The House Rules


A friend of this writer has just been given the keys to her new house. As she is a co-subscriber to Facebook, she will be reading this column. So here goes with the advice for the new home-owner…

a. Houses make noises. They make more when they are very new and very old. Things move and creak and occasionally thump. They also hiss and splash. You can start up wide awake and panic if you wish, and run around and try to find out what it was, but it will still happen again next week.

b. The paint that looked good in the shop will look different at home. Paint with it anyway – you will grow accustomed to it.

c. ” Easy Clean Up ” appears on many paint tins. It is a taunt by the paint maker.

d. Yes, that is a crack in the plaster. No, it is not your fault. It is also not the fault of the builder. It is the fault of the fault. Wait 5 years, plaster it over and paint again.

e. Not. Enough. Electrical. Points. I know you asked for 57 of them to be put in each room and the wiring loom looks like the CINFOC of the NIMITZ but you will still be trying to find a double adapter to plug in the coffee pot. Double adapters sales keep Bunnings in business.

f. It’s not raining now. One day it will. And you will discover if the gutters work. Every day is an adventure.

g. None of your furniture fits. Resign yourself to that. At least you are not trying to fit your stuff into a 5th floor apartment with a bay window.

h. That Mwahahahaha sound you hear is the local IKEA accountant. I’m not gonna tell you why…

i. You can close the front door from the inside and no-one can say you nay. This is one of the most powerful sources of pride and comfort you will ever have.

j. Every month you pay your mortgage, you own a little bit more. You are actually advancing, not retreating.

k. You can keep a pet. You can keep 2 pets. You can keep 18 pets. Legally. But you can’t keep ’em off the bed…

l. Lawn. Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.

m. If you don’t want a lawn, consider digging a gun emplacement.

n. After you put up curtains, you can run around the inside of the house in the nuddy. You can also do this before you put up curtains but expect a different sort of reaction from the neighbours.

o. Floor coverings are a breeze if you have enough pets. Just comb them until you reach the level of carpet that you need.

p. Neighbours have parties. Just like destroyers have sirens and steel mills have blast furnaces.

q. Expect to lose three mail boxes per decade to thieves. You wouldn’t expect the sort of people who steal mail boxes to be the sort of people who would actually get mail, so I reckon they sell them on to South America in a sort of a postal slave traffic. Possibly they make bongs out of them. I don’t know. If I ever discover where the mail box my late father made went to after the thieves took it, I am going to steal it back.

r. They also steal wheelie bins, plants, garden ornaments, and light fixtures.

s. An internal burglar alarm is a good investment. So is a revolver.

t. Good fences make good neighbours. Willy willys blow down good fences. Then you find out what your neighbours are really like.

u. Housewarming parties are fun if it is not your house.

v. The dog is going to become extremely territorial in the new house. This is as it should be. Give him a dirty old rolling and lolling place under a shady tree.

w. You cannot tell your neighbour what colour to paint their house. Be thankful that they are not from Finland. Finns have a colour sense that is bracing, to say the least…

x. Buy three of whatever light fitting you have selected as the feature for the front of the house. You will break it and Bunnings will never have a replacement. By buying three you can get at least a decade of style before having to drill more holes in the brick and trying to make the entry look good.

y. I’ll bet you thought that the drainage in the laundry was going to get rid of all the water. The mop’s in the closet.

z. Yes, I know the house has flyscreens. No, I don’t know how the mosquito got it. Here’s a thong*. Deal with it.

And welcome to the Homeowner’s Association.


* Flip-flop sandal for the North Americans…



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