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After months of searching, rejected offers and signing our names to a boatload of debt, my husband and I finally owned our first home.
One week later, we flooded it.
We expected hurdles as homeowners, we just didn't expect they would come so soon.
The two main paint colors inside our new Appleton home were a burnt orange and grey-brown, making painting the first step in our journey.
We decided to remain in our rental for two weeks to give us time to paint without our belongings, or pets, making things more difficult.
With the help of some friends we managed to turn our house, very slowly, into something a bit more subtle. Part of that process included pulling out our fridge to paint behind it, because even our kitchen was orange.
After pulling out the fridge, we replaced the waterline to the icemaker deciding to update the copper connection to PEX. Unfortunately, the connection was one or two turns too loose.
Two days later, while we were away, the water line came undone and began spewing water into our kitchen. When we stopped by a few hours later to set up our internet we found our kitchen and dining room under a half inch of water. It was raining in the basement and the water had begun leaking into the garage.
Luckily, we caught the leak early and turned the water off before calling our families in a panic.With towels, fans, shop vacuums and a dehumidifier we managed to get the house to a merely soggy state that night.
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The damage, thankfully, was minimal. The floor joists are fine, and sub floor and kitchen cabinets dried out. The largest projects now on our list include replacing the kitchen flooring, which has bubbled slightly in one spot and drywall that got wet to prevent mold.
That first week of home ownership was ... interesting. Now, with a whopping two months of home ownership under our belt — here is what we've learned.
We moved in two days. Two incredibly long days. When we started packing I had a labeling system, was sorting boxes by room and was expecting to move everything in one day. When the night before moving day came around and we had a third of our rental left to pack — the system went out the window.
If I could do it again, I'd start packing while we looked at houses. There were a lot of items, like books and games, we could have packed well before we had an accepted offer.
I also wish we had done a better job of purging old items. We donated as we packed, in the beginning, but in the end we moved with a good trunk-full of things that we no longer needed. Moving them was a waste of energy and they are still sitting in our garage.
Additionally, when we moved in, we stacked all of our belongings in the living room, dining room and garage. For the first week or more, we had to maneuver through a maze until we moved boxes into the correct rooms and made life significantly more manageable.
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We hadn't been in our house for a month when a friend called about a litter of puppies available for adoption. He sent pictures and we were in love. We had been planning to adopt a second dog in the summer after we fenced in the back yard.
When we adopted pets in our rental we had to fill out paperwork, pay pet fees and convince our, thankfully, relaxed landlord that our animals would not damage the property.
In our own home, we saw a picture, asked a few questions and picked up Bella, an 8-week-old St. Bernard mix, as the newest member of our family the next day.
That freedom also means we can update and change our home how we want.However, we have to deal with the consequences when we mess up. Like when we didn't tighten the fridge waterline enough. Pro tip: don't do ANY plumbing work before you live in your house full-time.
We also know, via the inspection we received, that we will likely need to replace our roof, furnace and air conditioning unit within the next five years, expenses we need to prepare for or our house will be mighty drafty.
I thought painting would take us two to three full days. I thought moving would take us one. I thought reattaching trim would take a day. The remaining hundred tasks are still sitting on a list. It took close to a week to paint just the main rooms of our house and the trim still isn't installed everywhere.
We have plans to add a built-in bookcase in one bedroom and paint the bathrooms, maybe the kitchen cabinets too. I'm realizing all of that will take longer than expected, especially when you're cleaning up after a new puppy.
Alexandria Bursiek Kloehn is a business reporter for the Green Bay Press-Gazette. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or view her Twitter profile at @bursiekkloehn.