Rectifying some Regrets

One of the things that has hit me rather hard the last year is my lack of action towards my home.

I love my home. It is peaceful, calming and a space I always dreampt of living. I fully enjoy telling people who say, “I wanna live in a cabin in the woods!” that I am somewhat living that dream. It isn’t as cottagecore as they imagine, but, for all intents and purposes, it is what it is.

But when I see the list of things that needs to be done to the house growing, I feel a tinge of regret and lament that I haven’t done these things sooner. Why have I not taken action? This is my home. I want to make sure it is working and running as well as I possibly can.

From the horrible overgrowth that took over the retaining wall, to the HVAC that was needing a service call every winter, to the water heater that is 20 years old, to the garage that needs to be redone from top to bottom, to the deck needing slats replaced, it all has sat, waiting for me to figure out things need to be done.

When I first moved in, I was excited. It really was a dream home. I couldn’t wait to see myself living there. After the land management at the mobile home park I had been residing at, I finally had a place where no one would impose unannounced inspections, unauthorized checks of my water pipes, complaining about my lawn and threatening to fine me for having it taller than an inch. It was my place, and I could do what I wanted, when I wanted.

My mom had always said that she wanted to move in with me. That she would sell her place as soon as I found a place I wanted to live and she would help put a down payment on it so I could buy it. That didn’t happen. After 8 years of asking her about it, I had finally given up on her promise. I had divorced my ex husband, and I was ready to make changes.

Once I found the house, my mom wanted to visit. The following month, she put her home on the market and made plans to move in, even though, I really didn’t have the room for her. I agreed though, because even though she hadn’t done anything she had promised, it was worth it if I could help her retire peacefully. The idea was to turn the garage into a granny apartment where she would have almost 1,500 sq ft all to herself, an expended deck and an amazing view. as plans continued, the contractor said we would need to create a new septic field because it wasn’t capable of handling a second house. It added another $30K to the build, but my mom at first was okay with it, understanding the cost would come from her sale of her home. Then she decided that was too much. Then she decided to start her narcistic drama and that was when I had to put my foot down and ask her to leave. It pained me. It hurt to know that my mom was not just willing to break her promise, but my peace of mind for her to feel happy. But such as it was.

During that time, I did nothing to the house or yard because it was expected to be destroyed in the rebuild. There was no point in putting any money, time or effort into fixing something up when there would be men and machines all over it.

Then life changed. i left my job and had to find ways to afford my life from a new point. I had to learn new skills, working 12 hours a night, 5 nights a week, commute an hour and a half one way for work, and figure out how to afford my life on what I was making. Everything took a backseat to what needed to get done.

I was also under the impression that most of the inner mechanisms of the house were fairly new and wouldn’t need replacing. That was certainly my fault for not looking farther in to see if that was true. I also hadn’t been made aware that while my furnace was a 5,000 ton, my heat pump was a 4,000 ton and would *never* efficiently warm my home to anything more than 67 degrees in the winter.

So by the time lockdown hit, my retaining wall had been completely reclaimed by nature, full of brambles, weeds, and even trees. I would try to tackle it, but it was so overwhelming and defeating, I’d give up. I tried solving the heating problem with insulation of the basement, wondering if I needed to install a fake wall to block the well pump, and other various things that became more than I could envision, let alone think of taking on. I gave up.

Then, in 2021, my daughter came and helped me try to tame the yard. We got a landscaper who came and used an excavator to clear the tons of vines, invasive plants and dead trees from the yard, and cleared out the retaining wall. Once that happened, things changed.

I made plans for the retaining wall. What I wanted to plant there. Then I decided it was time to tackle the HVAC. In 2022, I got it replaced. Then, the water heater, which is happening this week.

I’m getting there. My home, according to Zillow, is worth twice as much than what I originally paid for it. I am working to get it to resemble that price tag, one thing at a time. It hasn’t been easy, and sometimes, it feels like it will never happen, but I’m still trying. I’ve got a vision of what I want to see. My daughter and I have made a shared document of projects we can do, projects we need to do and projects that are dream projects – not beyond our abilities, but maybe beyond our monetary abilities at the moment.

I regret not doing much of this sooner, but now, I’m inspired. I am ready to make the changes and make the home truly mine.

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