Home ownership is wonderful. And by wonderful, I mean terrible. And by terrible I mean wonderful. Maybe I should tell you what I mean.

It won’t come as a surprise to hear that when you buy a house it is surprising how much it entails. I’m still continually surprised and have owned (by which I mean the bank owns) a house for more than a decade. I envisioned “dust and vacuum” and a few other jobs. Here are just a few of the tasks that were previously not on my “things you do when you have a house” checklist:

  • Grab a screwdriver and a ladder so you can inspect the fake rock face of your house for mud wasp/hornet nests. These are easiest removed in the winter when the previous generation is dead and the next ones are still larva. After prying the nests off the house, don’t forget t sweep the mud and larva off your porch.
  • When you turn on an outside water spigot for the first time in the spring, don’t forget to make sure your basement isn’t flooding because someone left the hose on the spigot once in the middle of the winter.
  • Check to make sure your outside air conditioning unit isn’t tilted and hanging by the compressor line because the ground under it sank.
  • Check for mold in your bathroom, even if you live in an arid climate and run the bathroom vent fan.
  • In the spring, go buy bags of mulch to replace the mulch that blew away last year.
  • In the fall, when you mow the yard the last time, make sure to cut it short so you don’t find families of field mice the next spring making visible trails through your yard.
  • On the coldest day of winter, climb into your attic to make sure your upstairs heater’s condensation drain line heater (you read than right) hasn’t tripped the circuit causing the drain line to freeze causing your heater to not heat.
  • Readjust and align your doors because your house may have “settled.” (And you thought is was the people that settled in the house.)
  • You do know to clean the weep holes for your windows every year, right? Yeah, me neither.

A wise friend of mine once told me that once you get a house, Home Depot becomes your favorite place. Perhaps that means you’d rather live on a stack of mulch at Home Depot instead of having to care for your own home, but I’m assuming he was referring to the number of times you have to go to Home Depot to get a tool or some supply. Yes, I have gone to Home Depot three times in the same day. More than once.

I naively thought I’d just have to get a saw to cut things, some nails and duct tape to put things back together, and some light bulbs. Here are just a few of the tools and supplies that forced me to make an HD run:

  • Clamp
  • Bigger Clamp
  • Better Clamp
  • Water spigot
  • Caulk.  Did you know that there are at least 35 bazillion different types of caulk and sealants? And naturally you have to use the right one.
  • Paint that kills mold
  • Fertilizer spreader
  • Nail gun (that requires .22 charges to drive nails into concrete, making the “gun” aspect more real)
  • Hole cutter (saw don’t cut circles well)
  • Sheet metal shears (the stereotypical saw doesn’t cut sheet metal)
  • Left-cut metal sheers (the right-cut ones wouldn’t work for one task, now I have ambidextrous shears)
  • Field mice traps
  • Toilet bowl flapper valve
  • Another toilet bowl flapper valve (two weeks later)

And this is less than a fiftieth of what I’ve had to buy. there’s a reason that Home Depot is huge: It has to house a billion supplies that can only be used for one task that you need to do every 2.5 years. Why aren’t there more tools that can work for, say, 3 different jobs? I’m sure it is a conspiracy to keep the tool companies in business.

After you buy a bunch of tools, you need a place to store them. This means shelves in the garage, which means more tools and supplies to build the shelves in the garage.

I have learned that it certainly saves time to have the right tool for the job, but I just can’t believe how many jobs there are and how many “right tools” are required. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade for renting, even as the value of my house is falling faster than Middle East dictators. Maybe, just maybe, these terrible “adventures” are part of what makes this house a home.

-Mark

P.S. Leave your favorite house task or tool in the comments below!