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Home Depot opens at 6 AM.

I never thought I’d be the type of person for whom that is relevant information.

But there I was yesterday morning, before sunrise, walking through the orange-trimmed automatic doors. Sawdust, turpentine, fertilizer…it wasn’t exactly like the scent of freshly ground coffee beans, but this mix of smells was somehow energizing nonetheless. It smelled…productive.

These people, the ones that shop at Home Depot at 6:30 AM: they are project people. Trucks loaded up with sheetrock and plywood. Siding and trimming and big buckets of paint. Small machines intended for mysterious tasks about which I couldn’t even attempt to guess.

Me? I was there to buy an extension cord to expedite the process of steam mopping all of the floors in our new home. It needed to be done before the movers showed up later that morning. I’d spent several hours cleaning there the previous day, and had finally had become disgusted with the inefficiency of having to unplug the vacuum cleaner or steam mopper every ninety seconds to move it to a new outlet.

We closed on Friday afternoon, a week early. The deal of the century, the seller’s agent had remarked as we all gathered around an attorney’s conference table, and I’m not even blowin’ smoke up your asses.

No, yes, we knew it was a great deal, we said. My fingers were sore from being tightly crossed behind my back for the last month, waiting for something to go wrong. There were a few near-misses, like the time we almost backed out because we thought it needed a new roof. (Thankfully, it doesn’t!) But it did seem too good to be true. This magnificent house had sat vacant on the market for almost a year, despite a colorful history of bidders and would-be buyers. Why us? Why now?

Something about our ridiculously lowball offer spoke to the seller, perhaps? I guess it will always be a mystery.

Mapping out the logistics of moving in to the house, I’d always assumed we would pay people to go in and clean beforehand. The house, in spite of its magnificence, was….well, it was pretty disgusting. A year of neglect will do that to even the handsomest of structures.

But when we moved up the closing date (and subsequent moving date), there was no longer time to hire cleaners. Oddly, though, I relished the idea of doing it myself. I hate cleaning, but there was something almost romantic about getting to know the house square foot by square foot, going over each and every dusty floorboard, learning every scuff and squeak of the place that’s now home.

So all weekend I swept and scrubbed and sucked up bugs: belly-up beetles turned crispy from months in a sunny windowsill, surprised little spiders crouching in corners. I cursed at unexpected cascades of dust coming off of high shelves; I scowled at stains and spots of paint that refused to succumb to my scouring.

But mostly I smiled. It still seems too good to be true. I love our house.

And to all of you Home Depot early-dwellers, you project people with your 2X4s and mysterious little machines?

Perhaps one day I’ll join your club, if you’ll have me.

18 responses to “Home

  1. Congratulations on closing! You must be so excited. I’m not a homeowner, but I know it can be strangely rewarding to move into a new place and clean it yourself–it let’s you know you really are going to live there. Plus, all that cleaning is great cross-training.

  2. Congrats! Such a great feeling, huh?

    Btw, not only did I know that home depot opens at 6, but my daughters first outing was there at two weeks old. Embrace the depot. Lol

  3. Congratulations on closing! That’s so exciting :) I never thought I’d be a 6 AM Home Depot person, but home ownership does weird things to you.

  4. “These people, the ones that shop at Home Depot at 6:30 AM: they are project people.”
    Or people whose refrigerators went out during the night. :/

    Congrats!! I love the wood floors. Can’t wait to see the whole house tour (and I really mean that!) Our house was a mess when we moved in too. We had to expedite closing/moving too, because we didn’t have anywhere to live and were flat broke when we got here. Hah. Not even kidding. (Doesn’t explain how the previous owners apparently never managed to clean during the previous 15 years they lived there, however.)

  5. Congrats! I look forward to seeing more of your home.

  6. Congratulations on the new hizzouse!

  7. Congrats on the house!! :)

  8. Can’t wait for roof top cocktails!

    Let’s revisit this post in 6 months and see if you’re still so enamored with The Depot. :)

  9. I am not lying when I tell you that my life is now in a place where I look forward to trips to Lowe’s and Home Depot. Just the smell gives me goosebumps.
    And our house was SO FUNK when we moved into it, you’d think the family before us killed someone and had to flee the country. It was horrible cleaning up after them and their 2 kids.
    Also I applaud your phenomenal use of alliteration throughout this post. A girl after my own heart <3

  10. Enjoy your new home!

  11. Congratulations!! I’m so glad everything worked out for you guys. Can’t wait to see more details of your new home. Happy cleaning. :)

  12. Congratulations!

    I love wood floors and would give anything to have them in my apartment. Enjoy them!

  13. Congrats on the house! I can’t say I’ve ever been at the Depot that early, but I HAVE been there close to midnight. Not something that I really feel the need to do again!

  14. I must be a terrible home-owner – I’ve never graced home depot or Lowes w/ my presence that early in the morning. Nothing I need to do needs to get done so early.

    Congrats on the new house! Exciting!

  15. oooh, congrats on the house, Shelby! That must be an amazing feeling :) And haha, my dad is totally one of those “project people,” though some of his projects always remain a mystery to me… I think he just likes finish said project and drink beer before 10:00 a.m.

  16. Ahhh, the finer points of home ownership.

    Congrats on your new home!

  17. Congrats! Our house was a little disheveled when we moved in. It has a certain character being from 1950 and all.