Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2012 1:54:58 PM
My homeowner needs have evolved over 40 years of owning homes in three different states (geographic). In recent years, however, my top three can’t-live-without-‘em needs are unquestionably (1) my wife, (2) the Internet and (3) the telephone. Although I’ve numbered them 2 and 3, the Internet and telephone are actually tied for priority ranking.
My wife has been first on my homeowner-needs list since we first shared a home, and not because she may read this. Although she does calm me down when homeowner issues arise, my list is purely utilitarian.
I can twist a screwdriver and grip pliers under duress, but I’m more of an analytical, think about it person. When it comes to fixing or modifying or going out there to sweat and get dirty, I leave it to my wife. A Wisconsin farm girl, she takes pleasure in grabbing her electric drill, strapping on her tool belt or pre-selecting the appropriate tools from her--not my--inventory, and jumping right at it. (She just went outside to do the lawn, whatever “do” means.)
Over the past ten or so years, the Internet has leapfrogged to Number 2 on my short list, tied with the telephone. The Internet has become indispensable for obtaining instructions on completing repairs (to share with my wife); identifying appropriate tools, appurtenances or materials (yep, for wife); and especially, choosing contractors for the big stuff, such as new siding or serious plumbing.
To illustrate the last, I know there are too many possible plumbers to interview when the water heater’s leaking. We like our neighbors but should we trust their choice of plumber? Well, I just checked the online consumer rating service we use, and, in less than 2 minutes, I saw detailed ratings of 143 plumbers that serve our area. In a matter of seconds, I screened the 143 plumbers to those rated top for quality (41), top for price (20), and...ta-dah...top for quality and price (10). Now we’re getting somewhere.
Lastly, I pay homage to the telephone. Note, I didn’t say smartphone or cellphone. My wife may live, breathe and take nourishment from her smartphone, but my cellphone is quite comfortable conversing with the flashlight in my car’s glove compartment.
From the moment I was inducted into the World Homeowners’ Club, I have employed the telephone for homeowner emergencies, to discuss or schedule homeowner services, or to determine how much longer I’ll have to wait for that highly rated plumber, who’s already an hour late.
Long ago, as I was recovering from ice damming that soaked our living room, a neighbor reminded me that a house starts falling apart immediately after it’s built. If I must be a homeowner, I’m fortunate to have my wife, the Internet and the telephone.