Impact of Owing A House

On my way home from the library yesterday, I passed the hardware store and exchanged a few words with the workers who were outside taking a break. When I continued on, it dawned on me that owning a house has had some odd impacts on my life, including this one. I had never before been on a first name basis with any hardware store employee. Nor has any hardware store employee ever known where I lived. One of the workers lives around the corner from me, but that’s just a coincidence. Mostly they know me because of deliveries they have made to my house.

I’m also on a first name basis with contractors and other laborers.

Those aren’t the only impacts on my life because of home ownership, they are just the ones that got me to thinking. Some of the changes to my life since moving here would be the same whether I owned or rented, such as a library within a few blocks, easy access to a grocery store, and nice neighbors. I tend to think the neighbors are a bit nicer to me because I own the house; after all, if I own, I am one of them and will be around for a long time if everything goes as planned. Also, I’ll take care of my property unlike most of the renters around here.

The most basic impact is a feeling of being at home. As long as Jeff and I were together, I always felt at home because as long as we were together, that was my home. After he died, I tried to find a sense of home in myself, and mostly succeeded. Oddly, until now, the feeling of being at home was strongest when I was camping in a national park because to a certain extent, the parks belong to me (to all of us), and when I paid my camping fee, that small plot of land was specifically mine for the nights I stayed there.

Almost as important as a feeling of being at home is peace of mind. For almost the entire decade after Jeff died, I was unsettled and uncertain. I often brooded about what I wanted, where I wanted to move, where I could afford to live, how to start over. That last point was a major one, because truly, how does one start their life from scratch? Well, I’ve done it — started my new life — so I don’t have to think about that anymore. Nor do I have to think about where to go because I’m here. And, since I’m working, I don’t have to worry how to pay for this new life.

Also, for the first time in a decade, I don’t think about what I have to get rid of. I got rid of a huge amount of stuff after Jeff died, and then again before I moved my things into storage after my father died, and yet again before I moved here. Even though the current philosophy seems to be that if you haven’t used something in a year, you should get rid of it, I don’t subscribe to that idea any more. I’ve gotten rid of so many things over the years I needed to repurchase, that as long as I have space, I might as well keep what I have. Obviously, as time goes on and I reach my expiration date, I’ll have to get rid of almost everything so no one will have the huge chore of sorting through my stuff when I’m gone, but until them, everything I own has a place. After the huge increase in possessions when I bought this house and furnished it as well as adding a garage, I’ve made no major additions to my possessions. Well, there are all the outside things I’m doing — the landscaping and plants and such — but those aren’t really possessions, they are simply additions to the property that will remain in place.

Having a permanent address is another benefit of owning my house since I won’t have to change the address until . . . well, until I have to because of age or whatever.

I’m sure there many other ways that home ownership has affected my life but they don’t come to mind at the moment. What does come to mind, however, is the thought — still so surprising to me — of how much I love owning my own home. I can feel it wrap around me like a well-worn and comfortable garment. Any place I’ve lived in the past was simply a place to park myself, but owning a house makes me feel as if I have a partner in life, as if the house and I are in this together. I take care of it, and so far, it has taken care of me.

And yes, I am exceedingly grateful for this blessing.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

Happy House Anniversary to Me!

Today is the second anniversary of my being a home owner. The anniversary of when I first saw the house won’t be for another couple of days and will require yet another celebration. Today, though, is about the house.

I bought the house sight unseen, though I had viewed photos online. Oddly, I didn’t particularly care one way or the other about the outside of the house, though people who saw the photos all told me how cute it was and how it looked like me. I was more interested in the new kitchen, the walk-in shower with hand bars, the plethora of windows. Despite that, I have been eminently pleased with the house itself — the spooky basement and the now defunct garage not so much, but both those disappointments have been turned into . . . whatever the opposite of disappointment is. It should be “appointment,” shouldn’t it? Since it’s not, I’ll have to go with “satisfaction.”

Though the basement still needs some work, mostly cosmetic, such as paint, it’s not the spooky place it was at the beginning. If I had known I would only go down those stairs a few times a year to replace the furnace filter, I might not have gone to the expense, but it still makes me feel good to know it’s just a basement, not a horror show.

And the new garage, of course, is wonderful, functional, and attractive. It certainly adds to the joy of home ownership.

I never wanted to own a house. It seemed too much of a responsibility. The first time I ever saw the possibilities in owning a place was when I visited my sister a few years ago. Her house is a delight, with art and artifacts and artful displays wherever I would look. But even so, I didn’t want to own, which was good since there was no way I could ever have afforded to buy a place. At least, not then. The years passed and, as luck would have it, a house showed up in my life.

It has all worked out so much better than I could ever have imagined. Not only do I love my house, I love owning it. It makes me feel good, as if I were wearing a warm cloak on a cold day.

Adding to the luck, the town that came with the house has been a good place for me, complete with a nearby library . . . and friends.

There were several very long years where I thought I would never be happy again. There were other times I knew something wonderful would be in my future — since the universe is balance, I figured only something really special could offset the pain of losing Jeff and the horror of grief.

In twenty days, it will be eleven years that he’s been gone, and not only did I find happiness again, I found the “something wonderful.”

Last year, on the first anniversary, a friend wrote, “Happy house anniversary, Pat. And happy Pat anniversary, house. You make a great couple! Perfect together.” And we are perfect together. Other people sometimes suffer a bout of buyer’s remorse, but not me. I knew this was my house from the first time I saw photos of the place on the real estate site.

So today, I celebrate me and the house. Together.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

Celebrating My House

Today is the first anniversary of my being a house owner. The anniversary of when I first saw the house won’t be for another couple of days and will require yet another celebration. Today, though, is about the house.

I bought the house sight unseen, though I had seen photos.  I have been eminently pleased with the house itself — the spooky basement and the now defunct garage not so much, but both those disappointments are being turned into . . . whatever the opposite of disappointment is. Satisfaction, I think. It should be “appointment,” shouldn’t it? But I’ll stick with satisfaction for now.

I never wanted to own a house. It seemed too much of a responsibility. The first time I ever saw the possibilities in owning a place was when I visited my sister a few years ago. Her house is a delight, with art and artifacts and artful displays wherever I would look. But even so, I didn’t want to own, which was good since there was no way I could ever have afforded to buy a place. At least, not then. The years passed and, as luck would have it, a house showed up in my life.

When my brother first broached the subject of my buying a place, I didn’t immediately shrug it off as I normally would. I knew I needed to do something to situate myself for my old age, and since it didn’t matter where I lived, I went where the house was.

And what a joy! Not only do I love my house, I love owning it. It makes me feel good, as if I were wearing a warm cloak on a cold day.

Adding to the luck, the town that came with the house has been a good place for me, complete with a nearby library . . . and friends.

A couple of those friends brought me flowers today to help me celebrate.

They stayed for tea and cakes served on a gorgeous new plate from my sister.

There were several very long years where I thought I would never be happy again. There were other times I knew something wonderful would be in my future — since the universe is balance, I figured only something really special could offset the pain of losing Jeff and the horror of grief.

In twenty days, it will be ten years that he’s been gone, and not only did I find happiness again, I found the “something wonderful.”

And so today, I celebrate my house.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator