I have been a homeowner for two years.

As of this past May 1st, I’ve officially owned a home for two years and we’ve lived in it for that long as of June 1st. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in that time it’s that I am not a great gardener or, for that matter, lawn up-keeper. I have a bad tendency of mowing the lawn once the grass has gone to seed which means that so far this year I’ve mowed it a grand total of three times. The lady we bought the house from was amazing at it. For example, when she was here our back yard looked like this:

So luscious! So colorful!

Today, our back yard looks like this:

Well, it’s at least green. Fortunately weeds are green.

The area behind the tree used to look like this:

Tidy-tastic!

And today it looks like this:

The opposite of tidy-tastic!

It’s probably for the best that I apologized to the neighbors the first time I met them. At least with all the rain stuff is relatively green compared to last summer when both front and back yards had a distinct brownness thanks to grass that had gone dormant from the heat. The front yard is still recovering from that and there are areas that are more weed than grass. The little kidney shaped flower garden has also lain fallow since we arrived.

Truth is, neither Anne or I are in much shape to be out on our hands and knees pulling weeds nor do I think we have the requisite skills to keeps things looking quite as good as the previous owner. I keep looking around to see if I can find someone I could hire to help whip things into shape, but you have to have surplus budget for that sort of thing.

You’ll note the difference in height pre and post-mow.

So, for now, I will continue to at least try to keep the grass at a reasonable height. I’m also trying to spray weed killer on the stuff growing in the cracks of the driveway and sidewalk, but I think I might have bought weed food instead of weed killer as it doesn’t seem to be having any impact. Frankly, I’m just glad we’ve made it through the first couple of years with the house still intact. The yard, not so much, but the house is still standing.

Having a lawn teaches you how fucking tenacious life is.

I’ve never given two fucks about weeds before in my life. I pretty much took a live-and-let-live approach to weeds up until I bought our house and acquired a lawn that was meticulously taken care of. Now I feel compelled to at least make an attempt to kill every weed that dares attempt to establish a foothold within my property line.

So far this has been relatively easy because the lawn was pretty much absent of any and all weeds making the ones that do show up stand out like a sore thumb. Hey, that thing looks like something other than grass! Yoink! Hey! That thing is growing in the rock bed and it’s definitely not one of the bushes! Yoink!

The flower beds in the back aren’t quite so easy to distinguish what is a weed and what isn’t. Hey, that thing is big and doesn’t have flowers…. yet… but it also doesn’t have little prickly spines so… maybe yoink? The weeds are having much more success in the flower beds where they can blend in with other things that are tall and leafy.

It’s the ones that try to set up shop in the rock beds and in the cracks of the sidewalk that impress me the most. Two of the shittiest places to set up shop and these fuckers are popping up as though they had settled down in the richest of topsoil. Inevitably I seem to pull the same fucking weed from the same spot every week or two. It really is amazing how determined life — in the form of an unwanted plant — is to set up shop wherever it can.

Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park said “life, uh, finds a way” and, boy howdy, is that ever the truth. We’ve yet to find a location so hot or cold or acidic that there isn’t some form of life present. It may be simple bacteria, but they’re there and living the good life. So I suppose it’s the height of hubris for me to assume I’ll win my war against the weeds. Especially given my general lack of motivation and avoidance of the outdoors. Still, I am making an attempt even though I know it’s probably a losing battle. It helps that my next door neighbor, Sam, appears to have nothing to do all day but tend to his lawn so it looks like something out of Better Homes and Gardens thus shaming me into action. At this point, I’ll be happy if I manage not to kill off all the non-weed plants in my yard.

 

 

My last week as a renter.

I’ve been meaning to blog something and I kinda figured the Trump administration would provide me with something to talk about, but they’re spitting scandals and crises out so quickly that it’s hard to keep up with them all.

So let’s talk about my last week as a renter. We’ve been waiting to hear an ETA on when the lady who sold us our new home would be moving out on the assumption that she wouldn’t stay right up to the deadline, but it’s looking increasingly like she will so our currently scheduled move date is Tuesday the 30th. Which is probably fine as we’ve not even started packing yet. When we moved back to Canton I took the whole week off and we didn’t start packing until 3 days before the move so seeing as this coming weekend is a 3 day holiday that’s when we’ll get all the packing done. We’re gonna need a lot of the stuff we’ll be packing until right up to the end anyway. A good chunk of our stuff is still in boxes in the basement from the last move so that’s stuff we won’t have to worry about at least. I’ll probably start pulling books and DVDs/Blu-rays from the shelves after work during the week, but it won’t be a mad rush until Friday arrives.

We’ve started in on the new furniture buying though. Both Anne and I need new computer chairs and we found a couple on Amazon that will support our weight and should offer better support and Anne’s was on sale so we ordered them already. They should arrive at our apartment around Wednesday. I’ve also picked out a new computer desk from IKEA that isn’t really advertised as a computer desk, but tends to be very popular with computer geeks because it’s very wide. I’ve not bought it yet, but it’s on the pending list. We’re probably going to hit up some garage sales once we’ve moved in to find a bed frame for the guest room with boxspring and mattress to follow later. We’re debating whether to put the loveseat and recliner we have now in the living room or the basement. We’re going to end up with a couch and another chair in one of those two places eventually.

One thing I’ve learned is that everyone you know will take the opportunity of you buying your first house to unload extra furniture on you as soon as they hear about it. Which isn’t a complaint as there’s plenty we’re going to need. My mother is giving us her TV stand and a shelving unit she used to keep her stereo system on. My sister has offered us a table. Someone Anne knows at work is giving us a lawn mower and snowblower. They’re used, but they work and it’ll make for a couple less things we’ll need to worry about right away. No one has offered me a ladder yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens.

Needless to say, I’m both excited and nervous. I’ve technically been a homeowner for three weeks already, but it doesn’t really feel like it because we’re not actually moved in and I’ve not had to make a mortgage payment yet. I also have to confess to being a bit worried about the future. I’ll be 80 before my mortgage is paid off — assuming I don’t try to refinance it at some point and I don’t die before then — and I’ve got minimal retirement savings due to working as a contractor for most of my career, which means I’m going to have to stay employed at a decent job for as long as I can unless I get really lucky and win the lotto or something. I have no idea how I’m going to keep this home into my retirement years and it worries me, but I’m trying not to think about that too much.

For now, I’m trying to enjoy the fact that I have a new house I’m about to move into. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point and I probably should’ve done this years ago, but I got there eventually. For awhile there it seemed like it would always be just out of reach.