A house in my neighborhood recently sold. Before katrina, it was a nice home owned by a stable family, but after the storm…it hasn’t been. About a month ago, the newest owner moved in and hopes are high that normality and stability shall return.
It would be difficult to find a more inept, obnoxious, and just plain stupid person to own that home than the doofus that bought it and renovated it. In this case, the new owner automatically starts off with the bar set pretty low. Granted, the elderly couple that owned it at the time of katrina hadn’t renovated it in a while, but they also hadn’t been “hard” on the property, either. It only had living area on the second floor, so it didn’t suffer any flood damage other than what is referred to as the raised basement.
To put it back in the housing stock would have been simple and easy, needing mostly cosmetic work. That would have been lovely, but it wasn’t meant to be. Conversations with the owner/destroyer were full of shock and awe. He admitted to riding around town and looking at how people were building foundations. The cherry on the sundae was when he nonchalantly said he caught a house on fire while he was working on the roof and considered fleeing the country. That doesn’t exactly make one feel good, ya know.
He had a noisy truck that was audible from a couple of blocks away, so napping “workers” had quite a bit of advance warning to wake up and look busy. Cue sleeping workers jumping up and grabbing hammers while wiping off drool as their boss pulled into the driveway. It was not funny, however, that the renovation took a full year and was unsupervised the majority of each day.
I’ve written about the tenants, so no need to rehash that topic. When the last tenants hurriedly packed up before their lease was up, actually leaving the country, the owner/destroyer was back to repair any damages and freshen it up for sale. What should have taken one month, lasted for several.
His new truck was quieter than the last, but instead of noisy exhaust pipes piercing peaceful silence, his presence was known several homes away by loud banging, like a door was being knocked down and a home being broken into. It wasn’t a burglar, though, it was the big dummy trying to open the windows that he had painted shut the day before. The problem is, he kept painting the windows multiple times a week. Why? I have no clue. Maybe he forgot that he already painted them many, many times already. He couldn’t open them because they had close to 85 coats of paint. The paint was probably six inches thick and jamming them shut–every single day! He never gave up, though, thinking one more coat of paint would somehow un-stick the painted-shut windows.
Anyways, it finally sold. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high, but I mean, come on, it couldn’t get any worse, could it? There was always justifiable concern that the owner/destroyer might have surreptitiously or accidentally implanted some sort of dummy magnet deep into the foundation of the home. He probably carries those around with him like we have spare change in our pockets and glove boxes.
The previous owner and every tenant that followed–drawn by the dummy magnet–had a semi-annual mowing schedule. At this point, there isn’t any grass left, just weeds. Years ago, the weediest weeds formed a foot-high carpet to suffocate any grass plugs that fought unsuccessfully for their survival. It’s concerning that he might have slipped a non-mowing magnet into the foundation, too. The new owner has paid to have the yard sprayed with weed killer to avoid mowing, so pretty sure the semi-annual tradition will live on forever. Damn those magnets!
So, why am I writing about this today? The photograph to the left is my muse. Charlie Brown would feel better about his Christmas tree during the holidays, no? Festivus pole gone bad? Wrong. Are you wondering what the hell it is? It’s how one would know he/she has hired the wrong workers for a job. Instead of hammering a pole or stake into the ground and using caution tape to warn of wet concrete, some workers hired by the newest owner grabbed a random stick that fell from a tree and draped it with caution tape as garland. Let’s call it Christmas in July–just humor me, I’m a little late finishing writing this.
If one has ever lived through a major renovation, one learns a great deal about construction. If one has had the luxury of professionals in their field and also the heartbreak of hiring and paying people that wouldn’t know their bums from a hole in the ground, one develops a sixth sense. Sadly, the new owner is only working with five senses…but he’s learning…quickly.
He hired a couple of guys to patch a hole in a wall, which is something anyone can do. But when asked if they could redo the many things that the previous owner/destroyer/doofus had screwed up, they said that they knew how to do everything–electrical, plumbing, stucco, anything and everything. Does that mean they know how to create an underground drainage system? Of course they do! They know how to apply a fiberglass patch and open a tub of Spackling. Remember?
They have been there on and off for weeks doing two things–making mistakes and trying to fix mistakes. Staring at each other for hours and circling the property several times, they seem surprised when they return full-circle to find things exactly the same as when they set off on their walkabout. Eventually, after they got tired of looking at each other and creating ruts from their walking in circles, they finally found someone that could explain what needed to be done.
Fingers crossed that it works out well in the end, because I want the new owner to be happy. You get what you pay for, though.