Wednesday, February 20, 2008

it seems to me that the first year of home ownership must be the most adventurous. it certainly has been for me. perhaps in years to come i will be met by adventure after adventure, but i somehow doubt that anything will be as interesting as this first year has been.

take the winter for example. how does one shut off the water to outside so that the pipes don't freeze? i have no idea. my dad was visiting in November, and he tried, but was unable to shut the valve he guessed was connected. so perhaps the pipes will still freeze & explode.

speaking of pipes... some of my pipes did freeze this winter. one particularly cold day, my roommate suddenly realized that the washer was not working properly. a few days later, the water was once again running smoothly. and then about a week later, both the hot and cold water pipes seemed to be frozen, and the dishwasher was no longer getting hot water. after that time, i started running the water occasionally through the washer & dishwasher, even when i wasn't actually washing something, just to make sure that the pipes weren't freezing. and then i investigated a little bit further & learned that the pipes run through a very cold closet. after opening the closet door, within 30 minutes the pipes had all unfrozen. and that's how i outsmarted the house and the freezing cold weather. score one for the newly minted homeowner.

and then there was the time when i decided to stay up late & put together a kitchen cart (with butcher block top--like adding an extra cabinet/island to the kitchen). so i opened it all up, got out the parts, and was going through them, when i discovered that they gave me an extra packet of one type of nuts & bolts, and failed to give me the allen wrench and the screws for the first part of the project. so i decided to go to the store to get some replacements. at this time of night (11 p.m.) there is not a hardware store open, so it was off to the regular grocery/all-in-one store.

do you know how many different kind of screws there are? and do you actually know how to figure out what 5/32 x 3/4 means? because i didn't, when i went to the store. i learned thereafter. i spent 1/2 an hour looking for screws. there were 5/32 x 2 inch screws, but those were too long. there were 8 x 3/4 screws, which were the right length, but without the appropriate head size. hmm... there were no 5/32 x 3/4. so then i thought some more, and approximated what i thought might work. and i got two different kinds--one the appropriate length & one a more comparable head size. but of course, being 11:00 p.m., i got the wrong number. so when i got home i had to use some of each. thankfully, they both worked fine. score another for the homeowner. except that a few hours later i also dropped the butcher block top on my foot. no worries though, i managed to get it together in the end.

if that is not enough, there's the adventure of snow and ice. i have quite a long sidewalk, and a driveway that goes up a hill into an alley. it's impossible to get up the hill unless you get a running start from the garage. and the garage door opener got lost the one time when my roommate ran into the garage door, so altogether the getting in & out of the house is always a good time.

ooh... and then there's the 28 year old hot water heater. still plugging away providing hot water for all. but what about that puddle underneath? is that a leak, or just condensation from the cold water as it gets heated up? the jury's still out on that one, but we think it's just condensation.

so there you go. winter home ownership at its best, at least for a newbie like me. and that's what's been keeping me busy.

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