well well well

Photograph of a piece of paper from a three-ring binder showing the location of the house's well.

I was going to title this “The kid is back!” because I have now successfully been away from my home for more than just one or two overnights, first time since 2019. Not sure this is a huge accomplishment but it feels huge to me because I’ve not only become a bit of a homebody but also, like many people, experienced a real change in how my life works both since COVID started but also since buying a house. I haven’t been down to my dad’s house for more than a day or two in far too long. There is some deferred maintenance there, putting it mildly, and also the boxes packed from my Mom’s house, a house which now belongs to some nice family who seem to be taking good care of it. How nice.

So it was a holiday week and then a work week and then a “work on unpacking those boxes” week. In one of them, I found an old three-ring binder that had a story. And after reading this recent blog post about Writing Documentation For Your Home I decided to write that story down.

I assume people know but in case you don’t: my mom passed away in 2017. We sold her house, the house I grew up in, finally in January of this year. This was mostly fine. She was always like “Eh live your life, don’t keep my house if you don’t want it.” and we didn’t, so we didn’t. One of the things we needed to do in order to sell the house was get the water tested. To do this we needed to find the house’s well. NO ONE knew where the well was. We had a vague idea but no specific notion. No living person remembered. No documentation existed anywhere obvious. We just Paid a Guy With An Excavator to figure it out. It went fine. We had to do a bunch of other work and I know Kate and I are very happy that’s all behind us.

But back to this week. I am at my dad’s place, the house we DID keep (he died in 2011) and as I’m unpacking one-of-many boxes I find a three-ring binder completely FULL of documentation. It had maybe been in the basement of my mom’s house, it had all the early plans for all the renovations my dad did back when they lived together up til about 1981 or so. She just put that stuff in a file cabinet and, I presume, forgot about it. All that stuff got moved to my dad’s and slowly unpacked. I found it about 18 months too late.

I bought my own house in August 2022. I have all the manuals which I keep in a folder or as PDFs on my computer. I have a list of all the major fixit work I’ve had done, and who did the work. I’m still maybe not cut out to be a homeowner but I do feel like I’m at least doing that part well.

What do you think?


  1. This post hits home on so many levels. We now own a home with a well and a septic tank. Our well was obvious but the tank was not. Bravo for your documentation.

  2. I had yo laugh when I saw this post… I have a hand drawn map almost identical to this one. It’s scotch taped to the inside of a kitchen cabinet next to the sink….