I remember back in the early days (okay, the early 2000’s) of reality home improvement shows when the residents would come home for the big reveal and someone would burst into tears. You’d watch that person have a meltdown right there on TLC and wonder what the big deal was. They just had part of their home renovated. For free. Wasn’t that something to be excited about?
Now that I’m a home owner though, I get it. I understand how you can come home and be faced with a change to your home that you had no hand in doing and just how overwhelming that can be.
My in-laws stayed with us for the better part of August and my father-in-law is a man who is happiest with a hammer in hand. Owen warned me that projects would likely get done when they came to visit. I believed him but I guess I just wasn’t prepared for the reality of coming home from work and seeing how much of a difference a new light fixture can make. Or how much bigger our yard looks when there aren’t scraggly elms crowding up against our foundation.
But I turned on the water works and cried anyway.
Let me just go ahead and say on the record that I have really great in-laws.
Last summer, my mother-in-law and brother-in-law came out and helped us move. Owen comes from a super helpful and considerate family. They operate very much like my own blood kin.
I guess I felt a certain amount of shame at my lack of involvement with the three weeks worth of progress being done on our house. From time to time I still have these moments where I just don’t feel like I have done enough to deserve this house. We make our payments on time, but I worry that some day the Tidy Patrol will show up on our doorstep and evict us for letting the dishes pile up or for still having stuff in boxes.
This xkcd comic describes how I view our approach to having our own place.
We’re not quite that bad. But there’s a pirate flag spanning one wall of our kitchen and I’ve given strong consideration to painting our front door a cheerful Police Box shade of blue.
I want to have pride in home ownership. To my mind I equate that to spending my own sweat equity to better the house and making my own mistakes as we learn about how to fix things. Having someone else do things for us just felt like cheating.
Even if the new light fixture in the hallway looks really cool.