I feel like I have to…

I feel like I have to preface this by saying that I know that we're in a recession, and probably most people reading this are struggling with finances in one way or another right now, and if you're one of the one in five Americans who have been laid off and are still unemployed, I'm so sorry. It must be irritating, perhaps even infuriating, reading me nattering on about buying things. I feel vaguely guilty every time I post an entry that involves shopping.

But a large part of my life right now is the necessity to buy a lot of stuff, including stuff that I don't even know if I want but am required to buy, such as drain tile. And I do want to document this whole nutty process, especially for anyone else foolish enough to consider buying a foreclosure and then doing a gut renovation. (My friend Venu said that when she first heard what I was doing, she thought it sounded like fun, and like something she might want to do...and after a few months of hearing about all the details, she realized it was way more work and way more time-consuming than she wanted to take on. So that's one person saved, at least.)

I admit, I'm getting a little overwhelmed by just how much stuff there is to buy for the house. I mean, you know lights can be expensive, right? But then you realize you need, like a hundred different lighting fixtures, and then you're talking crazy money. (That's just for the fixtures, of course -- not the bulbs or the actual wiring that leads to each fixture -- that's more.) It's all in the budget, and if I can just resist the urge to buy the prettiest things and stick to things that will work fine, we should be okay.

But I don't want to buy super-cheap things that we'll just end up replacing, because that seems wasteful -- the frugal New Englander in me says the fiscally prudent thing to do is buy the highest quality item that we can afford, because that's the one that will last decades (or longer). Making those decisions over and over again is a constant struggle (especially when I have to take Kevin's opinions into account, which I do on pretty much every item). It makes me tense.

I woke up early this morning from a stress dream about lighting fixtures and ceiling fans. We need four of them. I think I like this one:

It's a little funky, a little steampunky. Too funky? Maybe just for one bedroom, and something more traditional in the others, like the one below?

I think when I started this, I thought all the shopping would be fun. And it is sometimes. But mostly, tense and stressful.

4 thoughts on “I feel like I have to…”

  1. Don’t feel guilty. You are putting people to work and stimulating the economy. And I am having lots of vicarious fun reading about your renovation. Like your friend, I kind of think it would be fun to do what you’re doing. However, I also know that it’s very stressful, having watched people go through it, so it’s better to read about someone else’s renovation than do your own.

    Our family has actually done well financially in 2009-2010, so I share your sense of weirdness and discomfort. In fact, we are contemplating a bit of a lifestyle upgrade by moving into a larger house (so we could end up with a foreclosure/renovation, too!). However, I never, ever forgot how lucky we are, and am conscious of a responsibility to use our resources wisely. (Which includes making sure our family is secure so we don’t become a burden on others.)

  2. I personally dislike lamps where you can see the bulb, as in your second example, the ceiling fan. I want to see light coming through a shade, not a bare bulb. Just my opinion.

    Also, making the same sorts of decisions over and over again does strain your brain, as you know from having moved multiple times in one year. Deadlines allowing, give yourself days off from house decisions now and again. Hopefully you’ll come back to all those details with a refreshed perspective.

  3. A relative had to replace a frig and after the fact someone suggested tracking down a foreclosure-to-be for that. I guess because owners are stripping the house of anything with value before it reverts back to the bank.

  4. If the choice is between the cool fan and the boring fan, spend the money and stimulate the economy.

    Quite frankly, I rather enjoy reading about your spending ways these days. I prefer to spend other people’s money and listening to you talk about it is much like that… Spend away, my friend!

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