You'll be happy to know that I've finally consulted an electrician. After an hour of walking around my house, I came to one, solid conclusion - the wiring in my house is a hot mess.
Here's the good news - it can all be fixed. The to-do list:
#1. Update the breaker box. My box is an outdated, don't-even-make-it-anymore Pushmatic. Translation - scary old. To add in breakers for AC and a dishwasher, we'd either have to add in a subpanel to the current box or replace the sucker. Replacing it is the better, safer option - so that's what we're going to do.
#3. Add outlets for AC units. Eastern pa sees pretty darn hot summers. To run window units upstairs, I need a special outlet and separate breaker for each unit. That will be happening in a few weeks, before the heat hits.
#5. Solve the mystery of the switches. When the outlets are updated, the electrician will be able to tell me what goes with what. Also, the kitchen issue will be fixed. Soon I'll be able to turn on the porch light without turning on the kitchen light. He actually laughed when I showed him that. Gotta love old houses, right?
#6. Add in power for a dishwasher. This will happen when we've made the hole for the dishwasher.
#7. Put in a USB outlet. I'm am STOKED about this. When I make dinner, I'm either watching tv or looking at my recipe - this always seems to be the time when my iPad dies. I'm going to get one usb outlet put into my kitchen. It's not cheap - a standard outlet is around $0.89, while a usb outlet is around $20. But it's going to be so worth it.
In a nutshell, the issue is safety. There's a lot to be done, but if it makes the house safer, it's worth it.
Also, I'm not sure why I feel the need to tell you this, but I'm going to tell you anyway - I'm not going to be flat broke when this is all over. Please don't think that I'm spending all of my money or that I'm going to be house poor.
I know it's seems like I'm just spending money left and right (and that's mostly true), but I'm not being irresponsible or wracking up credit card debt. Part of being ready to own a home was being ready for these expenses.
I'm so thankful to my parents for teaching me how to be careful with my money and how to live within my means. I'm also thankful for the years of seeing people on House Hunters blow their budget for the home - ain't nobody got time for that. If I broke the bank to get my new home, I would never be able to enjoy it.