When my husband and I recently went from apartment dwellers to homeowners , we knew there was a significant amount of responsibility involved. Anything that requires dropping a chunk of change, signing your name in at least 50 places and having an end date of 2040 (gasp!) is not to be taken lightly.
So we were well aware of the financial responsibility that home ownership would bring. What we might not have been prepared for? The aching muscles. The sweat. The exhaustion.
We weren’t terribly naive. We’d watched HGTV. We knew that getting a room painted or pulling out old nasty carpet wasn’t easy. But on HGTV, they kind of gloss over some of those parts, instead quickly leaping ahead to the finished product. And they never show you how sore those workers are the next morning.
It starts with the move itself. Even with movers helping, there is a lot of box moving, lifting and unloading to be done. After a day spent helping the movers unload boxes, I tiredly asked the movers if they ever worked out. After all, if you’re spending your days walking and lifting boxes, do you really need to exercise? Turns out, one of the movers did work out a lot; I guess your muscles get used to the daily grind?
Once we were in the house, we began adjusting to having SPACE. After living in a maybe 600-square-foot apartment in California, we’d upgraded to about 800 square feet in a rental while we were house shopping in New Jersey. So to have a WHOLE HOUSE, with a second floor and a basement? We were exhausted just walking around. Not to mention that doing laundry necessitates going down two flights of stairs and walking the length of the house twice. PHEW. Plus, as we’re still living in a state of chaos, I make about 10 trips a day up and down the stairs, looking for something or fetching something I forgot on another floor.
Then there is the remodeling. For the first time in our adult lives, we have been able to paint the walls of our living quarters. With color! As it happens, our house is super old, so not only do we have to paint each room, we’re also painting ceilings, door frames, baseboards—you name it, it’s getting a fresh coat of paint. Do you know what great exercise painting is? If you don’t, you should try it (and know that painting and taking out carpet can both burn more than 300 calories an hour if you’re 150 pounds). I even invented a new Paint Squat move. When my arms are about to fall off from rolling paint on the walls, I take it to the thighs: Keeping my arm in one position, I squat and stand, squat and stand for maximum paint coverage and minimal arm movement. This works great until the legs get tired; then you just need a full-body break.
Then there is the snow! We recently got hit hard by about 16 inches of snow. Luckily, my hubby got a mid-week snow day, so we spent some quality time together shoveling. There was just no keeping up with the snowfall. We ended up shoveling our driveway and sidewalks three times in one day. Plus, I had to clear a path for the dog in the backyard as she would have been swallowed by the snow. Do I even need to tell you how sore we were the next day?
So yeah. If you’re looking to buy a house, know all about the financial responsibility. That’s the most important part. But start working out now so that you’re prepared to put in that sweat equity. I’m not complaining, though. It’s a lot of hard work, but when you see the finished product and a perfectly painted room, it’s worth every sore muscle. Now I just can’t wait for it to warm up so we can start the lawn mowing and gardening workouts. —Erin