donte from Comcast came to fire up the internet I asked him and he said, oh, no this is not for surround sound this is where al the telecommunications go. Wrong again.

I began to get desperate. I emailed my realtor.

My parents came for a visit after I moved in (they very kindly brought a bed from my house in Virginia and returned The Queen to her new kingdom). Daddy was bored, I don’t have cable, and needed a project so I suggested he find the surround sound. At this point I am somewhat embarrassed because this should not be this hard, right? Dad inspects. He notices an outlet near the cable hookup in the living room. The outlet has four wires sticking out – green, white, black, and red. Of course, I have no clue what these do and have avoided touching them. Always the 7th grade teacher (he did do that for 25 years), Dad says what do those look like? Oh, well, I guess they kind of look like the kind of wires you hook to speakers and the wires are the same colors as those that go into the back of the TV to connect video and audio from the DVD player. Bingo.

So, we think we have found them but neither of us have any idea how to actually connect a stereo or amplifier to the wires.

My realtor gets back to me with the phone number of the seller. This is so interesting/mysterious that she wants to know what I find out.

I have not gotten around to making that call. I wonder why they would bother taking my call. We’ll see. If they don’t help me (at least tell me where to go to get some geek to help me make this work) I guess I will hang Christmas ornaments from the wires and control knobs and call the speakers fancy decorations.

I never enjoyed mysteries.

Home Ownership Lesson #4

You will need to accept and/or ask for help.

I have been doing things myself for a long time. Even though I am the same baby that refused to walk because I had people for that – why walk when everyone carries me? I somehow went from happily depending on the arms of others for transportation to insisting on moving myself from my college apartment to downtown Richmond, Virginia when it was close to being the murder capital of the world. Mommy later complained that “I could have asked for help.” Honestly, it never occurred to me. I could do it myself.

Boyfriend #2 used to say that I am “independent to fault” because I wasn’t jealous and regularly told him that I needed a couple of days to myself. I thought he was over-reacting. Sometimes I prefer my own company, what’s the problem with that? I enjoy eating, going to the movies, shopping, and traveling alone from time to time. I have been told by people that those preferences are “weird,” “pathetic,” and “brave.” I just thought I was being normal? Sometimes a book, a movie, or NPR is all I need.

Not much has changed. I have rented apartments, traveled abroad, driven through the desert, chilled in Las Vegas, New York, and Chicago, and bought two cars myself. Most recently I bought a house by myself with some interest rate advice from a mentor and a chat with a few folks about realtors. Why not think that I can move into the new digs by myself? I thought I will hire movers to transport the furniture – even though the Family of Six offered to move me. Great plan? Two nights of pain, one doctor’s visit, two prescriptions, a sick day, and heating pad later – I realized this was not a great plan.

It started when I decided that I would move two night stands from Virginia to FW myself. Solid wood night stands with full drawers – no need to unpack them . . . waste of time. I unloaded these myself. The next day I woke up with a sore back. No big deal, right? I did some stretches and all was well. Next morning I had to keep my arbitrary schedule of moving things from my apartment to the new place (can you say OCD?) and was carrying a giant plastic container filled with clothes down the stairs. When I turned the corner into the garage I felt a sharp shooting pain in my lower back. That pain stayed without fading for the next three days. I spent a lot of time lying on the floor. Not good.

It turns out I need help.

Luckily I am extremely blessed with some homeownership angels who actually offer and expect friends to ask them for help. Shocking!  So, I have learned my lesson. I am letting the Family of Six help move some things, the Father of Six did all the prep for my painting and is cleaning the carpets, Sweet Chelle painted three rooms beautifully, Bob the Builder has recommended tree cutting services, and various others have provided muscle and advice. All I had to do was ask. What was so hard about that . . .

“How do I feel by the end of the day, Are you sad because you’re on your own, No I get by with a little help from my friends.”

John Lennon & Paul McCartney