So, we’re seven months into homeownership and still enjoying it. We’ve learned quite a few more lessons about owning and maintaining a home. And, of course, we learned them the hard way.

Always Double-Check the Paint Before Starting
On President’s Day weekend, I decided to paint the hallways between two of the bedrooms. It’s a fairly small hallway, and between all the doors and closets, I figured I had just enough paint left from the family room gallon and sample pint. Unfortunately, I ran out the main paint with 30 square feet left to go, and the pint turned out to be a different finish. It wasn’t supposed to be a different finish, but I didn’t realize at the time of the purchase that they’d given me semi-gloss rather than eggshell finish. So, I had to stop and wait until the morning when I could get to the paint store. Once I got a quart of paint, it took me all of 30 minutes to finish up. From now on, I will check the quantity of paint in the can BEFORE I start a project!

Gardeners Are Worth It
When we bought our house, the backyard was dead. We cleaned up the front yard ourselves and figured we’d get to the backyard eventually. Then came heavy winter rains. Suddenly weeds sprang up in the back. And not just any weeds. Fast-growing stalks with large leaves on top. We tried to cut them, but that only resulted in ugly sticks that still grew fast. Then, with my husband heading into surgery, we gave up. Fortunately, my neighbor sent his gardener over to see if we wanted to hire him. We did – at only $60 a month, it’s totally worth it to have someone else go into the back and pull up all those stalks. It’s the only way to get rid of them. It also saves us the trouble of buying a lawnmower and raking up leaves all fall. Yes, we could take care of it, but we’d rather put our energy into the parts of yard maintenance we like.

Power Tools Are Fun
I already had a drill and some tools, but I didn’t have everything I needed. After borrowing a circular saw from a co-worker for my window treatment projects,  I’ve decided that’s my next purchase. I have shelves and garden boxes to build. If anyone has an affordable circular saw recommendation, let me know. My co-worker has a Ryobi, which I was pretty pleased with, so I might get that.

Angie’s List Rocks
I was hesitant to join Angie’s List because it costs $35 a year. I figured I could find what I needed on Yelp. Except then I needed to hire a bee removal service, and I needed them fast. I couldn’t find anyone on Yelp, so I joined Angie’s List, and I’m so glad I did. They listed several local services complete with reviews that included prices. I called one company and they came to my house within an hour. It cost me $55 to have two abandoned wasp’s nests removed and the property sprayed. I already plan to use Angie’s List to find a carpenter for another project.

When Replacing Weather Stripping, Take a Sample to the Store
One of my projects was to replace the weather stripping in our French doors. I meant to bring a sample, but I forgot. The first problem was the underside of the doors, which have been shaved down. That meant that the rubber gutters couldn’t be attached. I explained the problem and the salesperson helped me figure out a solution that would keep out air gusts and worms that crawl inside when it’s too wet outside.

Then I had to figure out which kind I needed to go inside the doors. He showed me a few options, and I found a kerfed style that looked similar to what we had. I didn’t have a sample and didn’t want to come back, so I called my husband to describe it over the phone. I guessed right.

The next problem was cutting the weather stripping. The kerf is made out of hard plastic, which couldn’t be sawed through with a box cutter. I finally used a pair of pruners to cut through it, but I expect that wire cutters would have worked, too.

So far, we’re doing well. I’d still like to buy that new fridge and the rest of our furniture. But first I need to hire a carpenter and my husband needs to return to work. Then we’ll feel comfortable spending again.

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