07 April 2007

the joys of home ownership

when i bought my condo, i felt really lucky. it had been the first time in a long time that i'd had a space to call my own, and i knew i was moving into a development that, while not wholly original, at least had won some awards for maintaining green space/being somewhat eco-friendly. i found a unit in one of the "older" sections of this PUD (planned urban development; older = 2003 ;-) ), so i'm in a part of the community that isn't still under construction. as an added bonus, the woman from whom i bought the condo was absolutely meticulous--so all those things that used to trouble me about living in other people's homes (e.g. lack of labels on the circuit breaker, no fire alarms/extinguishers, etc.) were not an issue here. the place was just broken-in enough to have all the wrinkles ironed out, so to speak. on top of that, the things i detest--like mowing a lawn--aren't a concern here because the condo association takes care of all the external features of the property, even down to changing the light bulbs for the outside lights. not a bad deal, eh?

except for the little details about home ownership that didn't come into my consciousness before move-in day. the first thing that caught my attention was the light in the foyer/over the stair landing. i have absolutely no idea as to how to reach the darn thing to change the light bulb, since it's located on the ceiling in an area where there's a story and a half between said ceiling and the stairs beneath it. and, no, after having worked a year in a trauma center, i have no desire to even attempt to balance my ladder on the stairs and risk major injury over such a relatively minor thing. i also wondered how on earth i was supposed to clean the window in this area, as it, too, is out of reach; nor did i quite understand the placement of a "plant shelf" next to this window. so far as i could tell, the shelf and window were merely playground pieces for the cats, who seem to revel in making death-defying leaps across chasms of space. or at least, that's what i thought...until one day i realized that one of the cats had barfed on said shelf. lovely. every time i contemplated cleaning it up, all i could think of was the potential conversation among my colleagues: "what happened to blaze?" "well, you see, there was this incident involving cat barf...." amusing, but not exactly where i want my life to go, you know?

ah, but it gets better. after spending the last seven days at home, literally wallowing in my post-medical-school-demise and recent attacks of my gut from hell, i finally had the energy to go out tonight. and it was wonderful--my mom and i had dinner and then went to a local "open gallery night" at an artists' area in town. we'd looked for this part of town before, but hadn't been able to find it; so we were quite excited to find an amazing few blocks of refurbished homes all decked out with great (and i mean great) artistic treasures. it helped that it was a beautiful evening--perfect weather--and although i was tired by the time i got home, i also felt more hopeful than i had in a while. i love studying medicine, but, at this point in my career, i have little room to express the creative side of myself; outings like this remind me that there's a world beyond medical parameters and that i do still have passions beyond the latest bug that needs to be learned. when i got home, i ended up staying up later than planned--the hazards of indulging in yet another one of my passions, reading--so i didn't go to sleep until about 4 am.

At 5:45 am one of the fire alarm units in my home decided it needed new batteries. Could it tell me this subtly? Could it tell me this at a normal hour? Could it at least realize that i couldn't instantaneously replace its batteries? Oh, no. that would be expecting way too much in this technological age. instead of some sensible indication, i awoke with a jolt as my cat bolted off the bed where she'd been curled at my feet, and then proceeded to hope that the loud, obnoxious, intermittent beeping sound would cease and desist before i had to shoot the darn thing. no such luck. not only did it not stop beeping, but it turned out that the particular smoke detector having a fit was the unit in--you guessed it--the foyer. there's nothing quite like balancing a ladder on stairs at 6 am on a saturday morning trying to replace a battery in a smoke detector that says "welcome to home ownership!" unless, of course, you count the darn tax bill, but at least the tax bill doesn't have a beep-until-you-pay-me device attached to it.... never a dull moment!


Kristina said...

Re: the smoke alarm, they always have to run out of batteries in the middle of the night, don't they? One of the most memorable times was when ours went off at 3am in, yes, the foyer, and Rich was balanced on a cooler on a barstool with a broom in hand batting at the thing while I held the whole structure to make sure it didn't topple over. And the funniest part was that he was nude. I wish I had had a camera. Shhh. Don't tell him I told you.

student dr. blaze said...

now *that* is truly hilarious! :-) call it the joy of hubby ownership, eh? ;-)

a little disclaimer...

i'm a medical student. just a student. so please, don't take anything i say too seriously. remember that i was an english literature major as an undergrad, so there is much fiction to be found in these pages. do you think i'm telling a story about you or your illness? more likely, you're tapping into my sense of "everyman"--that is, your story resonates with what i write here because it's not so uncommon after all. need help? please, please go see your physician. <--i'm not her. yet. ;-)