Thursday, March 21, 2013

house in progress

We closed on the house on Friday. Everyone's immediate question is "Do you have keys?", which inevitably wound up awkward because
  1. The sale didn't get recorded until Monday (apparently why people don't close on Fridays).
  2. I didn't get a key until Tuesday.
  3. I didn't care that much.
Getting the key is a big symbolic thing, I guess, but boringly pragmatic as I so often am, I just think, "If the county says that I own the house, I don't need the key--I can pick or replace the locks." Plus I didn't need to get into it for anything.

The remodeling started yesterday, with taking out the doomed kitchen floor, which was covered with nice, absorbent particle board! Perfect for a room with lots of water splashing around.

As predicted, I'm learning a lot about houses in a big hurry. For example, seeing the dirt of the crawlspace because your kitchen floor is gone takes a little of the mystery out of how a house is put together.

Our handyman is named Carlos, and while his English is fine, he's glad I speak pretty good Spanish. Establishing communication is fascinating, and only about 60% successful: Spanish-speaking cultures have very different conversational styles, and I'm flying completely blind. Every conversation requires 10 minutes of repeating the same facts with different phrasing and expressions of agreement. I believe he is also finding this unsatisfying, because he knows where the conversation is supposed to go, and I have barely a clue, so I think I am being inefficient even by the standards of ordinary native Spanish. We'll muddle through, of course: we're both nice, competent people.

There are so many decisions to make, though. If it's this much work to manage two guys who are honest and capable, I can scarcely imagine how much worse it can get. Now I know why everyone complains.

The house smells so much better! Whatever held the musty odor stinking up the entire house has now been removed to the trash pile. It is really a lovely little house: the living room has giant windows, which someday will look out on greenery instead of the street. At nearly 1400 square feet, it's California-large; even the unfinished wood walls with children's writing on them have a nice vibe. The wood floors are beat to hell, but you can see the wood underneath and get a sense for how it will look when it's refinished.

This is the first house I ever walked into and actually saw the potential in. I'm glad I took that seriously.

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