posted 10-26-2002 01:50 AM PT (US)
For me, I've got a singular purpose, but it exists for the most part "in the back of my mind" where it influences my decisions, yet I don't have any specific plans in mind for accomplishing it: Joining with my soulmate.
Yeah, I know...that sounds really lame - yet, for me, it is really what is going on as sort of the foundation of my consciousness.
I don't know what it is, whether it's due to my age, or whether it has something to do with 9/11, or it could be both of those things or neither - but I've started "nesting". For the first time since I moved into this place, I think 11 or 12 years ago, I've started thinking of it as my home. In spite of having owned the place for over 3 years, I've continued to consider it temporary - as if I'm going to get on with my "real" life later on. But, something changed this year - maybe it's the financial troubles that I had last year, but I'm looking at this place as my security into old age (it's not just my home - it's a duplex, so I rent out the other side - I'm thinking of that rent as being my security for retirement).
My "nesting" has taken the form of starting a rather involved process of refinancing this place (I've been at 9% for 3 years...it's difficult for the self-employed to get financing); refinancing has involved doing some much needed repairs on the place that I've worried about since I purchased:
1) Vinyl siding (instead of painting). Painting would've cost about $4000 (including removing about 4 heaping truck loads of ivy from my garage), but I happened to get lucky and actually received a call from a telemarketer on the very day that I was taking bids to get the painting done - and the telemarketer was selling vinyl siding; I must've spent 60-90 minutes with the sales person before getting the most incredible deal on siding that I've ever seen (having been an real estate agent and a real estate appraiser for many years [no longer an apparaiser - I let that license lapse]). And, I lucked out even further - these guys gave the best install avaliable - and they taught me how to notice crappy installations (and they are EVERYWHERE). My place is now one of the best places in the neighborhood easily a 9, whereas before it scored a 3-4 on a scale of 1-10, in my estimation. My siding cost $5400 - but I tipped $150, so $5550 (I just had to put my money where my mouth is about paying for good service...but that's another subject).
2) New double pane vinyl windows and sliding doors. The windows that were in the building - 19 of them and 3 sliding doors - were all single pane and aluminum. Most people who upgrade their windows already have double pane, and they're just getting rid of the massive energy leaking aluminum windows; in my case, the upgrade is tremendous. My doors still aren't here - they should be installed the week of the 4th of November - but all my windows are in and I love them - they are so nice (much better than the cheapies that builders - even good builders - put into new construction). Cost of windows: $8,000 (no tip - the install sucked rocks and the customer service from the place really stinks...the people installing my siding [who also install windows, by the way] fixed the problem with the poor install on the windows - which cost me an additional $105 for Silicone II to seal all the smeggin' things).
3) Rain gutters. I think as long as I've lived here, the old steel rain gutters have been rusted through - they've driven me nuts every time there was a heavy rain - I might just as well have not had rain gutters at all. Alas, with the siding going on, they HAD to be removed, making their replacement now absolutely necessary. The guy who'll install them still hasn't been out (he'll be out of town for a few days), but I expect about $600.
Oh yeah - there's lots of neat stuff about the siding:
a) It's a much lighter color than my old paint; the old paint was dark brown, the siding is a light tan. This place gets very very very hot in the summer, but now the sun won't be beating down on dark brown, but rather hitting light tan - and reflecting away rather than getting the thing so hot; that's a major change in comfort.
b) The siding has, underneath, 3/4inch insulation. Some installers just hang the siding right smack on the side of the house, with nothing soft between the old covering and the siding - it's a very crappy install, but it's also very common. But more common is to use 3/8ths inch insulation under the siding...but that salesman, who quite rightly guessed that I was still leaning toward having the place painted, upped his bid to include the doubly thick insulation at one point - so, now my place is far better insulated than before - it's just like it was before, except now it has 3/4inch insulation plus vinyl extra as insulation. I'm expecting a major difference in heat bills during the winter, and a major difference in comfort during the summer - all that insulation, lighter colors, and the new windows...with the added bonus that the place is quieter now - both double pane windows and siding insulate the building for sound.
c) I will never have to paint again - the siding will outlast the house.
4) My neighbor's kitchen floor needs replacing - I'll be spending about $400 for that - plus, her dishwasher finally bit the dust - that'll be, I estimate, another $650 for me. Except that my dishwasher is the same as what she has - both original to the building - and crappy as hell, so I'll replace mine at the same time - make that $650 into $1300.
5) So, now, I've mentioned things that really needed to be done - but there's one more thing that I'm getting done just because I want to (although, I do need a new floor covering, and carpet would be cheaper): I'm getting a Brazillian cherry wood floor in my upstairs. With install, it'll be $9/square foot - I'm expecting that it'll cost less than $3000. However, in addition, I need to replace the carpet on my stairs leading downstairs to my bedroom, and replace the carpet in my bedroom which was there (and was old) when I moved in 11 years ago...so, I'm expecting a bill of around $5000 total. Could I get by without this upgrade? Yes - but I really want it, and...well...like I said, I'm sort of nesting - I have a strange desire to make this place "my" home and have everything the way I want it to be. Up until now, I've thought of myself as just a renter who happens to own the little bitty apartment that I'm renting.
And there's more to it than that: remember the mention of my "soulmate" above? It's almost as if I'm preparing an attractive and comfortable nest here so that potential mates can walk in and think, "Wow!", rather than..."Ugh!"
6) My body. 6 months ago, almost to the day, I was stepping on my scale and sometimes seeing the mid-190s showing on the display. I've never been so out of shape in my life...and, man, was I ever down, too. After 21 weeks of dieting, though, I'm consistently within a pound of 155 (and if more than a pound away, it's more than a pound less, not more, than 155). But at the end of that diet I was still very much out of shape, so I'm currently embarking upon a "diet" and exercise program designed to change my body composition to a much lower bodyfat while maintaining my weight. So far, so good, but I'm so hungry lately; just tonight I extended the diet one more month, from December 31st as the ending to January 31st, so that I can have more Calories. This dieting for a change in body composition is new territory for me - but, guess what? I think I'm probably in the very best shape right now that I have ever been in my life, with the possibility of having been a bit better briefly when I was around 17. However, within a month, I'll leave that fitness level behind, I'm sure.
Oh, back to my home: I got rid of nearly all of my furniture. I have no chairs in this house (well, I've a "typing chair" which I use at my computer here); I've got a giant table which you see on my webcam from time to time - and it'll be going into my bedroom, believe it or not, before this is all over; I've got an 80 gallon fish tank in my bedroom which will be coming upstairs and will be visible on cam soon; I've got my dad's grandmother's student desk (it doesn't look old at all, though) which will remain in my bedroom, and I've got sort of a decorative desk upstairs which will likely also remain upstairs - right now it has my stereo on it and it's been on cam once in a while. Other than that - no furniture anywhere in this house. So, I'll slowly be accumulating furniture as I happen upon things that I like.
Oh, and I've painted my basement bedroom, which I use as an exercise room, and I've painted a bathroom and a hallway and staircase...that took forever. Now my entire upstairs, another bathroom, my bedroom (which is quite larger), and another staircase need painting - I don't know what I'll do about that...I really don't want to do it myself - but the paint was old and needed to be painted over eleven years ago when I moved in...ugh...just one more thing to think about. Grrrrrrrrr.
So, all of my thought energy for the last 6 months at least has been going in that direction (and, I'll tell ya, I'm getting pretty exhausted with it all); that's what I've been all about for the last 6 months, and what I'll continue to be about for the months ahead.
Oh - and then there's work. The ol' hair might just have to be cut off soon and my jeans and t-shirts replaced with button down shirts and suits again; I'm not looking forward to prospecting for clients, showing houses, selling houses, and negotiating contracts - god I'd love to just get a 5 hour per day job, 3-4 days per week, in a health food store or a bookstore or something instead (I could live on that, I think), but real estate...oh, forget it, I don't even want to think of it right now (I do know that I'll be leaving the company that I've been with for ages in favor of a smaller company which pays a greater split on commissions...other than that...*blip*...out of mind...what were we talking about again??? *wink*).
Oh yeah - that's a lot of money being spent above, no? Where'd it come from? Answer: I took an extra loan on my place which has appreciated since I purchased 3 years ago. So, the improvements are negated by a corresponding decrease in my net worth. But, there's good news here, too: even with the larger loan amount that I'll have as a result of this, the lower interest rate is expected to leave me with a smaller payment than I've been paying for the last three years - so, in very real terms, I'm getting all of the improvements for free, plus a lower cost of living.
Well, that's the way it's supposed to work out, anyway - there's no way to tell until "the fat lady sings", I guess, though. But, God, I'll be glad when it's over.
I know that everyone always has a lot on their minds all of the time ( always remember - everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load)...anyone else willing to rise to the challenge of being as detailed as was I?