Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dang house ..... part one

When we were renters I always felt like we were paying money to benefit someone else. On the other hand it was sure nice to be able to call the landlord when something went wrong and request that it be fixed.
I know of nightmare stories of renters who have trashed houses and really left the landlords in a pickle. I also know - and this has been our experience - of landlords who don't really care much about keeping the house in top shape and who are reluctant to respond when there are issues.

For instance, in the last house we rented, we had a problem with the heat. It was winter and bitterly cold and we simply could NOT get the house to warm up.

We called the landlords to let them know we were without heat. Because our rent included the cost of gas, the landlord simply told us to turn on the oven and keep it open to heat us up. Not the most ideal scenario. After many complaints finally we had someone come out and check the furnace and it was in BAD shape. There were birds nests and an old beehive and all KINDS of junk in the furnace which was not in any kind of working order.

At that time I felt as though I could not wait for the day when I was the homeowner and responsible for keeping up our own house and responding to issues as we saw fit, and in a more timely manner.



What I have found to be the reality of owning a home is completely the opposite. It has been an exercise in frustration from the outset.

To start with Shel wanted to live out of town and I wanted to live in town. One of my strongest arguments for living in town was water. Most of the houses outside of town limits have dugouts, cisterns or wells for water.

In the house we rented we had a cistern.To fill a cistern (if you don't have a water truck of your own) you must hire a water truck to deliver water. You have to gauge how much water you will be using and plan in advance to get the truck out for delivery. You don't want to pay when you have a lot of water left because the cost is the same regardless of whether you take a drop or a couple thousand gallons. ( The price increased from 60 dollars per load to over a hundred dollars per load in the time we lived in our rental house). The cost is for delivery, the water is free.

In the winter the water freezes and so it is very difficult to determine how much is in the tank because you can't see - AND you have no idea how thick the ice is.

We ran our of water once, and we had to call the landlord to come out and prime the pump for us because we had no idea what we were doing.

Another time (and this gives me chills just to think about) I opened the lid of the tank to see how much water we had. The water was frozen. I sat on the edge of the tank and pounded the ice with my feet to try and crush it so I could see how much water was in the tank. It didn't budge. I STOOD on the ice and jumped to try and break it, but it didn't break.

I discovered later that someone (probably more than one person, but at least one person locally) had died by jumping on the ice in the cistern. The ice broke away from the wall of the tank, tipped and allowed the person to fall into the water, and then went floated back to it's original position, trapping the person beneath the ice, out of sight and unbeknownst to anyone until much later.

I would not buy a house out of town if we had to haul water...


Teena in Toronto said...

My in-laws live in the country and have a well. They run low on water quite often. And the water smells funny :(

The Bumbles said...

That is a chilling way to go - no pun intended. Our water bill is so cheap - though it does rocket up in the winter when we are constantly filling up the backyard ice rink our neighbor puts up for the neighborhood. We are very spoiled with services and amenities for our home - all the hard work involved doing it yourself makes paying a bill instead a lot nicer.