Meet Lori. She is embarking on the biggest challenge of her life... she is renovating her first home.
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Fuck. “I guess this makes it official,” my hand shook as I laid the pen beside the very official document.
“Yes it does,” the branch manager with his tie sitting crookedly over his bulging belly smiled and reached his hand over the table. “Congratulations, you have a mortgage, Lori.”
You know that numb feeling you have at a major life event, the one that should have you jumping in excitement, ordering champagne, and calling everybody that you know to tell them the good news, but instead you’re not really there. It’s kind of like you’re in the lounge room just mindlessly watching television, not connected.
Yep, as I was having my fingers squeezed I was feeling nothing.
Though there was one thought rushing around on loop in my head; “Fuck, I’m an adult.”
Dumbly, I nodded as he spoke. What was the man saying about transfers of funds to the real estate agent? And all that about fixed and variable interest rates?
I wish that mum was there. She could’ve been asking the right questions and making sure I understood every term and condition. She would’ve been my buffer.
And it was for those reasons why I said that I would be fine doing this on my own. Silly me.
“Do you have any questions?” Bank manager man asked.
I shook my head. “Not right this moment.”
“Well, you can always come in for a chat if you do,” he smirked. Probably because he owned my soul.
And just like that I was an adult with adult responsibilities. Fuck.
Not long after the contract had settled, I stumbled out of the real estate agent’s office into the bright summer sun. Blinking, I looked down at my clenched fist. The jiggered edges of the key was digging into my flesh, keeping me in the moment of reality. It was real. The corners of my lips pinched upwards.
I couldn’t wait to get to the car and head over to the house.
Oh fuck. It was real.
I hurried, almost running in public to my car and slamming the door on my shin in the process. I jammed the key into the ignition. Going a little faster than the speed limit I whipped the nose of the car around and slammed on the brakes, parking in the driveway.
Five seconds later…
I screamed. Jeez, if the neighbours were worried about a freak buying the house beside them, their fears were confirmed in that moment. I screamed and clapped and bounced in my seat.
This was all mine. My little home. Single story, white weather board, front porch, most likely built in the fifties, and I was its second owner (since the last person, a little old lady, had died). It was perfect.
I rushed to get out of the car and up the few steps to the front door. The key slipped into the lock. My breath caught in my throat. I twisted the key.
I tried again.
I jiggled, and wriggled, tried pulling the key out and putting it back in and still the lock wouldn’t turn. “Surely they didn’t give me the wrong key…” Not giving up, because hey, this was my house after all, I yanked on the handle and tried again. “Maybe the lock is out of alignment and…” Reluctantly the key twisted and clicked the lock back.
I sighed and shoved the panic and possible embarrassment of having to call someone for help with opening a fucking door. That had been close. But nothing to worry about. Nope, problem averted, though I most likely will have to replace the door lock.
I pushed the door open and walked in, my feet sinking in the two inch high carpet. So the décor was rather dated, the house was still in great shape considering its age. And the electrics would need to be replaced.
Moving down the hall past the three okay sized bedrooms, and the end door that led to the bathroom with its grab rails and brown tiles (cringe) I turned right into the miniscule, ancient, probably had an open fire to cook toast in the olden days, kitchen. “Fuck, something else to be replaced.”
My shoulders began to sag. I’m not so naive to think that this was going to be a house I could move straight into and do nothing to it. I knew that it needed to be renovated and brought it with the intention of working on it myself, hoping that the years of visiting dad on a building site would help me. However, the last time I’d been around a power tool I was thirteen.
So, this could be a bigger challenge than expected. “But you wanted a challenge, you big dummy Lori,” I chided myself and forced my shoulders back. “Yeah, this is what I wanted. Fuck yeah.” The smile crept across my lips and that buzzed feeling returned.
I was finally doing something that I wanted; renovating my first home.
My swagger returned and I moved from the kitchen to the dining room and then the lounge room at the front of the house. Layout wise it was good. It could be better though if I took out the walls separating the kitchen and dining and lounge and made them open planned. I stepped back and looked at the walls I was accusing of standing in my way. Yes, it would be better if I opened it up and made it into a lovely open living space.
But are the walls needed to support the weight of the roof? I’ll need to put in massive beams above the ceiling to span the distance, right?
I hurried back out to the hallway. The walls needed to be taken down and replaced with gyprock. First, the electrics would have to be pulled apart and some internet computer line stuff run through as well. Then I could put plaster board up and set it.
Idly I wondered into the bathroom and cringed.
“Fuck. That pink toilet has got to be ripped out first thing, before anything else happens. I swear I will not be using that thing ever!”
But then I would have no functioning bathroom until the plumber could come and install a new one. “Fuck.” I glared at the monstrosity.