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Mr. Apron and I have been homeowners since February 18th, when we handed over large amounts of money in exchange for keys and responsibility.  I heard someone joke that when you become a homeowner, you should take $1,000 in $1 bills and staple them to your house, just to get used to spending money on it.  Let me tell you what has required out attention in these short 3 months.

PECO, the gas company, has twice been out to investigate gas odors.  The first time was a legitimate gas leak from the dryer line.  I smelled it when I got home, but figured a) the dog wasn’t dead (heretofore my gauge for home odor strength), and b) I didn’t have a headache from being inside, so I waited for Mr. Apron to get home.  $500 latre,we feel safer.  The second time was a false alarm.  Again, I smelled an odor, and waited for Mr. Apron to come home since the dog was still alive.  PECO guy came, and told us it was just the paint fumes (so much for low-VOC paint) from our new downstairs paint job interacting with the burner in the basement when we activated the flame by turning on the hot water.  All these things about gas-heated homes we are learning.

The bathroom sink is slow.  Clogged perpetually.  Has been since we moved in.  Inspector theorized it’d be “no big deal”.  Well, after Mr.Apron and his father tried unsuccessfully with plungers, “The Bomb” (some product in a can), and regualar Liquid Plumber, Mr. Apron stuck a coat hanger down the pipes, and busted a hole in the J-bend.  Cost: $79, with a lesson not to stick anything else down there.  Plumber said the problem is most likely at the level of the sewer pipe, and that it would require ripping up the tile floor to fix when we’re ready.  Guess what?  We still dealing with a slow drain.  And an intact floor.

The oven, circa 1980, suddenly decided, during a double-batch of chocolate cupcakes, to forget how to maintain 300 degrees F, and instead, keep heating until the smoke alarm went off.  After I tossed 24 charred rocks in the garbage and ran out for more ingredients, I then babysat the oven, turning it off periodically to simulate the pilot light turning on and off in a normally functioning gas oven that knows how to maintain a temperature.  We are now looking at new ovens, and making do with our upper oven (this is old, folks), which works fine, but is quite small and can’t fit a full-size cookie sheet inside.  Cost: projected to be $500-$700.

And today, Mr. Apron was spending far too much time online looking at ebaymotors, so I send him/us out to buy hedgeclippers (cost: $18.95 + tax) and deal with a growing nuisance in the front yard.  It seems like only yesterday they were sweet little shoots promising spring was just around the corner, and now they’re threatening to attack neighbors innocently walking past.  Mr. Apron’s father has electric hedgeclippers, and kept warning us not to do it ourselves, not to exert ourselves, that he’d come over, that they’d do it together.  Well, he hasn’t come yet, and I wanted to prove we were manually strong and could save the environment while strengthening our upper arms and shoulders, so we clipped.  It was fun.  Satisfying, in some way, appealing to our sense of order.  While Mr. Apron clipped, I cleaned up after him (insert sexist husband-wife joke here), and vis-a-vis (insert reverse sexist wife-husband joke here).  While I was waiting for him to make some more refuse, I stepped into the “yard” of pachysandra, intent on pulling some weeds, and I found poison ivy.  Joy of all joys.  And I’m wearing shorts and flip-flops.  So this now requires action, either of a pesticidal variety, or of a manual weed-pulling variety, complete with toxic waste substance isolation gear.  I can’t wait.  We can go buy Round-Up and paint it on the leaves, so it won’t harm the pachysandra which saves us from that other fun chore — mowing the lawn — or we can don rubber gloves, long pants, and long sleeves and pull out the poison ivy all summer long, hoping to make a dent.  I swear, my legs are itching already.  The mind-body connection is a powerful one, eh?

What’s next, house?  Bring it on!  Water damage?  Another gas scare?  Crumbling retaining wall out back?  Basement stairs falling down? Oh, wait! I forgot my latest blunder.  I put the garage door opener in my pocket one day when we wrre running back and forth to the garage to install our china in our new china cabinet, and Friday night, as we were lamely celebrating the weekend, I washed it.  In the washing machine.  We now can’t get into the garage.  Awesome.  I am so cool.

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