Worst Case Scenario: A List I Made at 4AM, Apparently

This post is brought to you by 1.) insomnia, and 2.) twelve months of perspective. This is actually something that has been hanging around in my drafts folder since this time last year, when I was pretty much bleeding from the eyeballs because of the stress of buying this house at auction. It was an awesome time.

I don’t know why I never got around to making a full post out of it to share with you guys, but I assume it’s because I was wrapped up in a lot of honest-to-god fear of what might be wrong with this house at the time. Now, a year later, it’s actually pretty funny in a kind of oh-yeah-I-remember-that-feeling-of-dread kind of way.

So, without further ado… a post I didn’t finish about a list I wrote at 4 AM, after I bought a house online without ever walking through it. A year ago.  (Color commentary from 2013 is in italics.)


So, on a good day I’m one of those people who keeps 34 different windows open on their computer screen, some of which are from two months ago. Because if I close that window whatever idea I had at the time will disappear into the ether, never to be seen again, right?

Also, when I’m feeling a little stressed, I compulsively make lists. It’s the closest thing to an organizational habit that I possess. Clearly the last 48 hours have been slightly crazier than usual, so even though I don’t really remember writing this at 4 AM after I just bought a house and couldn’t sleep because I had enough adrenaline in my blood to give an elephant a piggy-back ride, it’s not entirely surprising that I just found it buried under 7 open word documents on my computer.


Worst Case Scenario:

  1. The house is infested by a combination of rats, snakes, and dead bodies and must be torn down. (Well, there was definitely an incident with a disembodied chipmunk tail, a snake, two bats, and a freaking peacock, but thankfully nothing that required tearing down the house.)
  2. The roof leaks.  Looked decent from outside. (The roof did leak, but I broke into the house and painted over all the water spots before I actually owned the place so the appraiser wouldn’t know. And then I replaced the roof.)
  3. There is no central air. I hate not having central air, but did I or did I not live in a garage for over a year? Stop whining. (There is no central air, and I totally made it through a hot-ass summer without it. No big deal, I’m a country girl now.)
  4. The furnace has been removed. I would be so fucked. (The boiler was right where it was supposed to be, granted, all of the radiator pipes were broken, but with a little good luck the appraiser didn’t notice. Definitely had to replace those pipes, and my relationship with the boiler is still somewhat contentious, but mostly I have heat.)
  5. The plumbing is bad or all copper pipes have been stolen. (It was 50/50 on the bad plumbing, but the copper was still there and in the end it all worked out okay.)
  6. The basement floods. So the eff what? The basement in this house [the rental] has been flooded for three months. Neither the cat nor I have drowned. Just don’t put anything in the basement. (Basement has a little water sometimes… it’s fine.)
  7. The basement is short (likely) or unexcavated (possible). Again, so the eff what? Don’t use the basement. Move the laundry room upstairs. (The laundry room already was upstairs. Score! And I basically don’t use the basement unless I’m tangling with the boiler. Or spray painting something.)
  8. The foundation is bad. Fine. Get the bulldozer, tear it down. (The foundation is 150 years old, and still steady. Whew.)
  9. All three toilets need to be replaced. That’s so minor in the scheme of things I can’t believe I just wrote it down. (Yeah, I can’t believe this even made it on the list. Other than the toilet on the carpet, we’re good.)

 This is just a quick little reminder that even at the worst of times 1.) it’s probably not as bad as it could be, and 2.) you should never lose your sense of humor. Or the ability to talk to yourself.

12 Responses

    1. I did that. I may be the first person in the history of the universe to break into a house I didn’t own so I could “fix” it before buying it. I also patched a skylight and some peeling drywall on the bathroom ceiling.

  1. I remember feeling just like this when we bought our house 3 years ago. Well actually the panic didn’t set in until we actually had to live in it a month later. In that short time we had flooded the bathroom on the first floor (which caused some damage to the floor and drywall in the basement bathroom, still to be addressed), we ripped out almost all of the flooring on the first and second floor, and after moving in all of our belongings were piled up on the first floor leaving a path from the front door to the back door. Hoarders style. We had no fridge and no stove for two weeks and I cried one night when we learned the microwave didn’t work. Now they are just kinda funny and really crazy memories.

    Nikki Kelly @ the ambitious procrastinator

    1. It’s all a part of the adventure! That’s much harder to see the first time it happens, but after a decade of it, it’s kind of like… eh? This too shall pass. (Or else I’m going to get a can of gasoline and burn the effer down.)

  2. A list of responses (because bullet-points is all I can manage today):

    1. Nothing like giving the finger to the appraiser!!
    2. I talk to myself all…the…time. Most of the time, I am yelling at my ex-husband when I do it. And, no, I do not have anger issues.
    3. A peacock?? Hmm…
    4. I could not live through an Oklahoma summer without A/C. I hate the 114 million degree heat almost as badly as I hate to cold. Almost…
    5.I have a love affair with my heater and my electric blanket! It would be a bad day at my house if the heater quit.
    6. The toilet on the carpet just grosses me out. Grody!

  3. Would you please break in my house and repAint my downstairs? There is beer in the fridge that you can steal too.

  4. You can really turn a word.” I had enough adrenaline in my blood to give an elephant a piggy-back ride” that’s funny! How difficult would it be to add central ac? If we all click on your ads will that help toward a ac fund? Your posts give me so much pleasure. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Margaret! You don’t have to click on anything (that you don’t want to), the ads I run pay by visitor to this site, so just keep stopping by as long as you’re interested in what’s going on in my little corner of the universe!

  5. I stumbled across your website two days ago (thanks to the Staircase challenge) and I’m so glad I did. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I spent all yesterday compulsively reading the Liberty House Chronicles from beginning to present. Now that I’ve caught up with you in real time I’ll probably have to read my way through Garrison and Memorial House too (also, I have some seriously boring school work to procrastinate)

    I love DIY reno stuff and ADORE old houses. My dream is to eventually end up with pretty much exactly what you’ve got – an in-need-of-love-and-blood/sweat/tears farmhouse on a chunk of land that is MINE! But sadly right now I’m stuck finding people to live through vicariously as my own house won’t happen for a while. I’m in that awkward stage where I’m just finishing up grad school but have no real idea what will come next – where I’ll be living, where I’ll be working, if I’ll actually even have a proper job etc. Also, I’m not sure what real estate is like in Ann Arbor, but in Southern Ontario its deadly expensive =(

    Anyway, I’m blithering here but thanks so much for having this blog so that people like me can still get our renovation thrills!

        1. Hahaha. I loved your comment Jess, but the Jessica Rabbit thing is what totally cracked me up. (I have no idea where this thing pulls the avatars from… internet magic.)

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