Sunday, December 3, 2006

Shaking my the Poor House

The house sometimes feels like an unbearable burden. I'm not as daunted by the work that needs to happen as I am by the cost of it. I'm one of the few people I know who's both debt-free and independent of their 'rents, and the prospect of going into debt is making me panic. I can afford the mortgage, but that plus my living costs, plus renovations is way beyond my capability. So, it looks like I'm destined for a loan of some sort, at least eventually. I can only hope that the house will be a money-maker (shake it), not a money pit. After all, that's the sole reason I bought it: to make some loot. I try to console myself w/ the fact that millions of other people take out loans to fix up their homes and aren't agonized by it. But are those the millions of people who buy diamonds and convertibles with borrowed money? I'm a simple girl. I like things to be simple. Not fancy. Not complicated. Simple. I like having one credit card (now I have more -- and they're all in the freezer), one bank account (I have four), and a budget that doesn't stretch beyond rent, food, and the occasional haircut. When did I get so fucking high maintenance?!

Here's what I figure: charge essential stuff to the new Home Depot cred card (uh, yeah. I have a HD credit card. Hard-core.), which is interest-free/no payments for six to twelve mos. By then, the place will be fixed up enough to rent out a bedroom, maybe two (rental income, also part of Plan A), and I can get a home equity loan (fixed rate!) for the amount I owe. Sounds reasonable, but I'm still sick over all of that money. But, no pain, no gain...right? Bring on the burn!

I've found a contractor who's willing to buy into my barter agreement (free rent in exchange for contracting svcs.). He and his dog are moving in this week. I'm not thrilled to have a roommate, but I am psyched to really get serious about the renovation (and for Rex to have a dog buddy w/o my adopting another). I chose this dude as opposed to the others b/c he doesn't seem crazy or creepy (most were automatically eliminated on some grounds, i.e. the Vietnam vet who told me he hoped to get "raped by an Indian lady" on his drive through NM...I don't know what's worse, the rape or the fact that he said "Indian lady"). The guy also sees what I see in the place: serious potential. He agreed that most of the stuff that needs to be done is simple (for him) and cosmetic -- nothing major, as I suspected. Reassuring. An interesting little deal that we've waged...I hope it works out.

This wknd was mostly a bust. I've been feeling anxious and cranky, and especially lethargic. Lazy and leaden-limbed. I figured that if the contractor guy was moving in, he could take care of the stuff that needed to be done, and I could rest. All I did was wash the bedroom walls to prep them for paint. This was my hot Friday night, on which I turned down a date w/ the geophysics professor in favor of spackling the walls. I'm convinced the spackling paste is more dynamic, albeit a little disappointing over dinner. I did, however, make friends w/ a neighbor who seems like a v. cool chick. She's a teacher, like me, and (also like me) very interested in the institutionalized racism in the schools. We talked for almost an hour over her picket fence, while Rex made gay love to her dog, Mr. Fluffy. (What's more gay than a guy dog named "Fluffy?") Pretty psyched to have met a neighbor who doesn't have an NRA sticker slapped onto the bumper of their SUV.

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