Welcome to homeownership.

In my last home update, I reflected on how my contradicting desires to fill boxes completely and to only have like items in each box were becoming a problem.  As most of you probably guessed, as the move date drew nigh, both of those things went out the window and I was just throwing stuff everywhere. At the end of the day, the job is to get stuff in boxes and the job has to be done.  

In the course of the past few months, homeownership has taught me a few other lessons (which have kept me too occupied to blog regularly). I have included some of these learning experiences below.  

You get what you pay for.

  • The cheapest movers are cheapest for a reason.  What you save in money, you lose in time patching walls and touching up furniture.

If it looks like it’s not going to fit, it probably isn’t going to fit.

  • I spent the first two weeks at the new house with my basement couch in my garage and ended up having to remove part of a wall to get it into the house.

When the finish line is in sight, keep an eye out for tripping hazards. 

  • Just when we were getting things in place, our basement flooded.  Of course, we had put everything that had yet to find a home in the basement. So, my wonderful wife (who was extremely sick that day) had to move all of those very heavy items upstairs while I drove like a madman to Home Depot to get more pumps that in the end did nothing.

When 99% of experts agree, they are probably right.

  • After the rain flooded our carpeted/padded basement, I did some online research about saving the carpet.  Of course, everyone said it was impossible but I decided I could do it.  After spending a week of time and too much money vacuuming, heating, cooling, dehumidifying, and disinfecting, I tore out the carpet.

Sometimes quality isn't pretty.

  • There is this old sink in our laundry room with paint all over it.  My untrained eye said it was just a piece of junk the last owners put in and we should replace it.  I then looked at the bottom of it and saw it was dated 2/11/5.  That would be 2/11/1905.  The sink had been there for 110 years and was still going strong.  I think it is worth the time to clean it up a bit.

You cannot predict the future.

  • In each of the above cases, what I had planned for is not what ended up happening. I had very good reasons to believe my expectations were correct—they just weren’t. This again proves my rule that you plan based on your best informed judgment but must react based on the actual conditions. My basement has 2 sump pumps and an ejector pump.  There is no way I should have gotten any water down there. That isn’t what happened. Rather than ruminating on how my assumptions on the likelihood of flooding could have been so wrong, I dealt with the water coming in.  This is the obvious answer in this scenario.  However, in the business world, there usually isn't two inches of water to deal with. In those situations, there is a temptation to spent too much time trying to figure out how we were wrong rather than fixing the problem at hand. Brainstorming causes can be done later. Right now it is time move your photo albums and start bailing water.

Best Regards,


Len Musielak

P.S. Also, in the past two months I have decided to pursue my MBA at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Executive Program.  I will have more on that sometime soon.