My $150,000 windfall arrived like a boon from another planet, one wholly intent upon the happiness of a single inhabitant of Earth: me! A Philadelphia native, sunny California still called my name as loudly as it had when I was six years old and I told my father, “I’m moving to California!”
After an exhaustive search, I found foreclosure.com and my dream home. It was a white two-bedroom two-bath built into a Laguna Hills knoll that bordered Irvine. My boyfriend, Justin, who was studying computer science at the local University of California, could finally stop paying rent! It was perfect, with one caveat; it needed a little work!
A scraggly Joshua tree guarded our tiny front yard, swaying heavily in the balmy ocean breeze. Our new home was a short sale, one where the bank assumed a previous owner’s remaining mortgage. The bank’s major design was never to be a landlord, so the entire package only cost $64,900! This totaled $72,688 after closing fees and taxes.
I have Type I Diabetes, and my father had two weeks vacation, so he volunteered to help me move and remodel if I flew him home. No problem! We easily established that I needed my lightweight pickup truck, so we hauled everything. This included my black iron sleigh-bed with pillow top, dishes, furniture, computer, books, clothing, desk, and sixty-five pound scared-of-thunder-backfires-wind-and-big-rigs rescued greyhound, Abel: instant 2,703 mile adventure!
The 4x8’ cargo trailer U-haul cost $420.00. Abel comfortably perched atop my towels behind my truck seats while my dad, a mechanical engineer, ate and slept through the eastern states. We split driving schedules, so we didn’t need a motel room. My red stick shift had a ten gallon tank and averaged twenty-seven miles/gallon highway. We attained 200 miles per fill with weight and fourteen fills to approach Irvine. With gas averaging $5.00 per gallon, reaching my new home with my dog and possessions meagerly cost $1,500. That left $75,812 from my windfall.
Upon arrival, I promptly made a to-do list. Because the house was functionally empty, our priorities were windows, walls, floors, and doors in that order. My father, Justin, and I had the upstairs master bathroom and bedroom combination, dining room, hallway, and kitchen to tackle, as well as the downstairs corridor, second bedroom and bath combination, and the family room. I was nervous but exhilarated and ready to work!
Lofty and surveying the yard from the upper floor of our split-level, our double-hung windows leaked slightly. They also visually divided the full-length panes. California required low solar heat ratings, an incoming measure, and low U factor, which estimated energy loss through the window unit. I chose unadorned low emittance long panes.
My simple windows allowed focus on efficiency and capitalization on the remaining nine days with my dad; we needed three for installation. Each window cost $400.00. ...