Buy a House
Upon returning from our honeymoon, David and I realize that for the first time in almost a year, we don’t have a project. We flail about very briefly in panic like a couple of large bass on a catch and release fishing show before we come up with a new plan.
We start looking at those Resale Homes magazines that you can get for free at the Shoppers Drug Mart. It’s this nice little game we have. It’s called “Let’s Pretend.” Let’s pretend we are responsible adults. Let’s pretend that we have enough money for a down payment and can carry a mortgage.
We pore over magazines and think about where we would like to own OUR home. Do we want a house? Do we want a condo? A LOFT. Wouldn’t owning a loft be great? We could be like Laura Holt on Remington Steele with that great loft apartment with exposed brick and beautiful wooden beams. We could live in an old factory. It would be so romantic. And affordable. Because everyone knows that lofts are an affordable alternative to owning a house.
We enter the Candy Factory lofts showroom – filled with large windows and exposed brick and beams as far as the eye can see. We smile at one another knowing that we’ve come home. Then we look at the price sheet. For approximately 750 square feet of living space you have to part with approximately 400,000 dollars. Check out the security cameras from the Candy Factory Lofts right after David and I see the price sheet. You know that cartoon wolf whose eyes bug right out of his head when he sees the she wolf and he makes that noise that sounds something like AOOOOOOOOGA? That’s exactly what David and I look like before we run screaming from the building.
We go back to looking at the Resale Homes magazine and make a call to Betty, the agent. Two weeks later, after having seen 9 houses in total - thereby becoming true housing connoisseurs - we buy house number 4.
Why don’t you tell them what they’ve won Bob?
“Heather and David you have just spent the most money of your entire life on a two bedroom fixer upper with 'potential.' This home features small cramped rooms, sloping, gouged hardwood floors, a delightfully claustrophobic staircase to an uneven second story and a bathroom so small that only a toddler could find comfort in it!”
We take possession and spend the entire month renovating. We’re not just talking painting and wallpapering here. We’re talking major demolition. We open staircases replace bath fixtures, move walls. We get WAY dirtier than Bob Villa has ever been. The kind of dirty where you’re afraid to blow your nose at the end of the day.
We lay our own IKEA laminate flooring in the living and dining rooms. We take a weekend to do it. You have to pour some glue into each groove and then whack it into place with a hammer and this special groove shaped thingie that IKEA provides you with. First day, an hour into our operation, I whack my ring finger. Really hard. I don’t just whack it, I rip skin off it. Mindful of the fact that my Mother-in-law is there helping out I manage to say “Wow, that really hurts.”
I jump up and down a little bit and get a bandage and that’s that. It hurts, but I am above giving into the pain and a better person for it. The next day? Just as we are on our second to last row? I hit my middle finger, same hand. All the poise and grace that I had demonstrated the day before leaves me as I collapse into a heap on the floor, wailing and screaming and weeping screaming phrases like “JUST KILL ME!” David tries to help me up and I wriggle through his arms like a toddler still screaming, "I WANT TO DIE, OH GOD, PLEASE LET ME DIE!!!!"
It takes 4 months for my fingernails to lose their blackened ends. But you know what? It’s worth it. I look around our house and I know that pretty much everything, we did ourselves. We are creating our home. And we’re doing it from the inside out. And every time a person comes in and says “Wow, nice floor,” I have to smile and say “Yeah, it is.”