Friday, December 29, 2006


We moved into our house exactly one year ago. Around noon that day, I took the dog for a walk and the wind, which was gusting at 60 mph, blew my left sunglass lens out, never to be found again. Little did I know that it was an omen of things to come.

That night, we discovered that the upstairs heating didn't work. It being New Year's weekend, we were stuck with the cold for days. (After the first night, I slept on the pull-out couch in the living room while hot-blooded Darling Husband toughed it out upstairs.) We subsequently learned that there was a Potemkin thermostat in the hall; instead of being connected to the basement boiler,
its wire ended in a closet just 6 feet away.

Since then, we had to get the heating redone, including all new thermostats; the leaky gas hookup to the range repaired; the kitchen waste pipe replumbed (it was slanted uphill); the downstairs toilet reinstalled; 28 windows replaced; the fill at the sides of the house regraded; storm doors installed; plus various "extra" carpentry and plumbing jobs. Now our concrete front steps are crumbling and must be replaced as soon as the snow clears. I'm praying that the roof stays OK.

And yes, if you can believe it, we had the house inspected before we bought it. We'd be throwing lawsuits around, only Darling Husband and I agreed that we've had too much tsuris already with my medical woes. Still, I refer to the seller (read: speculator) and the guy who did most of the work on the house as "those wankers." It's scant comfort, but it's something.


Admin said...

I'm happy for you, seriously, i'm here trying to get my fiancee her dream house and i just would love to find one where she is going to be able to say "This is my dream home" i'll find it one day belive me. Please check out my blog at


Bella Stander said...

You might try aiming your sights a bit lower; say, finding a house that's good enough rather than one that is the answer to all your prayers. Because no one house (or person!) is. There are always compromises and trade-offs you have to make. I have notions of a Dream House, but it's unlikely that I'll ever be able to afford it. So I'm making do with what I have--which in some ways is more than I imagined having 20 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Oh My. I am so sorry for you. We have the weird uphill plumbing thing on our kitchen sink. I do dishes in the bathtub. We sort of knew what we were getting into though. Our house is 107 years old.

Bella Stander said...

Ours is of similar age, but had been "entirely renovated," with all-new plumbing, kitchen & bathroom fixtures. Only the wanker(s) who did the work did it wrong, and the inspector seems to have gone through with his eyes closed, for which we have paid very dearly--over & over again. AAARGH! (closes eyes...takes calming breath...)

kitty said...

One house that we owned had no septic system. Supposedly it did, but we learned otherwise on New Year's Eve as we were preparing to go out for the evening. I had done a load of laundry and wanted to put it in the dryer when I noticed that the washer was filled with foul-smelling dirty water. The plummer said our septic tank was nothing more than a hole in the ground. The tank used to be metal and had rusted allowing the whole thing to cave in. Plus, this same house had no electricity in the upstairs. I tossed the dirty laundry and thought I had learned a lesson.

The next house we bought, I made certain to ask all kinds of questions about the septic system. Supposedly it was checked; I saw the written "proof." Within a year, we had to replace the system, which I discovered was non-existant when trying to do laundry. We suspect that the Realtor paid for that "proof." Plus, the chimneys were never lined and the fireplace has no concrete footers.

Martyn Taylor said...

I once bought a house from a gas fitter. When the time came to sell it I was told all the gas piping he'd put into his own house was dangerous and would have got him fired if he'd done it for the Gas Board (as it was way back then)