Home ownership is complicated – pleasant in many ways, but complicated.
I lived in rented apartments most of my adult life until an opportunity to buy an affordable house in Rio Rancho unexpectedly fell into my lap almost four years ago.
I was surprised by the avalanche of paperwork it took to get a mortgage, but the house I now own has been a blessing.
For one, my mortgage payments are a fraction of what several apartment-dwellers have told me they pay in rent.
My utility bills are quite a bit higher than they used to be, though.
That’s to be expected, since I’m heating and cooling a larger space; watering a yard, albeit a largely xeriscaped one; and doing laundry at home instead of in a communal laundry room.
It’s been well worth it for the extra space, the opportunity to garden and, especially, the ability to wash clothes without having to drop whatever else I’m doing and lug around heavy baskets.
The extra space and the yard were particularly nice during the early part of the pandemic, when we were all supposed to stay home.
I’m also glad not to have to live in a funk of a neighbor’s cigarette smoke that seeped into my apartment.
The thing I miss about renting is home repairs and maintenance.
It really was nice to have someone shut down the heater and start up the cooler, and vice versa, every year at no extra charge.
And if something went wrong with some part of the apartment, all I had to do was call the management, and they would send a maintenance person over to make the problem disappear.
Yes, I was blessed enough to have facility managers who cared if things were fixed.
Nowadays, I either pay $100 for someone else to switch my house between heating and cooling, or I spend two or three hours doing it myself.
It took instructions from my father, a neighbor and multiple YouTube videos to learn the procedures for my particular evaporative cooler.
Obviously, I’m a long way from being “handy.”
The heater is simpler. Still, the first time I tried to get it running, I had to ask a guy from church to come turn a valve for me because I couldn’t even budge it.
Thankfully, he not only opened the valve, but also showed me the tool to buy so I could handle it myself next time. Problem solved.
Now, I just need to figure out why three of the four bulbs in the two fluorescent light fixtures in my closet won’t work, despite the bulbs being new.
I’ve put off calling an electrician because I’m not looking forward to that bill, and I keep forgetting to ask friends who might know, unmotivated because I feel bad asking for what might be a lot of their time.
I’ll probably get around to doing something about it eventually. Until then, it’s a good thing I don’t live in the closet.