As i listed the things that changed since my last 10 steps , the second one was one of the major ones. I moved from a rented duplex/row home in a city area that i had lived in for 3 years to a cute little single dwelling in a small town .Sure it was only 2.3 miles away, but it made a world of difference.
Now, i loved living in the city, don’t get me wrong. I have lived in this particular one off & on since i was 15 years old and became emancipated. There are experiences you get in a city that you get no where else. For me, it was coming to terms with my prejudiced background, learning that there was more outside the dinky town i grew up in, and finally discovering the diversity and culture that i craved. In the meantime i also learned how strong , adaptable and able to survive i really was on my own.
Over the years i navigated back and forth to small towns, developments, trailer parks, and often back to that city. The last time i did, i created a space for poets, musicians, artists, and creative folk of all types. It was my life long dream finally coming to fruition.
But there was also violence, poverty, homelessness, and lack of parking. The large space we had indoors was compromised by the tiny, muddy yard, horrible parking space and crowded conditions- not to mention not-so-savory neighbors most of the time. There was a lot of traffic and people noise and once the fireworks laws changed it became unbearable.The final straw was an upsurge of gang related crime on our block.
So, starting in August of 2019 i began my search for a home of my own.On Halloween night, we ( my roommate and i) moved into our new place, breathing a sigh of relief. It wasn’t my first home- i’d owned 3 before. But i hadn’t owned one in over 10 years and i had never owned one without at least SOME help from another person. This was my baby. My statement of independence. My rising from the ashes. And, as any home owner knows- my next project.
I can say it hasn’t been a money pit like my first one.That one was in the city and i basically gutted it and re did the entirety of it right down to upgrading a 50 year old electrical system. I sold it for a profit, bought another, sold that when the market was right, made a profit and bought a beautiful brand new one with my husband in 2007. We divorced in 2012 and i have either lived with a partner or rented since. No, this house is in pretty good shape.
That doesn’t mean however there haven’t been downsides and struggles. Right away we had to have HVAC work down to maintain the heat evenly. The water has very little pressure and is ‘harder’ than in the city . The downstairs toilet pretty much had to be rebuilt because it ran non stop despite all our efforts. Learning how much the ultilities would average in all things took the entire year as we understood we could not use the ancient dishwasher ( quadrupled our water bill). We also now know we have a skunk infestation under the house which has been not only annoying but they have chewed through wires as well.
Additionally, as i am allergic to almost everything, the brand new carpeting had to go( and there’s still more to be removed). We needed an art studio space and so vinyl tile was put in its place ( thanks roomie!). My room is on a separate heating system so no central air( i have to use a window unit) and baseboard heat both of which cost more in electricity . And , we are located in the middle of a long hill which is kind of like a valley so the wind is insane. At the moment we are struggling with trying to even be able to sit on our front porch to smoke ( yeah, i know…shhhh) without being pummeled with icy blasts..
Phew-ok..so my step 2 this time around is- “Embracing Patience”. After the first few months i realized i was overwhelmed with debt. I had to buy a new refridgerator which i spent way too much on for one thing because the house didn’t come with one and i wanted to upgrade. Between that and the above mentioned issues my debt (not even considering the 30 year mortgage) was beyond what i had imagined. I knew it would take months of frugality and budgeting to get back to some semblance of comfort financially speaking.
At some point though, i also understood that while i might be able to manage this, it really wont ever end. And so many of the things i want or need to do ( theres electrical work, painting, and other appliances to replace to mention a few) and they just are not gonna happen as quickly as i want. My credit card bills are a see saw– i pay them down then rack them back up. And it’s not just the house but other emergencies like car repairs or replacing necessary items like my laptop that has added to this.
It’s been a bit over a year now, and a month or so ago i had to come to terms with the fact that my impatient nature was just going to have to be patient. Here’s how i cope:
1.I do my budget about every 2 weeks and re assess. I pay what i can and don’t splurge too much. We added a roommate in August so i do have a little more coming in.And when i get some Art sales it really helps.
2.i utilize as much free help as i can and i pay friends with certain skills ( like replacing siding that has blown off) who need the cash right now. I buy or repurpose items to avoid spending when i can.
3. I use as much of any extra income i get from art sales and OT to pay down credit cards and i have sold a few large items that i no longer needed.
4. i still treat myself every now & again to something fun. If you don’t do it once in awhile, you will find yourself hating life.
5. i take deep breaths, tell myself it will all work out , be ok and i will survive. I have upgraded my self care , even though it costs money because i cant afford NOT to.
6. But most of all, i still go over a mental list as often as possible of all my blessings. There truly are so many.
I doubt this little blurb has helped anyone this time around but it’s a touch stone for me anyway. It helped me so much last year to do it and looking back i still see it’s value. So here’s to another year in my beautiful, independently owned, not quite a mansion but comfortable home!
Mantra : “I’ll get there”