Having a home means that it is your problem if something breaks. If you are a renter, the problem is often solved with a quick call to the manager or a trip downstairs to knock on the door of the super. The most important skill one needs to have to be a renter is communication. Important. Vital, even. That is exactly how I got a new dishwasher installed in my one bedroom apartment back in my bachelor days. A few weeks before I moved out, on my way to California with an achin' in my heart, I had a couple friends over for some celebratory ice cream sundaes. All those months and years of living alone had not afforded me that many dishes, but here I was with more than a few dishes in the sink and a chance at last to use the automatic dishwasher that had never been necessary before. And when I did, the water that poured out from the cracked and dried out seal left an inch of water in my kitchen, and began to soak into the carpet in the hallway and dining room. I called the manager immediately and I went down the stairs to pound on the maintenance guy's door to tell him that the flood waters were rising.
I had remembered to shut off the dishwasher before I did any of that. Showing off what would be my strong suit as a home owner: common sense. Which is where I found myself once again after I had discovered that those cute little raccoons had been scarfing up all our strawberries. With no one else to turn to, I went to the garage where I kept the tools of my avocation. I put together a hanging pot to keep our fruit out of those clutching claws. I added this triumph to that of the slow flushing toilet in our bathroom I had wrangled into submission a day before and the load of laundry I had completed earlier that day. What a flurry of home management.
When at last I was on my way back inside when my wife came up the stairs behind me and pointed to one. "Are those termites?"
And that's when I wished that I was renting again. But there was no one else to call. This was my moment to head back to the garage and grab the tools that would help me deal with this new problem. On the plus side, the dishwasher was still working. Last time I checked, anyway.