Tuesday, March 09, 2004

This is not my beautiful house!

Note to Mike: I promised you an update last night, but the Internet connection that was working so beautifully when the cable guy was standing in my living room...is not. Sorry. Furtive at-work blogging...commence!)

I've settled into my new place, for the most part. I'm not completely unpacked--my Native American name is Lives With Boxes--but the physical transition of my belongings and my life from decrepit rental to My First Home is complete. I'm sore from all the toting and hauling; I'm covered in bruises from the waist down, from walking into the corners of boxes and randomly placed furniture...it looks like I've been in a prizefight with a toddler, or a midget. Sunday I actually transferred over the remaining stuff out of the fridge, and I bought some accompanying groceries last night, so now I am prepared to offer guests something more than leftover pizza, a single Coke, and Girl Scout cookies. (Thin Mints, of course--do you take me for a Philistine?)

When I started this whole first-time homebuying process, I tended to see each experience as a significant milestone: My First Meeting with the Agent, My First Open House, My First Horrified Recoil at How Much Hovel You Can Buy For $290,000. When I signed the first page of my loan pre-approval package, my heart was pounding wildly; I thought, "I'm doing it! I'm signing! I'm doing it!" After the first dozen pages, the excitement began to wane. After the subsequent bids on two houses, inspection reports, addendums, actual factual loan applications, and closing on my 1942 2-bedroom Cape Cod, my signature is a senseless scrawl that will probably never recover. At the closing itself, I must have signed or initialed 100 times--the document that says you'll live in the house, the document that references that document, the document confirming receipt of those documents, the document attesting to your awareness that gnawing on your vintage windowsills might cause you dain bramage and it's your own damn fault. I lost sight of those keepsake moments, a little.

But moving in has brought it all back. Saturday night, I performed My First Home Repair when I went to close the stopper in the bathroom sink and the whole drain-lever-mechanism-thingy came off in my hand with a metallic zzzzink. Oookay...so I lay on the floor with my head in the cabinet and proudly figured out what to reattach to what. Yay, me!

At 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning, I awoke to My Second Home Repair, sort of. It was pouring outside, and the newly installed downspout just outside the wall I'd put the head of the bed against...is not entirely perpendicular to Earth. Instead of smoothly trickling down the pipe, rain was falling from some high point in the spout and hitting the interior at an angle of juuuusst...five or...six...degrees.

It was REALLY raining. And the raindrops were REALLY hitting. Bong bong BONGabong bing BONGA bongbongbong bing bong, just above my pillow. It sounded like a drum circle at the Folklife Festival. You could almost smell the Patchouli. To my glamorous 16-year-old college nightshirt, I added sweatpants, my glasses, Converse high-tops and a ski jacket, and slogged blearily outside where, in the blackness, I confirmed that the noise was coming from the pipe. What to do? It was the wee hours on a Sunday. I was in my jammies. My downspout--or my house--were minutely askew. This suggested a need for tools. I trudged back in to bed.

Bong bongbongbong BONG BONGA bong. Tossing, turning, anguish, buyer's remorse...until I remembered the earplugs in the nightstand, from two noisy apartments ago. I squished the little orange foam bullets into my ears, listened to them gradually reexpand and muffle the world down to only my own heartbeat. Silence! Problem solved!

This home ownership thing is gonna be a snap.

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