I'm infinitely impressed by the mozex plugin for Mozilla, which has finally granted me the power I've always wanted most from a web browser: the ability to edit a textarea field in a web page using a reasonable editor like vi instead of the piece of shit browsers always ship with.

It's been over a month now since we moved into our new house. I expected the exciting, new feeling of the place to wear off quickly, but really, it hasn't yet. It's sort of blended into a comfortable feeling more than an outright twitch inducing thrill now, but it's still amazing to me that this place is really mine.

It takes time for certain things to really sink in. Moving into your first house brings on a lot of these, and they're just now starting to hit me.

It really is my "home." It's not just some apartment unit in a building I don't own surrounded on all sides by other unrelated people who don't know or care about me in the slightest. There aren't hundreds of other households immediately surrounding me full of disgruntled, angry humans struggling to make ends meet.

It's not "my parents' house" either. Although my wife lifes here with me and it's hers as much as it's mine, we are the only two people here. Nobody to scold me for playing music too loud. Nobody to send me to my room. The whole damned building belongs to me, and I can drill holes anywhere I want to, paint the walls whatever butt-ugly colors I want to, and if I really feel like it, I can jump on the bed without disturbing anyone (well, assuming my wife isn't sleeping in it at the time).

It feels "right", where apartments never did. Sure, I usually never had any trouble getting to sleep at night, and I've never been the paranoid type who feels outright insecure in an apartment, but none of the apartments I've ever occupied have ever made me feel at home.

It didn't hit me at first that this house, just a big pile of wood, metal, concrete, and wiring, just seems to welcome me to it. For the first time ever, I actually feel comfortable, welcome, and calm living somewhere. It's corny, for sure, but just the fact that I own it makes it the nicest place I've ever lived. So many personal security issues just vanish in owning a home, that I didn't even notice them until they'd gone.

I'm not worried anymore about any landlord pulling any evil stunts, like spontaneously deciding to come into my home to perform maintenance without so much as a knock. Now I can legally beat the bejeezus out of anyone who succeeds in breaching the locks on my doors and windows, whether they've got a good reason for doing so or not. I no longer worry that my wife pulling another stupid temper tantrum and punching her fist through a door will cause me great financial hardship. Sure, hollow-core doors are $40 or so, but I won't owe a landlord $80 in parts and labor to fix it.

In short, this is the first place I've ever lived that just gets out of the way. It's spacious, well-constructed, and nobody has ever lived in it before we moved in. There's no longer a six page document looming over my head controlling what I can do inside my own home (ironically, with the homeowners association here, it's grown to over one hundred pages, yet somehow isn't as restrictive). Most importantly, it's comfortable. It's peaceful. There's no loud noises at all hours of the night. There's no sounds of other people moving around in the building, because there are no other people.

The mortgage payments are scary. Holy shit. I was paying $785 a month for rent. Now I'm paying, including the HOA fees and taxes, nearly $1,400 a month for my home. Too bad that with the $785 per month rent payment I only had $300 or so left each month. Fortunately, coming up with an extra $600 per month isn't terribly difficult, even in this shitty economy.

The funny thing is, even though the payment itself is frightening, the mortgage itself isn't. For two days last weekend, I couldn't fall asleep because I'd run the monthly budget and realized that once I'd made this month's mortgage payment (the first one), we'd have exactly zero dollars after the other bills had been paid. No cash for groceries, gas, etc. Then, even the most paranoid part of my brain was finally beaten down by logic: even though more money is involved now, losing this home is even harder than losing an apartment would be. If I missed even a single payment to an apartment complex, they could evict me in as few as six days in some jurisdictions. In a mortgage situation, though, foreclosure isn't quite as easy, and the bank sure doesn't want it to come to that. My best estimate is that where I could have had a sheriff throwing my crap out onto the street just a week after a missed rental payment, now it's a matter of months before such a thing could remove me from this house.

No, I don't plan to miss any mortgage payments, but it's nice to know I'm not completely fucked if one comes in late.

As far as the less esoteric topics go, I'll just describe how things are going for us lately. We got everything out of the apartment about two days before we had to be out; I'd planned to have it done much, much sooner, but my wife myteriously twisted her ankle during the 8 hour period I had the U-haul rental truck and left me to move absolutely fucking everything myself. The couch, the washer & dryer, the bedroom set, the mattresses, all the furniture, etc. All by myself.

I'd written previously that I hurt from getting things moved in here, but man, did I ever underestimate how bad I could actually feel. She will probably go to her grave insisting she really did trip on a rock and twist her ankle, but the lack of visual injury, the miraculous timing of both the injury (right when the hard work started) and its healing (right when the hard work was done), and her general attitude about it tell me she was just being lazy.

Moving right along, we've most got everything unpacked now. Boxes can still be spied in every room in the house, but their numbers grow thinner with each passing day. All the furniture is set up, the TiVo sits atop its throne on the highest shelf in our entertainment center purring like a kitten, and we've got the basics taken care of (shades and curtains for the windows, light fixtures for the rooms, replacing all the incandescent light bulbs with compact flourescent light bulbs, etc.). All told, we've settled in pretty nicely.

I got a great deal on a brand new lawn mower, and promptly chopped off one of the sprinkler heads in the sprinkler system in the larger section of grass in front of my house with it on just my second session of lawn mowing. Dammit. Fortunately it'll probably only cost me about $15 and a half hour of work to replace it. Not that I have that kind of money just floating around freely anymore.

Sleep is becoming difficult again, but not because of where I live, which is a nice change of pace. The demons of insomnia have returned and seem pretty feisty this time, but at least here my wife doesn't pester me so much to go to bed. She falls asleep more easily here too, which has been a saving grace since the day we moved in here.

I'll try to have a more coherent dose of blathering tomorrow, assuming I get any reasonable amount of rest and get a break from real life long enough to write it down.