Me, I haven't gone Christmas shopping in the last few years. Last year, I mailed out homemade baked goods, and the year before, I think I sent out stuff from a Harry & David's catalog. This year I figure on doing baked goods again. What the heck, everyone I know I does eat. I'm not much good for picking out gifts for most people.
So instead of shopping, I'm spending my day off at home, with Yet More People Doing Work on My House. I was up to a total of five strange men in my house, at one point; now I think I'm down to just two.
The two who've just left were my plumber and his son. They installed a new hot water heater, a new gas valve, and some other new pipes that needed fixing. I also got the plumber to install the hot water hose for my new washing machine. When I moved in, the hot water tap for the washing machine had an old half-painted and corroded hose dangling off of it. The folks who installed my washer/dryer determined that this was because the hose had rusted in place on the faucet and could no longer be removed. They screwed it into the new washing machine, but warned me that I'd want to replace it, and left behind the new hose with which to do so. They seemed to think this was something I should do myself, but, hah, that's what I pay highly-trained professionals for.
Or, not pay them, in this case. The plumber had to saw at the hose to split it before he could remove it, and then dig the new gasket out of the old pipe (at first, we couldn't figure out where the gasket from the new pipe had gone -- obviously, the washer people had needed it to hook up the washer at all), then clean the rust off the faucet so he could get the new hose screwed on. He didn't tell me how much it would cost before he did it because, as with the sump pump, he wasn't going to charge me for fixing it. I like my plumber.
In addition to the water heater, I'm getting a new furnace, a new programable thermostat, a humidifier, an A-coil (for the new A/C I'm bound to get sooner or later; the A-coil goes in above the furnace so it's easiest to do that while they're doing the furnace) and, I think, a new return installed in the basement. The basement has three finished rooms (four if you count the bathroom) but only two returns, with the result that the place is always five-eight degrees colder than the first floor. So the plan is to put a return between the furnace closet and the main basement room, whcih is the one that doesn't have one. Randy, my HVAC fellow, said he didn't know if there'd be time to do it today. But they've already sawed a hole for it, so I guess they're planning to do it. I suppose if I were a really with-it and together homeowner, I'd ask, instead of just trusting them to do their jobs.
I'm a homeowner.
I still haven't quite gotten used to this idea yet. The plumber's son, a nice young man who looked about college age, called me "ma'am". All of this work -- furnaces and water heaters -- is being paid for with money I earned. The downpayment on the house was made with money I earned. I'm responsible for it.
And yet, some part of me -- a very large part of me -- still feels like a teenager living with her parents. These men in the basement are surely not working for me, and surely there's someone else they're supposed to ask about where to put the new return and the ventilation grill.
But, no, it's me. It's all me. I'm not a kid any more.
I just feel like one.