Coming Home

I returned home to Rotorua last week. I was so looking forward to moving out of the rental property in Wellington, which gets very little sun and had several other issues, and back into the house I owned. I was expecting it to be a bit more tired and needing TLC than when I left it, and I also knew of some damage that needed addressing from the first tenants. Unfortunately, I was met with a disappointing state of the house, with it turning out the second tenants were just as bad as the first. The house was filthy, and so many things need repairing or replacing. I was heart broken and angry. This is not how I expected my homecoming to go. I also had plans to spend the long weekend unpacking and settling in, leaving me with one and a half weeks to put towards continuing to recover from burnout. Instead, I’ve been having to clean everything so I can use rooms and put things away, so I still have a long way to go until I have finished unpacking. I’ve had the handyman/builder out for some urgent repairs and the plumber is coming tomorrow for some other urgent repairs. At best, the tenants didn’t bother to tell me when things broke or issues arose, so that I could get them fixed before too much damage occurred. At worst, they broke things and didn’t want to own up before they moved out.

Since I came back there has been a bad smell where there shouldn’t be, and the carpet looked disgusting. So bad that I almost didn’t want to walk on it with bare feet, and anything that is dropped or set down on it for even a few seconds immediately goes to be washed. Today, I made it to Bunnings (big hardware store, for those of you not familiar with the NZ and Oz chains) and picked up the necessary tools to rip the carpet up – along with a whole lot of other things I need for repairs. I probably should have done more unpacking this afternoon, but I wanted that carpet gone. Well, the hallway carpet at least, the rest will have to wait a bit longer. And as soon as I lifted the first part of the carpet, I could see that I hadn’t been imagining the smell. Oh man was this foul. And of course the smell was stronger as I lifted it.

Manky carpet, with the underside showing that something unpleasant has soaked through it

And it was like this the entire length of the hall. In some places, even worse. And the underlay was just as bad. Just removing these from the house has made a massive difference to the appearance and smell. I managed to get about a quarter of the hall cleared of staples, with the rest to be done tomorrow morning. And luckily, as you can see, the floors are already finished, so I don’t have to worry about hurrying to get them sanded and protected. Yes, they’ll need to be redone, but for now they are fine.

Carpet free hallway, but still lots of staples to remove

Unfortunately, the brand new pliers didn’t hold up too well to all the work, but hopefully they’ll last at least until I have cleared the staples from the hallway as I’d rather not have to go back to Bunnings for a couple of days.

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While the carpet removal was a happy event, a not so happy event was my discovery in the hall cupboard while I was yanking the carpet up.

Yep, that’s looking like a serious leak. Luckily, I already had the plumber coming out to deal with some other urgent repairs, so this will be just one more to add to that list.

While I was at Bunnings, I also picked up some paint chips. It’s too wet to paint at the moment, but as soon as we get some dry days that coincide when I’m home, I’ll be painting my front door. My way of reclaiming my house and dispelling some of the negativity. I had an idea of what type of colour I wanted for the door, so picked up a few selections from three different brands and taped them to the door for the day to help me decide. I think I’ve narrowed it down to 4, so those ones are now taped to the inside of my door so I can pick the winner.

Several different shades of teal or teal-adjacent paint chips taped to the front door

The door frame will be painted white, but there is also the cladding around the porch that needs painting. It’s currently cream, but I want to change it up. I started off thinking grey, but got a couple of other ideas when in the paint chip isle.

Shades of grey and a couple of light sea-mist type colours, taped to cladding

I’ve decided the winner is the second from the bottom in the middle column. It’s “sea bubbles”. I’m tempted to use it for inside walls too, but that is several months away from needing to be done and I’m sure I’ll have different ideas by then.

What I don’t have a photo of is the underside of the eaves and the painted section under each window. I’ve picked out a colour from one of the above paint chips for that too. But you’ll have to wait and see which one, as that isn’t a high priority task – the windows come first (and I’ve got a call in to get someone out to quote repair vs replace).

Another job this week is to change the handles in the kitchen (please excuse the mid-unpacking mess in the photos). As you can see, there are some missing handles. And they are a pain to open without ones. So I bought enough for all of the cupboards and drawers you see here, plus the ones that you don’t. I think I might be short two, but I could easily use a different handle for the pantry (the handles came in packs of 4, and I didn’t see any option to buy them singly).

Unfortunately, the cupboard doors along the bottom aren’t in the best shape, but I can’t afford to replace the kitchen for quite some time yet. I’ve decided to help distract from the problems and to give it a nice little face lift, I’m going to paint all the doors and drawer fronts with chalk paint. I’ve picked the colour and can’t wait. Hopefully next month will see some sun in Rotorua to allow for all of the painting and lacquering. But a delay helps me build up some more cash to pay for that paint, since at the moment it feels like money is flowing away alarmingly fast.

So, coming home wasn’t quite what I expected it to be, and five days later I still find myself trying not to get angry or upset with each new discovery, or even when I look at something I already knew about. But each thing I do that improves things a bit more from what it was, the more I feel I am making this house my own again, and erasing the presence both lots of tenants have left behind.

Unfortunately, the brand new pliers didn’t hold up too well to all the work, but hopefully they’ll last at least until I have cleared the staples from the hallway as I’d rather not have to go back to Bunnings for a couple of days.

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