I have been gingerly wading into the deep scary world of the housing market. I have a real estate agent, I got a loan application (which made me throw up in my mouth a little), and tonight I’m looking at a bunch of likely homes.

I’m sure most people have anxiety over house purchases, but mine isn’t necessarily about mortgaging my life away–it’s about how on earth I’ll maintain a house. In the area where I want to be, new houses are scarce and expensive, so I’m looking at age ranges from the 1920’s to the 40’s. Which means that there’s a lot more maintenance to keep on top of. (It also means that when it’s paid off in 30 years and I’m 60, I’ll be in a hundred-year-old house. Along with my 15 cats.)

I know how to maintain the inside of a house, and I suppose things like cleaning out gutters and lawn mowing and winterizing and fixing holes in the roof aren’t rocket science, or most people’s homes would look a lot worse than they do. A reasonably intelligent person who’s good at following instructions and reading diagrams should be able to learn as she goes, right?