Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'll light the fire, you place the flowers in the vase

Thinking the past few days I’d rather be a renter than a homeowner. I enjoy watching the refund calculator add up positive when entering mortgage interest into Turbo Tax online, but I’m tethered to foundation.

And I’ve become more a chandelier swinging kind of gal.

I bought my tri-level townhome, the first and only, nearly 10 years ago. I was scared, nervous and so proud to make an investment on my own. When I was kid only the rich families actually owned a home, the rest of us rented their spares. But before the mortgage bubble burst, it was expected you bought, nearly everyone did.

"Renting?! BAH,” those in the know would spit. “Throwing your money away.”

But then the dishwasher springs a leak and fills pockets of linoleum with squishy bubbles (mostly air it turns out) and there’s no landlord to call to fix it, to replace a broken appliance. A sweet friend on the coast farthest from me said he’d get on a plane, come be my handyman. Pretty sure he was talking about the kitchen floor.

“I hate to talk myself of work”,” the mold guy who paid a visit yesterday afternoon said. "But I don’t see a big problem here." I could have kissed him, bless his decent, honest repair guy heart. Didn’t even charge for the trip out. He had lovely blue eyes. And a wedding band.

Although I’d rather run up a bill at Macy’s, I’ve changed how I’m looking at this unexpected expense, excited for the trip to Home Depot; after all the linoleum is old and sad and could use a spruce. Until the floor is pulled up, new put down and dishwasher from this decade installed, I have another few days of hand wash ahead. There’s something sweetly old school about washing dishes by hand, and damn if I don’t look sexy in yellow Playtex gloves (red heels and a flowered apron would take the scene over the top.)

And since I’m doing the kitchen and downstairs powder room, may as well venture to the master bath, throw down large grid black-and-white retro tile, maybe gray for a modern twist. Then of course new carpet, paint. Definitely replace the blinds.

Anyone know any local, single handymen? I tip well.

I’ve longed for months to move into a cute little bungalow in the cute little boutique neighborhood an 18 minute drive away, the one where I can walk to coffee in the morning and cocktails at night. The homes I can’t afford to buy, even if were to sell this one first. The difference between owning and renting is bit like married vs. dating. With one comes stable warmth and security, forgiving the cracks and leaks one must pay attention too before they become issues too large to spackle over. You can paint and renovate, redecorate should things become a bit dull. A swing set in the backyard more grounding than cement boots. A renter, like a serial dater, enjoys the freedom to explore, discover new places, new people and call on others to help clean up messes that occur.

Cozy and comfortable as I’ve made this home, I’m lonely in it. Few come in, there’s little to no room for company, the big bed too empty and meals cooked for one.

I’m ready to feed some more.

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