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Tom Purcell: Why homeownership pressure is good |

Tom Purcell: Why homeownership pressure is good

| Monday, August 20, 2018 9:03 p.m

Younger generations buying fewer homes than prior generations is not good for America.

A recent Urban Institute study found home ownership among millennials, ages 25 to 34, is about 8 percent lower than it was for prior generations at the same age.

Which means many millennials are missing out on the misery of home ownership.

The quaint cottage-style house I’ve owned for 22 years has given me grief from day one. The latest incident involved my pressure washer.

I have a lot of grounds to maintain. A pressure washer is essential. A few years ago, I bought the best one I could find at a big-box store.

It worked fine until this spring, when it went drier than the Mojave Desert at high noon.

I determined that the hose was the likely culprit — that something had collapsed inside, preventing water from flowing freely.

I drove to the big-box store, where I was greeted by a highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic pressure-washer expert — Ha, ha! That didn’t happen. It took me several minutes to find anyone who worked there. One fellow told me which parts to buy.

Back home, I immediately discovered he’d sold me the wrong parts.

I drove back to the store, spent several minutes looking for someone who worked there, bought more parts and drove home. None of those parts worked. I repeated this exercise five times before calling it a night.

The next day, a Saturday, I went back to the store with the disassembled pressure washer, new and old parts, etc. I purchased more parts that didn’t work, drove home, then returned to the store THREE MORE times before I finally had the machine back together.

I started it up, eager to spray grass clippings and oak-tree gunk off my patios — but it wouldn’t spray. It was drier than Death Valley in August.

There was nothing to do but utter the three words my father always uttered when his house made him miserable: “Son of a … !!!”

Figuring the pressure-washer pump was bad, I drove to several big-box stores looking for a new pressure washer. I was delighted to find a refurbished, half-price unit. It was missing its nozzle tips, but I knew my broken pressure washer’s nozzle tips would work just fine.

I got the refurbished pressure washer home, connected its sprayer to the nozzle tip from my broken pressure washer and started it up. It was drier than the Great Basin Desert after a months-long drought.

“Son of a … !!!”

You probably figured out that the nozzle tip was the only thing broken — that all I needed was a new, $3 nozzle tip, not the hose parts and a refurbished pressure washer that set me back $600.

You probably chuckled at me wasting three days of my life in trying to get a lousy pressure washer to work.

You chuckled, no doubt, because you’re a homeowner and understand full well the highly creative ways our homes are hell-bent on destroying our weekends.

Renters do not understand this misery. That’s why it’s bad that millions of millennials have not yet purchased a home.

You see, renters are more likely to be bamboozled by silver-tongued politicians who promise them free stuff, whereas grumpy homeowners vote for politicians who promise to spend less and keep our taxes low.

That leaves us homeowners with more money to pay for the things that endlessly go wrong with our lousy homes.

Freelance writer Tom Purcell of Library is author of “Misadventures of a 1970s Childhood!” Visit him on the web at

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