Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What Up, Ya'll?

I've been in communicado lately, as I'm sure you (maybe?) noticed. Partly because of the crater in my head, partly due to home improvement work. Both projects have resulted in scars of one sort or another, but mostly prevented me from being able to think coherently.

Oh, by "crater in my head," I mean the aftermath of an ill-fated root canal/crown combo. The crowns (yes, there were two attempts) wouldn't stay put, which means I'll eventually need to get a tooth implant. I didn't think I'd need fake parts until much later in life. Sigh.

I can only imagine what the oral surgeon had to do to scrape my head clean of toothy bits left behind by the root canal, but my jaw is STILL sore. This little procedure took place 10 days ago. Mix in with that the guilt that I feel about taking pain medication, and I'm sure I have been a joy to live with during my recovery period. Why am I guilty about pain medication? There's a wee history of addiction in my family. I've never been one of those afflicted, but every time I take a prescription pain killer, I wonder if somehow this will be the gateway pill to "Intervention." It's kind of irrational, I know, but it's still there. As Super Ninja points out, though, I'm 33 years old and the likelihood that I'm going to jump on the addiction bandwagon at this point in my life is slight.

As for the other craters in my life... Faithful readers of LtW will know that I've been yearning to do some home improvement forever, and little problems like ignorance and lack of funding have proved to be impediments. I hate admitting I don't know something or can't figure it out, and I hate spending money that I don't have. I'm growing as a person, though, and sucked it up and asked for help from my neighbor. He's a general contractor, so he's stuffed with knowledge about things like replacing toilets. I never thought I would be excited by knowing how to replace a toilet, or marvelling at the efficiency of low-flow technology, but there it is. Also, Super Ninja got bit of a bonus from work, so we had some money to invest in the improvements.

The end result of this new knowledge and little lump of cash are some half-done projects. My powder room has a new vanity, but the taps aren't connected to the water supply because I didn't realize that the new sink sat higher than the old one (oops). My basement has new flush mount light fixtures, but because of random extra wires, one of them doesn't light up.* (Black connects to black, white connects to white, but red connects to...what does red connect to? THERE IS NO RED WIRE ON THE FIXTURE.) Also, I ripped out all of the baseboards so that I could replace the godawful flooring on my first floor. (I mean, really. WHO installs faux pine laminate next to real oak hardwood floors, and installs it so that the grain runs perpendicular to each other? A jerk, that's who.)

Once I have some after pictures, I will post them for your entertainment.

Why do all of this work? Well, Super Ninja and I intend to move next year. Intended, 'til the economy took a header.

Given the way housing prices skyrocketed after we'd bought the place in 2004, I wasn't really bothered about investing in home improvement because I knew I'd still make a decent profit. I knew work needed to be done, though, because the home inspector said that the house "has good bones." This is code for, "the structure is solid, but yeesh, it's outdated. And in some places, very ugly." At that time we did some basic stuff to beautify a bit -- painted, installed new carpet, replaced some windows -- but nothing major.

Why bother, I thought? If you bought the house for X, and houses in your neighborhood are selling for X + $115,000, you can take the hit if someone talks you down to say, X + $100,000 when you sell the place, right? And even houses that need improvement sell within 90 days, right?

Not so much any more. Either the selling price, or the speed in which the houses sell. UNLESS you have a house that a buyer can look at and say, "Sweet, I don't have to do anything to it." I'm not expecting to sell the joint for the song that I once could have. Mostly, though, I don't want to be in selling limbo. If someone wants to hurl wads of money at me, that'll be fine, but I'm not planning on it. Besides, if the place doesn't sell, or would only sell at a sincerely lower price than what we'd need, we can stay put and enjoy all of the lovely improvements. Win-win, no?

*I know how to fix this now, courtesy of the internets. Thanks internets!

No comments: