Confession: I’m writing this blog post in a fit of anger at my newly purchased fixer upper. The fact is that my first month of homeownership has NOT gone swimmingly… not even remotely. I’m not really sure why I thought it would go well, or every remotely bearable, but the truth is that nothing could have prepared me for what I’ve learned during these past 30 days. It’s a combination of stuff I wish people had told me (I probably wouldn’t have listened anyways) and personal limitations/hangups. My hope is that in sharing these things with you, I’ll feel less alone in this ridiculous struggle with a 1908 bungalow that I’m borderline convinced is trying to break my spirit (75% joking).
When it comes to home improvement, every single thing takes WAY longer than I ever could have known. I’ve been here for a month and STILL don’t have a new roof. Between waiting for overbooked roofers to give estimates and countless rainy days, the work hasn’t even started yet. I find this to be incredibly infuriating because if there’s one thing that was a major callout during my inspection, it was to put a new roof on ASAP. Then there’s my water heater shenanigan: in order to install a new one, I need to move my washer and dryer. In order to do that, I need a handyman to cut a load-bearing wall. Seriously, it is one thing after another.
Remember when I mentioned personal hangups? Well, here we go: when you own a house, you have to trust people. You just do… and I hate that. There’s no way for me to know that the roofers or plumbers aren’t lying to me. I’m not versed in this stuff, so I just sort of have to go with what they tell me, which feels insanely risky. It feels like a totally unbalanced relationship, but what else can I do?? I’ve read countless books about homeownership, googled everything, but still. I am not a plumber. The best I can do is select people based on reviews and cross my fingers. Ugh.
Let me tell you a story about a disastrous IKEA trip. I’m practically an IKEA pro: I could navigate the store in my sleep. I once needed a new mattress and some shelves and was in and out of the store within 30 minutes. I’m a beast at IKEA. Except when it came time for the obligatory I-just-moved-IKEA-run recently, I was totally paralyzed by indecision. I couldn’t even commit to a set of white shelves because I was worried that the shade of white was slightly too yellow (probably because of crappy store lighting). So I didn’t get ANY form of storage and I live in a house without a single closet. I walked out of the store with a garden pot and a curtain rod.
Something I’ve come to realize is that decisions feel heavier now that I own a home. Almost like they are more permanent. I’m here at least for the next few years, which means I’m not picking up and moving and shedding home decor pieces as I move, like I did as a renter. Instead, this is a space to truly make my own, to fill with what I love and only that. No pressure. Nope, none at all.
Speaking of pressure, my biggest struggle during this first month has been the comparison game. Because of what I do, it’s easy to slip into a game of comparing myself to other bloggers. I see everyone else’s Pinterest-perfect kitchens and hate my fixer upper tiled-covered-countertops and 1970s cabinets even more. The truth is that everything is brighter, shinier, happier on Pinterest and Instagram — no one else’s walls are hella crooked and no one else has a terrarium growing on their roof. That’s how it feels at least. It’s been so hard to remind myself to stick to my budget and my plan. I can’t just demo and remodel my kitchen right now, I simply can’t. So I have to make do… but that’s really freaking hard when I see everyone’s marble countertops.
This barely even scrapes the surface of how hard this month has been. So many of my quiet moments have consisted of me sitting on the edge of my bed with my head in my hands, crying. Asking myself what have I done. Is this normal? I have no idea. Maybe I’m just not cut out to own a fixer upper. It’s one month in and I’m so stressed out and don’t even feel like I can pick a new washer/dryer.
What do you guys think? Has this happened to you?
photos via Instagram.