December is my favorite month of the year. I have many happy childhood memories of the holidays and all it takes are a few decorations and sparkly lights to bring on the nostalgia. (With each passing year, I'm more grateful for the incredible gift that is a happy childhood.) Now, I add to the collection of happy memories the anniversary of buying my first house.
As a symbol of the incremental improvements I've been making, here's my little, artificial Christmas tree (a housewarming gift from my family and the first personal possession that crossed the threshold). This year I've added a tree collar to cover the metal base. I'd never seen or heard of tree collars until this year, but I like the clean, finished look. Maybe next year we'll get wild and add a star or angel on top ;)
This year in home ownership:
- I scheduled a second home inspection right before the end of the one-year builder's warranty. (There is a 10 year warranty for major structural issues, but the builder covered smaller issues during the first year.)
- I cut my first property tax check. (I don't escrow my taxes and insurance.)
- I hired painters to seal my cedar fence to preserve it's beautiful color and keep it from turning grey.
- I hired tree trimmers to take care of the beautiful 100+ year old oak trees on my lot.
- I learned to dismantle the catch on my kitchen sink.
- I learned to use a power drill and installed drapes.
- I discovered that roman shades are even more spendy than I feared.
- I sealed the grout in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room.
- I started a vegetable garden.
- I spent hours researching washers and dryers.
- Favorite non-essential purchase of the year: new mattress for the master bedroom. (My old mattress was a hand-me-down that was probably 20 years old.)
The mortgage stresses me out more than rent ever did and I waste a lot of time wistfully perusing furniture, window treatment and home goods catalogs, but I love this house and hope that I'll be living here for many years to come.