Mamas and Papas,
I love to take walks in my neighborhood. I like looking at all of the different architecture and landscaping of the homes. They’re really beautiful and BIG.
I used to wonder what it would be like living in a large home, filled with nice furniture, artwork, a pool and manicured lawn. I can now tell you it’s expensive. Really expensive!!!
We are blessed and fortunate enough to have our dream home. It has everything we’ve ever wanted. I could walk a few blocks away and ask a very famous former Dallas Cowboys football player for a cup of sugar. But I imagine that his maid would slam the door in my face and call the police. I can also show you Dick Cheney’s old crib.
I’m not trying to brag. I just want to point out– be careful what you wish for. You just might get it… and then some. Along with all of the extras and the prestigious neighborhood comes high property tax and lots of expense.
Let me give you an example. Just last week we had two big storms in as many days. The kids, dogs and I hunkered down in the wine cellar while the tornado sirens blared. The power was out, the weather radio was missing and we had just one flashlight. I used my cell phone to track the weather while the kids watched “Kung Fu Panda” on the laptop . Ally, our 55 pound dog, sat on my lap and nervously panted in our faces. Bella, the 45 pound dog, took a nap under the bottles of Merlot. Storms do not phase her.
“Gross Ally!” “Your breath is stinky!” my daughter chokes out.
“Mommy Ally is scared, Bella is brave and I’m smart.” My son remarks after declaring that “a meteorologist could tell us what’s happening if the power would just come back on.”
I admire his use of the word “meteorologist” and pray that we’ll get through the storm without any damage.
Finally the power comes back on and the weather clears. The excitement is over. But the expensive repairs are approaching.
Just as we crawl in bed the fire alarm goes off and a smoke detector gets stuck in panic mode.
Lots of screaming and calming down later. I discover that I can’t reach the offended smoke detector, so I call for help. (my husband was stuck on a plane trying to get home)
“I don’t see any fire, so PLEASE don’t turn on the sirens.” I tell the fire department. “But I want to make sure my house doesn’t burn to the ground.”
Firefighters and a cop show up about 45 seconds later (they’re located on the same block) with the lights flashing and the sirens singing. The neighbors come out to investigate.
“Mommy that fire truck is cool. Can I have one?”
At least the firefighter is cute and cordial. The cop answers my curious son’s questions.
They leave about 45 minutes later with an “all clear.” The smoke detector is now dangling from the ceiling, but at least it’s quiet.
This will require a call to the alarm company. And I begin to wonder how much this will cost.
The next morning it rains buckets and buckets. The streets flood, the power is out and more problems and more bad news knocks on our door.
“What’s that on the floor?” my sons asks as we watch the storm from the window.
“Water!” The roof, that was just repaired, is leaking onto the “fine” artwork.
We find another leak in a fireplace and the dollar signs start falling like the rain. Buckets and Buckets.
“Mommy if it keeps raining we’re going to turn into an OCEAN.” My son determines.
I call the roofer and the alarm company.
Finally the rain lets up, the sun begins to shine. But a dark money cloud settles over our house.
A few hours later the roofer arrives and tells me that “leaves” are to blame for the leaking and that our chimney needs a cap.
Chimney’s wear hats? I ponder to myself.
“How much will that cost?” I ask the roofer
“Not sure. We’ll have to get a number together,” he says.
This is never good.
The alarm company comes to the scene to replace the smoke detector and fix the alarm.
Problem solved. I write a check.
But he recommends that I replace all of them. (There are more than I can count.)
“Why? Don’t they work?” I ask.
“Yes. But now they won’t match.”He says.
“We’ll live.” I assure him.
The AC guy, who had been previously scheduled, shows up to give me an estimate on replacing the unit in the pool cabana. (this is a problem unrelated to the storm.)
“By the way it’s hot in my bedroom. Can you check it first?”
More problems… repairs will be needed. I prepare to write more checks and contemplate pouring myself a drink. I opt for coffee instead.
The pest control guy soon joins the party and tells me all is well.
“Finally!” “Something is going right.”
The ants in the pantry are history. Yeah. Everything else is fine… EXCEPT he can’t spray the cabana because it’s flooded.
“FLOODED!” More mopping… more money down the drain. I make a panicked call to a friend to bring over a wet vacuum.
What in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is going on? My house is less than 10 years old.
Meanwhile, my 1941 fixer upper home is weathering the storm. No problem.
I had slightly hoped a tornado would blow that old house away, but it stood tall and defiant. It has earned a make-over. (see post “Recession Rubble in the Bubble” for more on that.)
We feel really fortunate to have a beautiful home and we really enjoy it. But WOW when it rains trouble it literally pours. There’s a LOT to maintain. Sometimes it feels like a full time job.
I’m still adding up the current maintenance and repairs… plus waiting for estimates. But I think we are looking at upwards of $10,000 to fix, repair and replace everything. I can’t blame the storm for all of the trouble either. Insurance won’t cover it either.
I’d just like to add that I’m pretty certain that whenever a company drives up to my address it automatically adds on 10 to 15 percent. It really irritates me. This is why I stay loyal to companies that do a good job, give me a good deal and are honest.
Some people call our neighborhood “the bubble”” because life seems pretty idyllic here. It is pretty wonderful, so I don’t mean to complain. But trust me we’ve got trouble right here in River City too. And that starts with “T” and ends with “E”xpensive.