On April 30th of this year – 4 month ago already – I purchased a house. In another post at another time I’ll write why I bought a house. Today, however, the purpose of this update is to provide some commentary on the very real, tangible benefits that I’m enjoying now that I live in a home I call my own.
- The Overall Setting. More than anything else, I like the setting of my new home and the layout of the structure. In truth, the “setting” of the new house isn’t that much different than the old house. It’s still a townhouse and it’s still in the same development. However, where my old rental used to be an end unit right on the major road going through this development, my new home is the second to last unit in the building and I like that better. In addition, the new place is situated far off of the main road and at the end of a cul-de-sac. It’s much quieter than my previous place, which brings me to my next point.
- Kids… Kids All Over! Look, I’m a fan of kids getting up off their butts, getting out of the house, and running around outside playing. How many more studies do we have to read talking about childhood obesity dooming future generations? When it comes to kids and their health, I think that video games have generally done us wrong as a society. And you might be reading these comments thinking, “What’s the point here, Joe?” Well, the point is that the kids who used to live on my old block were not obese because they were constantly outside playing! And it was annoying!
Let me be clear, though – I’m not contradicting myself with this statement. Yes, the kids who lived on my old block were outside playing and getting their energy out in a healthy and productive way. The issue was that they were always outside and they had that weird thing that kids have in their heads that tells them it’s okay to scream at the top of their lungs any time they’re outside of their houses. That includes the minute that the step off of the bus in the afternoon and, more importantly, the few minutes that they spend waiting for the bus every morning. I don’t have any kids, but I can tell you that the school bus stops on my old street (directly in front of my old end unit, by the way) at 7:57am every morning. I know that time because that’s when the morning screaming would end (and, presumably, start up again on the school bus, but who knows). Suffice to say that one of the best parts of the new house is that there aren’t that many screeching kids running around on my end of the block. It’s… peaceful.
- Arrogant, Entitled People. Everyone has a version of this story. You know how the story goes: you live in a small neighborhood or on a block where the neighbors all know each other and there’s always that one neighbor. The one who thinks that they are entitled to something a little bit more than the rest. On the block where my old rental unit is located that person lived on the other end of the street. How did her entitlement manifest itself? In general, she believed that she was more important than anyone else. The best example I can give was during one of the major snowstorms that we had a few years ago. Everyone who lived on our side of the block moved their cars to visitor parking so that the snow plows could come through and clear out our spots. That process worked well until Madam Entitlement moved her car into our spots (I write “our” spots because at the time I had roommates)! We left a note on her car asking her not to do that because we needed our spots cleared out as much as she needed hers cleared out. Of course, like the Empress of the Street that she believed herself to be, she left a note back to us explaining that we don’t own those spots and that she has important work to do and needs access to the main road.
I was waiting to read the line in her note saying, “And in case you were wondering, the answer is yes – my feces do smell like the Queen’s roses.” That’s how full of it that woman was – and still is, I’m sure. Getting away from a self-absorbed, self-obsessed fool like that was an added bonus for my move.
- People With Too Much Free Time.
- The New Place Is Newer! This may seem a little obvious, but the new place is newer than my old rental. It was built almost 20 years after the townhouse that I was renting was built. That means that I have different, better perks over here than I had in the old place. For example, while the old place had one assigned parking spot, my new house has a garage with a driveway that I park in. Another example – the old place had a standard, wood burning fireplace that worked relatively well, but was a filthy mess to clean up. The new place has a gas fireplace. It’s incredible.
- It’s Mine! It’s pretty cool that I own this place. And yes, I understand that I own everything on the inside of the townhouse and my homeowners’ association owns everything outside of the walls. I’m cool with that arrangement because I get to customize the inside of this place and make it my own. And that’s just what I’ve been doing since I moved in. For example, I’m writing this blog entry from my new home office and I’m putting this office together the way that I want. Before I came upstairs to write in this office, I was downstairs in my living room that is furnished with brand new furniture that I bought and sits in a room with walls that I painted with colors that I chose (okay, my designer chose the colors – I just approved them). When you’ve rented for the better part of the last 15 years, having the freedom and mobility to do whatever you want inside of your own home is pretty great.
A closely related type of neighbor to the entitled kind is the neighbor who just has a little bit too much free time on their hands. Granted, I didn’t have many of these folks living on the old block. There was one person, though, who seemed to fit this bill. Whenever there was a bad snowstorm or whenever we had the parking area repaved and had to park on the main road for a few days, she would stand outside of her house and encourage people to call the homeowners’ association to complain. I don’t have a great deal of angst or anger towards someone like that, but I do think that they need to understand reality a little bit better. What constitutes a major crisis in their eyes may just be a minor inconvenience in my eyes. In fact, it may not be a problem at all in the eyes of someone else. It’s all a matter of perspective and people with too much time on their hands have a very bizarre perspective sometimes.
There you have it – 6 reasons why I’m glad to live in a house I call my own. In the future I’ll write about the financial impact of the purchase and why last spring was the right time to buy for me. Stay tuned!