When you build a house, you expect the big stuff.
You expect the stress. You expect the tons of research you have to do to find the best ways to do things ("best" being a subjective term, of course.) You expect the great crews and the endless nit-picky Things that Go Wrong (tm). And, of course, you expect a final product to make you drool.
Now, I've moved a fair amount in my life. I've packed, unpacked, repacked and settled in more places than I can count. Each time, I moved into a pre-owned (as they say in the car sales industry) home. There were things that needed changing to my taste, but nothing really extensive. What I never experienced was all the things that you don't think about that are essential to a home, and which you have to think about when you build your own.
Curtain rods for the shower. Curtain rods for the windows. Toilet paper holders. I mean, really -- when was the last time you thought about toilet paper holders? Towel bars. Drawer organizers. Drawer pulls. Cabinet pulls. Door knobs.
All kinds of little things that, well, are simply there when you move into a house. Normally, I mean.
So, you square your shoulders and do as our illustrious president urges us to do in the face of any crisis: You go shopping.
Now, it's been 15 years since my last move (and to think I used to move every year or two!) 15 years ago, if I needed anything, I went to Sears. (<music> "Sears ... has everything" </music>) In a pinch (time, money or availability) I went to K-Mart, Venture or Wards. (Being a Sears brat, the last is always difficult for me to do.) If I were feeling extravagant, I'd go to Marshall Field's (now, unfortunately, called Macy's.) And in the store, there would be nice people who knew their department (the home furnishings/decorating department) well, and would spend time helping me find, decide on and purchase everything I came for, and other things that I didn't even think of.
That, I see now, is the Old Way (tm). Now, you go to a store, any store; you wander about trying to find anything resembling a department, you see one or two items that vaguely meet the definition of What I Am Looking For, stifle your gag reflex, and go home, defeated.
"Ah, but there's always the Internet," I hear you calling. Yep. Exactly. The internet. All shopping is now done by Internet.
I enjoy shopping by Internet. I buy books, CDs, DVDs and an occasional item now and then. I love it. But these are all things that I already know I want, know exactly which one I want, and have a good idea of what it is worth.
When you're not even sure what you are looking for, the Internet can be an overwhelming place. And you have to judge by a picture. It's amazing how often a color in a picture does not match the real thing.
So, I have now found all the S.T.R.E.S.S (tm) in home-building that everyone was talking about. It's not in the actual building part of the project. For that part, you sit back, direct, and leave it all to someone else to make happen. No, the stress comes when it's all in your own hands, and you find out just how, um, inadequate those hands are.
Yep. This has been a learning experience, all right.