New home

Happy homeowners Tommy Gardner and Kristen Braley celebrate the first day of their domestic adventure.

Having lived our separate lives in other peoples’ places for more than 30 years, my girlfriend Kristen and I bought a house together. We closed on the place a year ago.

We spent the summer searching for houses, which is to say Kristen did the research and made appointments, and performed that strange dance known as “doing the paperwork.” I tagged along and tapped walls and flushed toilets and frequently said “hmmm.”

That division of responsibility really hasn’t changed much over the past 12 months.


Although we spent all summer touring homes with a Realtor/friend, we ended up going fizzbo — that’s apparently realty-speak for a FSBO/“for sale by owner” — on Frazier Road in Morrisville. We signed the paperwork and moved in Oct. 14. At the time, we were participating in one of those monthlong cleansing diets, so we still have the bottle of champagne the bank gave us.


You know what’s also still unopened? The paint we bought shortly after we moved in, and I notice it every day, because whoever previously occupied my office was apparently a Miami Dolphins fan, and the entire room is painted Dolphin orange, save for a 16-inch strip of Dolphin teal running along the length of one wall. As I sit and type this out, my skin looks like that of someone who used far too much fake tanner.

We are not overly ambitious when it comes to remodeling, mainly because we still entertain the idea that weekends are meant for going out and doing stuff.


My car died on the side of the road, so I had it towed right into the red and white outbuilding that we alternately call the garage, the shed and the barn. Every guy’s dream, right? A garage and a junk car to tinker with (spoiler alert: that’s not the dream of every guy’s domestic partner). This is about the time when I learned how nice it is to live just on the outskirts of the village, with a bus that runs at convenient hours between Morrisville and Waterbury.


All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.


Kristen’s to-do list system involves little blue sticky notes placed all over the house: Fix me. Paint me. Install this. Buy this. Move this to car. Vacuum pellet stove.

And as that stove runs 24 hours a day, the icicles hang down and curl under the weight of themselves, like a snow monster’s overbite.


Welcome to Loch Frazier.

Hey, honey, remember that time we went into the basement and there was an inch of water that seeped up from tiny cracks in the floor? That was a fun three weeks of sweeping and squeegeeing and counting the seconds between sump-pump sucks like a child measures the time between thunder and lightning.


It is decided. We’re going to buy a snowblower before next winter. In the meantime, freaked out by the water table rising into the basement, we — by which I mean my MacGyver-esque girlfriend — come up with all manner of methods of moving snow away from the house. Meanwhile the guy with the plow comes by and says, for about the 17th time that winter, “Sure you don’t need a quick pass through?”


Knotweed is the bane of my Kristen’s existence. Seriously, the zeal with which she goes after the stuff makes me very happy I’m not part of the knotweed family.

Speaking of family, I do not live up to my surname. I have no green thumb, and apparently, you have to plan gardens, and tend to them.


Hello, neighbors! When you move into a new home in mid-October, you get settled in, rake some leaves and meet the folks who live to the right of you and the folks who live to the left of you. Then you hunker in and wave over your snow shovel as other residents of your road wave through their car windows.


Hey, we have a deck. And cooking on the grill on a deck in your own new home is everything it’s supposed to be. We have family over for dinner and cook for them, and that is also everything it’s supposed to be.


Welcome to the family, Mr. Martin!

We adopted a black cat with a white tuxedo patch and we had him for all of 36 hours before he punched out the window in the bedroom on a rainy summer morning and bolted. After several hours of heart-wrenching searching, we got him back.


The adjoining property owner allowed us to take down a scrubby tree that blocked our view of Camels Hump. This time of year, the sun is starting to set south of due west, little by little as the days get colder and shorter. By the time the one-year anniversary of our homeownership comes around, the sunset will provide a backdrop to that champagne we never drank.

After stripping the old Subaru of all the parts that could go into the current one, I had the carcass scrapped, much to Kristen’s delight.

Now, I should really paint this room.

Show us you enjoyed this content by becoming a newspaper subscriber.

We use a Facebook Comments Plugin for commenting. No personal harassment, abuse or hate speech is permitted. Comments should be 1000 characters or fewer. We moderate every comment. Please go to our Terms of Use/Privacy Policy "Posting Rules and Interactivity" for more information.