Some lessons in life we are cosmically doomed to repeat. For me, the issue is houses. Specifically, houses that fall apart. This time it is my very own.
Before we even moved to Ohio, we had our first homeowner’s claim. It was a whopper. The tiny plastic water line behind the fridge cracked and water spewed all over the wood kitchen floor, thereby ruining it. Fortunately, the leak was found within 36 hours by a man coming to fix our radon problem (radon in the ground is a naturally occurring phenom here in Ohio). We got the call while we were touring the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, a next to last hurrah for Things 2 & 3. A company was called in to suck out all of the water while we were inhaling Dutch pancakes and trying not to cry in public.
When we arrived in Ohio, we were greeted with half a kitchen floor ripped up, the horse shoe shaped nails sticking up all over the floor. The range and refrigerators were pulled into the middle of the kitchen. The front door had cracked with the excessive change in moisture in the house. The company that hoovered out all the water came back, upon my request, and removed the nails and replaced the appliances. When they replaced the fridge, they rolled over a set of wires that short circuited the fridge. It took me two weeks and two repairmen to fix it. My family clamored for me to get rid of it.
Then all the furniture from Spain arrived, 2 days before we left on vacation.
While we were on vacation the floors were replaced. AMEN.
In order to fix the floors, however, a desk had to be removed, leaving a hole in a wall in the kitchen. A set of cabinets floated in the wall above. What to do?
Well, nothing for awhile. I could not think of a good plan. I called in experts. And as I moved about my new/old kitchen I grew more and more irritated at the location of the old fridge, the bottom door of which blocks a set of drawers, making them unusable. The fridge itself, while working, was also too small for our family. One set of cabinets had not been set back all the way to the wall, creating a dark hole into which Tupperware is thrown because there is not enough storage. There is also no real pantry. (These are details, by the way, that I failed to consider when buying a house in a week. Don’t make my mistake).
In the meantime, Home Depot became my new BFF. Those ugly Las Vegasy light fixtures hanging over my island came from there and only cost $189 each. Plus $25 for a cheesy medallion on which to anchor them and make them look a whole lot more expensive.
Next week the kitchen mini remodel begins in earnest. I am not looking forward to the mess but at least someone else is doing the work.
Here are a few tips, for those interested, on a few things I’ve learned from my latest and very own crumbling castle:
- make sure you have a copper line behind your fridge, not plastic. The heat of the fridge’s motor warms up the plastic, drying it out, and causing it to crack.
- alternatively, if you are leaving your house for more than 24 hours, turn off all the water. You can also turn off the water to the fridge but in my case, that is somewhat of an ordeal.
- if you buy a house but do not move in right away, get a vacancy homeowner’s policy. Make sure you have a good insurance company. Mine was excellent!
- cruise the aisles of Home Depot or Lowe’s to see just what that granite, light fixture, or faucet costs.
- if you do not need to fix anything til you move in, don’t. Oversee it!
- if your appliance repair person is an idiot, fire him/her immediately. Then go get a good one (FYI, Mother, my ovens are fine) and put them in your speed dial.
- stripping wall paper from the mid 90s is a good idea.
- hire a professional to hang your art. This is literally a marriage saver! And if the person knows what they are doing, it will look a million times better. Trust me on this one.
- if your floors flood, and you are in town, find a floor man to come look at the mess before you call the company to suck out all the water, in the event you can wait that long.
- bank some patience because you will need it. You can put a refrigerator on a credit card but not your blood pressure. Moving and dealing with crumbling castles is not advisable in the same 12 month period. Just sayin’ .
The last point brings me to my conclusion. Why, oh why, do I have to deal with this issue every frickin’ time I move? The answer, for the time being, is pretty obvious: DON’T MOVE! Either that or become a contractor. Guess which one I am picking? I miss the Prado but Ohio is still fine by me.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HEIDIHO WHO IS ONE OF THE FEW TO HAVE SEEN THE MESS THAT IS MY CASTLE AND NOT JUDGE ME FOR IT!