There's no place like home

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By Calen McKinney

It's been just about a year since I left my parents' house and dove head first into homeownership.

If the past year has taught me anything, it's that you can never have enough money and there will always be something that needs fixing.

I've learned how to use a drill (and the strange looking accessories that go with that drill), that watering plants every day may not be good for them and that sump pumps aren't fun when they aren't working correctly.

I have also learned how to strategically manage money to make sure all the bills are paid on time and that I really should have saved a bit more before moving.

I now know quite a bit about mortgage interest rates, escrow accounts and that my dad is pretty good at bringing complicated financial discussions with important people down to my level.

I also now appreciate my mother teaching me the art of doing laundry several years ago and that she's only a phone call away with an answer to my questions of how to clean this, and what to do about that.

With two energetic cats, I have also learned that my kitchen and laundry room will have to be swept every day. After several tries, I've found the very best solution to clean a variety of various cat messes and stains - including the ones they hide from me and I find days or weeks after the fact.

I also now know a thing or two about mowing and lawn care, the most important being that I absolutely hate it, and I can't wait for winter.

I have also learned that the freedom teenagers yearn for is both a blessing and a curse when you finally get it.

On one hand, there's no one there telling you what to do or when to do it. On the other hand, there's no one there telling you what to do or when to do it.

I have also learned (even thought I was pretty good at it before I moved) how to productively manage my time. I've also picked up another job at Campbellsville University just to be sure I don't have too much downtime.

I set a goal for myself that I would move out of my parents' house before I finished my graduate degree or turned 25, whichever came first. I met that goal last year, but not without my parents' help.

We cleaned. We painted. We moved boxes and more boxes. We landscaped. We budgeted.

We shopped at local hardware stores - stores that I had never had the least bit of desire to go in - to buy items that I never even knew I would need.

We found a dependable handyman.

Overall, though, I guess the most important lesson I've learned is that while I don't live at "home" anymore and my parents are surprisingly perfectly able to live without me, there's really no true substitute for Mom and Dad's house.