One Year in Our House

Alternate titles for this post included, “The first time in six years we don’t have to move” and “That time we spent our life savings eleven months before our wedding and lived to tell the tale”.
Before last November Tommy and I lived in six apartments in five years, moving each fall like clockwork. Our first year out of school we each had our own apartments then we lived together in three different apartments. Moving, as you all well know, is awful. It’s stressful, time consuming, fight inducing and exhausting.

Exactly a year ago we closed on our very first home and I was overwhelmed with emotions. I was terrified that I had just spent the majority of my life savings, nervous that we wouldn’t know how to properly take care of our new house, excited to start a new chapter, and incredibly relieved that I wouldn’t have to pack up our possessions and haul them across town in a year’s time.
We started looking at houses to get a feel for the market but didn’t intend to purchase one right away. At the time our wedding was a year away and we were trying to save as much money as possible for that. But a few weeks in, we fell in love with a duplex in the South End neighborhood of Burlington. The houses were deeded such that each half was sold individually.

Because neither of us were certain where our careers were going to take us we were nervous about committing to Vermont for 30 years. But this charming, little half-house a stone’s throw off the lake seemed like the perfect compromise between renting and settling down for the long haul. We knew that we could always rent it and that if need be, it would sell quickly.

Since moving in we’ve done a few projects but still have a long ways to go. We closed on a Friday and the very next day my parents came up to help us paint four rooms and a hallway. We didn’t have any of the tools, drop cloths, or ladders that we needed but my dad called up an old friend who is a professional painter to join us for the weekend. If you ever have the chance to paint before moving into a house I highly recommend it. Not having to worry about moving and covering furniture made the whole process much easier.
We moved in a week after painting and began the process of converting from oil to natural gas. Before our closing we contacted Vermont Gas to have a line brought in from the street to our house so that we could have a new furnace and hot water heater installed once we moved. November is the first of the really cold months up here and we had to act quickly before it got too cold.

Last spring we had two back to back basement problems which resulted in us repairing a sewer pipe that had frozen and burst and installing a sump pump after a ground water flood. With these two less than glamorous projects under our belt we moved outside where we dug a new garden bed and removed patio stones from our yard. As a kid I wasn’t a huge fan of yard work. I enjoyed some things like raking leaves and shoveling snow, but was never all that interested in gardening or lugging mulch around for my parents. However, this past summer I found that I really enjoyed working in our garden and making improvements to our yard.
In this coming year I hope to do more indoor projects. We have one bedroom upstairs that has been the landing place of all the things that don’t have a home. It’s a giant, cluttered mess – my Monica closet, if you will (Friends fans, you know what I mean). It needs paint, furniture and a function. I’d also like to paint our kitchen and replace our living room couches.
It’s a big work in progress, but I couldn’t love with our little half house more. I’m looking forward to sharing projects and our progress along the way.


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