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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Miracle Grow

Keeping a house and yard up all on my own can be overwhelming sometimes. For those of you who have been to my house, you might be saying Kelly; it’s a pretty small house and yard. Shut it! It is, but it’s still a lot. Partly just from the psychological factor, if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. Despite the pressure to tackle everything at once, it’s still the best decision I’ve ever made. I have a space that is all mine. I have a space that feels safe and beautiful. I have a space that feels like home, my home. 

Every spring for 6 years now I’ve made the rounds outside to look at my humble abode and each year I find myself saying God, there must be things I’m supposed to be doing and I’m sure I just don’t know what they are. Please send me a sign before it falls down or I have to sell my ever-aging eggs to pay for repairs. To say that I was ignorant of what taking care of a house would entail is a gross understatement. When I ask people how they know so much about what needs to happen they say it just took time and they learned along the way. I’ve learned a lot along the way too, but I still have miles to go before I sleep. 

I do have a few nuggets of wisdom I would like to impart for anyone in the market for their first house or in the thick of an exciting new purchase.

  1.  If you do need work done always get at least three quotes. Your gut will tell you which one to go with and you’ll learn a lot about how to deal with different contractors. Some of them are really hot too, which is a total bonus.
  2. How in the hell can ants get in there?! They can. They can get anywhere. Kill them all I say. Have your home sprayed. You might get cancer, but at least your time on earth will be ant free.
  3.  A new coat of paint can fix anything.
  4. New or old, every house will need to have repairs and upgrades. It really irritates me when people say they don’t want an old house because of all of the maintenance costs. I believed this lie as well when I bought my house. Over the years I’ve known people with new construction who’ve had tons of expensive problems. If it’s made well it will last. If it’s made crappy it won’t. Crappy costs a whole hell of a lot more in the long run.
  5. The outside of a house needs to be cleaned. I kid you not, I didn’t know this. I thought you just painted it. PS who’s available to paint my porch and trim over the next couple weeks? Pretty please?:)
  6.  Read up on plants before you plant them. I don’t have a green thumb so my strategy was to plant things and hope they didn’t die. I’ve since learned shade plants go in the shade. Plants that like the sun need to go where the sun hits. Plants need to be fertilized. All of that Miracle Grow at Lowe’s isn’t just for decoration. Who knew?
  7. Date a guy who comes over and says I can help you mulch the backyard next week if you want? Don’t date a guy who comes over and says you really need to clean your fan.
  8.  There will be some things you just can’t do on your own. Some because you don’t know how and some because you just aren’t physically strong enough to do them. I made so many ridiculous scratches on my wall trying to hang a 75 lb. mirror myself. I could barely lift it but I was sure one more try and I’d get it. Calling a friend to come help meant it was up in 5 minutes minus the scratches.
  9. Bad stuff will happen. One day you’ll come home and your heat pump won’t turn on. Don’t worry, you’ll get it fixed.
  10. A house is a lot like any other relationship you’ll have in your life. If you wait until there’s a problem it will be too late. Do the little things every day, every week, every month that will produce a better outcome in the future. It might mean another hour until you can relax on the porch with a glass of wine, but you’ll thank yourself in the end. Maintenance = you care.

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