Today is a bit of a rant about home ownership.
Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful to have a nice house in which I plan to live for many years. I wish Rick was still here, but since he is not, I appreciate the solitude within my home. I do not, however, enjoy maintaining the physical structure and landscaping.
Last year I developed a calendar of planned maintenance activities, such as shrub trimming, window washing, and mulch freshening. I was proud of my documentation, but as this year has gone by I have seen my specificity is not realistic. Sometimes more needs to be done and so far I haven’t seen where less will suffice. And then there’s the inevitability of unforeseen or unfortunate issues.
I’ve had a water leak for some time.
This is not just a practical and monetary problem, it is emotional as well. Years and years ago I bought my first home on my own – a townhome on a cement slab. My dog and I moved in, happy to have a patch of fenced yard and a bit more room. About a week later the water department left a note on my door – the prior owners had received a huge bill indicative of a leak. Soon I had plumbers jack-hammering holes in my living room and laundry closet, ripping shrubs away from the house and searching for the leak – which turned out to be under the kitchen cabinets. I never, ever liked that house again, and my next home had a generously-sized crawl space beneath.
Now I live alone, again, in a home on a cement slab with water issues.
One toilet has dripped off and on since we moved into our newly-built home less than two years ago. The plumber sequentially replaced every part of the toilet, including tank and bowl, and then recently installed an entirely new toilet. We’ll see, but so far it appears resolved.
The water company’s analysis, however, indicated high usage occurs when the sprinkler system is on. I reduced the cycle times and dropped a day to reduce the bill. One sprinkler company sent a couple of employees who declared the water pressure in every zone was satisfactory, thus not indicating a leak anywhere. A second sprinkler company representative performed the same actions and made the same declaration. A professional leak detection company analyst drove a long way only to tell me his equipment could not find external leaks. The water company sent out a conservation representative who walked around each and every sprinkler head. May I note that she was the only woman in this process, and she was the only one to find damaged heads? One of the sprinkler companies then sent someone out to replace and adjust heads. I have my fingers crossed.
So far this year I have had servicemen for plumbing, pest control, landscaping, sprinklers, cracked stucco, HVAC service, cable and electrical issues. Every scheduled appointment is for several hours – 8 am -12 noon, 1 – 4 pm, 6 – 8 pm – and of course almost no one shows up early in his time slot. I understand they cannot anticipate how long each job will take, but I also feel as if they assume retired people have nothing better to do than wait. Today I have two different service people coming, anytime from 1 – 5 pm. Canceled bicycling plans and a homebound afternoon for me, but at least I will cross a couple to-do’s off my list!