“Why is your McMansion always broken?” my sister asked. I DON’T KNOW BUT HERE IS AN ANECDOTE.
We are renters. Why? Because if we bought a house here and I had to tell people this was my home for the next 30 years I would string myself up from the rafters. I can’t wait for this assignment to be done. Eric keeps telling me that “you gotta take the first crappy assignment then you have a better chance of picking where you want to go next time.” Uh huh.
I was finishing up my job in Seattle because my boss was a vicious tyrant who wouldn’t let me leave. (Actually, it was more like the company takes a million years to hire and vet people then I had to train him.) Eric had to be at his assignment in May and I wasn’t going to be able to leave until July. This left the action of securing housing up to him.
We had JUST found a house to rent in WA after a couple months of searching and passionately discussing where to live and I loved it and our neighborhood. I was bitter. Like a good K8-wrangler, he kept sending me posts of houses in the new location from Rent.com, Trulia.com, All the things.com, and was starting to wear me down. The wife of one of his coworkers is a realtor and offered to show him some properties. More links. Fine, does it have at least 1.5 bathrooms? Yes? Uh huh, fine, book it. Eric only had a week or so in the hotel or housing they provided when he moved out so he needed to find a place fast. I was too distracted with my job, finishing up my certificate classes, and generally freaking out about what was next.
Pictures of the house looked good – lots of hardwood, high ceilings, two-car garage, stainless steel kitchen, garden tub, 2.5 bathrooms, and a bonus room. This was way more house than either of us were used to and it felt fancy.
When our furniture arrived about a week after we did post Wedding Road Trip and we started setting up, it started to feel awesome. It’s not really “our house” but when people come to visit they will be all “holy shit, this is a cool house!” YEAH, it LOOKS cool.
The electrical, it’s always the fucking electrical.
It started with the ceiling fans in the master bedroom and the upstairs bonus room. They weren’t working at all. Not the lights, not the fans. They have a remote instead of a regular wall switch so at first the batteries were replaced. Nothing. So Eric put in an online maintenance ticket and a few days later a guy came to check.
“Uhhhh, they aren’t wired.” We both looked at each other stupidly, as in “how the fuck aren’t they wired?” He takes both of them and was going to check with the owner. She wanted them replaced. Roughly a week later, two ceiling fans arrive by mail but no word from the electrician. His wife, a lovely older Southern woman, finally called after another week to ask if they arrived. He came back and installed them. Super, work great.
Light bulbs. CONSTANTLY burning out. I don’t think a single bulb was ever replaced before we moved in. At first I thought it was just Eric being quirky. He’s super finicky about household things so I thought he was just buying bulbs that matched but nope. For the first two months we lived here I’m pretty sure every shopping trip included more fucking light bulbs.
Heating and cooling. I don’t know exactly what it was but some “switch” under the house went out right before Christmas. We were in WA visiting family when the power company called Eric to inform him that our usage had spiked and they crawled under the house and a switch was faulty. They fixed it but not before we got a $600 electric bill for that month. And right now this very moment I’m sitting upstairs in the bonus room at my desk with the temperature slowly climbing because the air conditioner isn’t working. Oh boo hoo, right? Let me describe Southern summers for you: Heat your oven to high, whatever the highest temperature is. Take a wet towel and put it in the oven. Live in the fucking oven. Amazing. It does nothing for my hair.
My favorite issue was the light above the mailbox. We don’t have street lights on the actual street. There is one on the corner. We are the second house from the corner. Every house on this asses-to-elbows street has a light on the mailbox for “safety” and it’s fine. The fascist Property Owners Association though will give you a ticket if your light is out.
Eric bought new bulbs. Eric bought a new switch for the sensor box. Eric made K8 fucking nuts talking about the mailbox light. He succumbed and put in a maintenance ticket. I believe this was a bit before Thanksgiving, somewhere in late October or early November. I don’t recall the exact number but I believe 4,682 people came to look at the light, inspect the box, check the ground wires, and then leave and do nothing. We heard nothing for months.
The realty company emailed us a couple weeks ago to see if it was fixed and I laughed so hard I might have popped a rib. “Ok, we are sending a crew between 1pm and 3 pm on Thursday.” Super, I will be here.
Like an idiot, I get up “early” so I can do my morning introverting, workout, and be showered before they show up. FALSE. Shiner starts growling at 10 am just as I am about to change into workout clothes so I do the routine where I check all the windows to show him that no one is trying to murder us…except there are four dudes on my front lawn with ladders and gadgets.
“Four dudes, one light” should be a viral Internet video where someone lights his butt on fire trying to light a fart but instead it’s just the usual contractor overkill. Me being the naturally delightful person that I am, I put on a sweatshirt and attempt to fix my Troll hair and let them know they are super fucking early. “Yes, ma’am. No worries ma’am. We’re just here to check then someone else will be here later to dig.”
Great, a multi-pronged approach to the mailbox light. At some point I look out the window to check and there is one guy on a ladder. Then he leaves. Saga over. I change and go upstairs to do my workout…for five minutes until the doorbell rings.
Super nice guy. Agrees they built the neighbors’ house way too close. Idiots, right?! Replaced the ground line and laid down new sod for the lawn…thanks! Go back upstairs and destroy my delts.
Email Eric and let him know the light is fixed and he got new sod! He LOVES yard work. I think it’s his Norwegian side. Fucking loves manual labor, that guy.
“What does it look like?” UGH, never just a thanks from him. Always the detective questions.
I had to take Shiner out anyway so we went outside to inspect the work. DEAD. The sod looks like they dug up some old, dead grass from somewhere and flopped it down. Eric worked on the lawn so much because I may or may not have been letting Shiner pee on the 14×4 strip of front lawn and the grass was all dead and he just started to get it even and then they dug it up and put down this embarrassment of sod and he was at least going to have something to keep him busy but I laughed all the way back into the house because irony.
These are just a few of my favorite McMansion issues. This doesn’t include all the slightly-crooked tiles, broken tiles, countertops that are pulling away from the vanity and wall, the fact that there are NO WINDOWS on the entire west side of the house…If that little realtor trickster had somehow convinced Eric to buy this and we were stuck with all this nonsense and no natural light I would probably move back to WA and live in my Golf with Shiner. You can do that there.