In which we discover the importance of our home fund

One of the first things we did after we moved into our house last summer was to create a new budget. We had been told by everyone, some smugly, some with resignation, that owning a house means that there will always be something that needs to be fixed or have money poured into it. Not ones to be negative, we nevertheless started a ‘home improvement fund’ with a fixed amount automatically transferred over on paydays. We weren’t sure when we’d need it, and the first eight months in the house passed smoothly enough.

Well, we’ve needed to dip into it sooner than we thought. After a spring and summer full of surprises, we’re now hardened veterans to this whole home improvement thing. Let’s see. Since April 2009 we’ve had to replace old lead water pipes, the boiler that was original to the house, the roof (shredded by a hailstorm), the kitchen window (same hailstorm), the fridge (stopped working and cost less to replace than to fix) and have arranged to get some cracks in our exterior bricks re-pointed by a mason.

As the problems and costs piled up, so did our panic, at first. But life won’t let you stay in a freaked out state for long, and soon the only sane thing to do, once some extra money was secured, was to get excited about all the new stuff we were getting. We had fun choosing a new shingle colour for the roof, a different style of window for the kitchen, a fridge we like better, and we’re happy that our water supply is a little healthier now that it’s not laced with lead anymore.

We noticed an interesting side effect to all these surprises. We had confronted our biggest fear of being home owners. We had lots of reasons to put off buying a house for years, but what scared us the most and kept us out of the market was exactly this kind of string of bad luck. We’re much calmer now that we’re not waiting for the shoe to drop, but having said that, we really don’t want any more surprises!

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