When my parents passed on, they left me with a small sum of money. I wasn’t going to be the real world’s Bruce Wayne, but I did get enough to afford a down payment on a house. That was seven years ago today, and if I compared a picture of the house now compared to then, you’d never believe they were the same building! I went with a cheap house that needed tender, constant care to restore it to its former glory. The work was cut out for me, too, since most of the work to be done involved the HVAC system. The ductwork in the attic was torn apart from years of neglect and pest interference, the outdoor compressor and condenser were cracked and useless, and the thermostat itself appeared to be smashed into the wall with a hammer. Either vandals visited the house before I moved in, or someone was really fed up with their air conditioner’s performance! Either way, I spent the first year in that house working tirelessly at night and over the weekend, slowly replacing the ductwork and having service visits from the heating and air conditioning contractors in town. I was thankful that the contractors allowed me to pay via installments for the repairs – you wouldn’t believe how expensive an air compressor is! I remember ending that year by installing a new smart thermostat, which I could program to run only when I was home. I was so proud of my efforts, and the result really kept me motivated to continue the renovations to the house. During that first year, I had to fix several holes in the walls, and lay brand new shingles on the entire roof. All things considered, it’s pretty incredible that I had accomplished so much on my own!