This is my living room as of Friday evening, December 2nd. We’re removing the carpet and putting down some sweet hardwood laminate. Oh yeah, baby.
Oh, you can fuck off with that notion.
Gather ’round, kids, and I’ll let you know, quickly, what’s up; about two years ago, my wife and I bought the house we’d been renting for two years (and the story about that is another thing entirely, but whatever). First time I’ve ever lived anywhere without a landlord (I’m a renter’s kid, through and through), and, for two years, my wife and I coasted, blue-skying what we’d like to do…eventually. When you’re renting, time for maintenance is more…fluid, for lack of a better term; you have a problem that’s not due to you being an asshole, you call the landlord. That’s why you have a goddamned security deposit, man.
But, when you own the place? Time is not fluid. It’s ticking, motherfucker, and getting louder with each passing second.
First, the sliding door leading onto the patio. Why the hell anyone would want a sliding glass door in the first place is beyond me. I’ve never seen one that isn’t, in some part, fucked up and broken and–well, whaddaya know!–so was mine.
Problems with the patio itself to the extent that your wife freaks every time you’re leaning against the railing while you smoke a cigarette?
Fix that (and thank fuck for your father-in-law who showed you how).
Quickly the jobs piled up. You learn on the go and plead to whatever god you happen to believe in at that moment that your savings account continues to exist afterwards. Our realtor, an awesome woman named Charlotte (who, for the majority of her time with us, saw me in trashed jeans or shorts and stained tee-shirts and was absolutely–pleasantly–shocked when I walked into her office in a suit one day after I got off work, something I find hysterical), pointed out that the first rule of ownership was maintenance and my wife and I took her seriously, but I don’t think either of us really absorbed the depth of what she meant.
Which brings me to the carpet.
When the previous owners bought the house, they had plans on flipping it; they’d done this before (but, apparently, weren’t paying attention to the headwinds; they bought the damn place at an inflated cost just as the housing market was cratering). Now, if you’ve never watched one of those house-flipping shows that my sister-in-law is obsessed with, what most people miss is that all the “changes” flippers do to a house is–largely–cosmetic. Any houses with serious structural or internal issues get a pass because it cuts into profit margin.
Cosmetic changes mean slapping a coat of renter’s paint–white, low-grade–on the walls that aren’t kitchen or bathroom; replacing any aged or stained carpet with new, clean, cheap, industrial grade carpet. And that’s what our landlords did–a full four years before my family walked into their lives.
Another two years, with pets and a growing toddler, and that carpet was showing some serious wear, to the point that my wife and I were embarrassed to have people in the house.
So, we DIY’ed that motherfucker.
Except, we couldn’t. Not at first.
First, we wanted to do the stairs leading to the 2nd floor, then the closet on the landing, and then we could do the carpet in the living room without all the other work fucking up the new floors.
So, my wife DIY’ed it, and got started…
…and my wife, mid-tearing up the carpet, goes into one of her rare (but always hysterical) rants about DIY because, here’s the thing: most DIY pages are run by people who do this as more than a hobby. They’re either flippers or extremely fucking motivated and aren’t just learning their way like the numbfucks who happen to click onto their site from a Google search. Now, to be fair, they usually say this in their About pages, but who the hell’s clicking on that when all a person wants are simple, idiot-proof directions?
So, a job that, according to the various DIY-sites, takes, like, two days, took us about two weeks:
(To be fair: I deserve almost zero-credit for this; I pulled some staples and laid down some primer paint. My wife is a beast and I’m very much the hapless Igor that makes Marty Feldman in his iconic role look like Dr. Watson, if you’ll allow me to switch my references around.)
And now, nearly a month after we began, we’ve begun to work on the floor and I’m currently sitting on my red chair in the center of a room that either looks like the setting of a snuff-film or a house for hobos to frequent.
Oh, and we chose a laminate in the process of being discontinued. We’ve mixed and matched color-styles a bit, and we have no idea what we’re doing, and this is our weekend. Our dogs are confused. Our daughter’s enjoying the sound difference between the living room and the kitchen (which is crammed with our furniture).
I miss renting.
Cheers. And (help).