Tuesday, July 8, 2008

He who tells you owning a home is awesome is LYING

We don't own a home, but after doing this house thing, we sure aren't going to. Two die-hard apartment dwellers are we, and we have yet to see the advantages of living the American dream. House maintenance nightmare is more like it.

Some of things are particular to living in a tropical climate, but we've so far learned that living in this house (and this is a 1200 sq. ft. two bedroom, one bath, one story house) requires the following:

1. Waterblasting twice a year to prevent mildew on the outside of the house,

2. Gutter cleaning (don't know how many times a year), especially important during the rainy season,

3. Cutting the grass every two weeks (but you can't do it when the grass is wet, and since it's rainy reasons, that's all the time),

4. Cutting out this thorny vine thing called Chains of Love, which is an invasive plant species that chokes off the banana trees and pretty much anything else that is native to Guåhan,

5. Planting/maintaining a bunch of greenery around the driveway to prevent the driveway from washing away during the rainy season,

6. Caulking all holes to prevent ants,

7. Weatherproofing the areas directly around the air conditioners and windows to lessen the geckos and bugs getting in,

8. Replacing or repairing a few busted window screens (also, the termites have no compunction whatsoever about trying to get through the screens even though they lose their wings in the process--as we were horrified to find out),

9. Running the air conditioners in every room at least an hour every day to prevent mildew,

10. Cleaning out the air conditioner filters,

11. Going through the house at least once a week to brush/dust away gecko droppings on the windowsills,

12. Sweeping/mopping every two weeks (and we're being pretty chill here, considering that it's muddy out and we don't wear shoes inside),

13. And my personal favorite, waiting around the few times a year for when the sinks or toilet back up a little... because we're not connected to the sewer, and apparently septic tanks don't come with a little dial that says "75% full, you better make an appointment with Todu Maolek Plumbing for next Monday or you're in trouble, pal." (Todu Maolek = All Good in Chamoru.)

All of this, of course, is not that bad in the grand scheme of things and we're glad to be learning how to do it. (I don't want to bitch: it's not physically hard to put on the air conditioner--it's just something I have to remember now). But I really don't see how--given that suburban populations are aging--these kinds of lifestyles are possible.

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