Lessons from homeownership, Vol. 2

Heating an old house isn’t cheap. I mean, really. And my house only goes back to the ’50s, so it’s not that old, but it is kind of drafty. And I made the mistake of setting up auto-pay for my natural gas bills, so at some point each month, it hurts … until we get back to around May or so, when it gets to cheap again.

Don’t buy a house with a big tree in the backyard. Because this could happen:

We had had a couple of very windy days in the area. My tree had gotten through the worse first day without too much trouble, but the second day, I wasn’t so lucky. I got home from work and noticed a few branches sitting in my driveway. That’s not a big deal; it had been windy, after all. I got out of my car and picked up the branches, going to throw them into my yard over the fence. Then I actually looked over the fence and saw the downed branch. It was a pretty big sucker — 15 to 20 feet, off the main trunk, with a whole bunch of branches coming off it.

But I got very, very lucky. It missed the nearby wires. It didn’t damage the roof. And it could fairly easily be taken apart, which my dad and I did the day after:

The next step was to call the tree doctor, as there are many broken branches left on my tree. I also asked, since the tree is probably on its last legs, how much it would cost to get rid of the tree.


Eep. I, um, don’t really have that.

So. Much. Shoveling. We have had an insanely snowy winter. In fact, it’s snowing right now as I write this, and I don’t want to go out for at least the 20th time and shovel. The good news is that I’ve become very good at shoveling. The bad news is that I don’t. Want. To. Do. It. Anymore. Even if the driveway looks nice when I’m done:

But despite all the hassles and problems, I still like being a homeowner. I like having people over. I like having all this space to myself and no landlord to put up with. I like the freedom I have. I don’t mind the responsibility.

So if I had it to do all over again, you bet I would. It may be a lot of work, but c’est la vie. It’s something I take pride in every day.


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