27.3.11

Houses, Dollars and Deer! Oh, my!

Well, I would be slightly remiss to not acknowledge the amount of time that has elapsed since my last post. I agree it has been far too long since we’ve chatted. However, due to some ridiculous regulation, the state did not provide me with any access to the Internet during my brief stay with my friends. I’m sure in a future post I’ll be able to talk about what it’s like in a sweat box, but the parole officer was very direct in mentioning that I not publicly disclose any details of that… experience.

In any event, I’ve been warming up to life in my new home, which incidentally is different than my home last time we communed, dear reader. I’ve been moved into a nice house on a little hill in a quaint New England town. That’s right, due to some complicated legal maneuvering my wife and I were able to purchase a home during my absence. While we didn’t get too much time during the warmer months last year, I did enjoy being able to sit on the porch outside and drink some lemonade whilst not being forced to lookout for “the man.”

However, as I’m sure most of you know, home ownership isn’t all fun and games. There’s quite a bit of work involved to keeping everything functioning optimally, and looking pristine. There’s also, as you may have heard somewhere - or at least possibly concluded from noticing the patently offensive rate at which Home Depot and Lowes keep being erected – an enormous cost associated with owning a home. With respect to the latter, I figured that I could provide an insight into some of the things that we’ve been forced to spend in the first nine months of owning a house.

So, without further ado, here’s our top ten expenses on the house (arranged in order of least to most annoying.)

10. Shortly after moving in and realizing that we had a relatively large driveway, we purchased a snow blower. It was August – and they weren’t on sale yet. In our defense, we live in New England, and if there had been a Labor Day snowfall, we’d have looked pretty smart. There wasn’t – and we looked stupid.

9. We purchased a hose shortly after moving in, and enjoyed having the ability to pour water up to one hundred feet away from the house. However, a garden hose stream of water isn’t very effective, so we went back and purchased a nozzle, which gave us the ability to spray an additional thirty feet away. The neighbor seemed annoyed we were testing this out by shooting his house, but that’s his problem. After doing this, we realized that we needed a place to PUT the hose, so we went back and got a hose caddy. It wasn’t big enough, so we brought it back and got another hose caddy. It worked, until I hit it with the tractor, and broke it. I threw the hose under the deck.

8. Pesticides. I don’t believe in organic anything. I sprayed everything everywhere. Take that, nature! Let me take this opportunity to say publicly, that until I see a toxicology report, the fifteen deer that we found in our backyard died of exhaustion. You can tell because they were sweating profusely before they died.

7. Sprinkler system. It turns out that spending $1200 on an inground sprinkler system is great, if you don’t mind spending another $1200 in water for the summer. It’s a win-win situation!

6. Burglar alarm. Just because they sell you the system telling you it lowers your home insurance costs, doesn’t mean it will. Let’s just say that explaining to the insurance company why we decided to go with Shyster & Crook instead of ADT was a bit of a challenge, and they ended up raising our premiums.

5. Homeowner’s insurance. It’s been nine months and we haven’t had a fire or tornado yet! What a rip-off. I suppose we can kiss that $700 goodbye.

4. Mortgage payments. Let’s be very clear here – with all of these foreclosures happening, I keep wondering if we’re missing something. Is it not hip to pay the bill? Are we being dorky by submitting our $3498 each month? What don’t we know?

3. Property taxes. This wouldn’t bother me if someone from the town had come by to thank me or deliver some services to me. Instead they’re too busy paving the roads and teaching the stupid neighbor’s kids in school. What a freaking waste. Wake up, people! Serve the people that pay the bill! Kids don’t pay taxes! Duh!

2. Electricity. I know what you’re thinking: everyone has to pay an electric bill, even if they live in an apartment, and that’s completely true. However, here’s what you’re forgetting. You live in a house now, so you have to do things like run fifty thousand lights for Christmas, or run space heaters outside so you can use the porch in the winter. Also, without anyone yelling at you to keep the refrigerator door closed, we just leave it open all the time and that kind of luxury and convenience can be costly. The good news is that my credit card offers a great 30% rate on cash advances.

1. Heat. Oh, sweet baby elephants! Boy is heating your house expensive. When we got our first gas bill of the new year for January I couldn’t believe the cost! I almost fell out of my chair I was so angry about it. Can you believe those blood sucking maggots billed me for one hundred thirty five dollars!?!?! I didn’t even know what to do with it. I just stood there staring at the bill for at least fifteen minutes before I could breathe normally. Determined to never let it happen again, I called a local energy contractor, and he came in and gave me a quote to re-insulate the entire house (which was a bit messy, because he had to tear down most of the drywall and put it back up and repaint,) replace every window and door as well as upgrade our furnace to the most efficient model available. The best news was that we were able to borrow against the equity we had in our home, and the payments are only $466.37 for ten years! I’m really happy that we had all that work done, the next month our bill came in, and it was only $127. I’m glad we’re now saving money and being green!

Now, please understand that this list isn’t in any way exhaustive or complete. Indeed, there are a many mundane purchases that aren’t accounted for. I hope this helps you to understand just how stupid it is to buy a house. Of course you’re independently wealthy, so none of this applies to you; pursue the joy of homeownership with reckless abandon.

5 comments:

Kimberly Pye said...

I. Love. Your. Writing.

I'll forgive the extended absence this time. But don't let it happen again.

Danielle A. said...

MA Fish & Game stopped by this morning before I left the house. They'll be stopping by your office sometime today. I always wanted to know what a conjugal visit was like...

Steve Athanas said...

Kimberly: Thanks for being my first (and very possibly only) fan. I'm trying to get back in the habit. Less interestingly, I'm also contemplating a new technology blog, but the market is pretty saturated with that drivel at this point.

Danielle: Hey, leave the fallacies to me. The comments is a truth-only zone. :-)

Keith Spoores said...

Hehe, atleast your heat bills aren't $700+ a month, oh and that reinsulating thing... I'll be there come May. Did I mention re-building our roof and adding remote walls so our 2x4 studded house can have the correct amount of insulation it requires (a 55 degree home is quite cold during -50 degree weather, contrary to one's belief). Since the house will be gutted the electrical will be redone completely as I am always worried about a fire starting. Couldn't have been from the light in the garage that went up in smoke, smoldering... Good thing I was there! It also might be the lamp cord that drapes it's self along the outside of the walls to various light fixtures cobbled together with electrical tape as if it were speaker wire. Did I mention that since the house is being gutted we are redoing the kitchen and bathrooms and adding another full bath? Gotta have resale value! Needless to say we have a big backyard which is good and I am glad we brought the camper with us as the wife will get to camp for 3 months this summer. Atleast we were able to prepare Lowes had a deal where you could by a gift card and they would add 10% after March 18th, so we made an extra $1,400 and they also give us a military discount of 10% so atleast that is $2,800 in free money. First thing I can't wait to fix, the plexi-glass window someone figured would be ok in North Pole, Alaska! Atleast it could always be worse, ever see The Money Pit with Tom Hanks? Lol!

Steve Athanas said...

Man, Keith! You certainly have your hands full. Flip a house much?!