Don Watts, a long time friend, once said to me that owning a home means never having nothing to do. That’s especially true if the house you buy has been sitting vacant for a number of years. The one I’m sitting in at the moment, listening to rainwater drip into a bucket near the front door, is just such a house. As of the 21st of this month, it’s mine: lock, stock and leaky roof.
Structurally sound, it sits on a slight rise from the street which has helped to keep the foundation strong and the basement dry. Two bedrooms on the ground floor and a long, low-ceilinged bedroom upstairs, it has a huge living room, a tiny kitchen and an extremely damaged bathroom. Damage-wise, the bathroom is the worst of it. The entire back wall is torn out. I guess, if you’re going to steal a bathtub, it’s easier to tear out the wall then to drag the thing out the smashed-in backdoor.
Did I mention there is no electricity? Not that it would matter as all the wires in the basement have been stolen. Ditto the copper water pipes. Ditto the furnace and hot water heater. Kitchen sink? Bathroom sink? Gone as well.
Surprisingly, except for some water damage in the living room and one bedroom, the upstairs is intact. Maybe the thieves exhausted themselves lugging all those heavy objects from the house and decided to return at another time to rip the copper wires from the wall. For some reason they didn’t return, leaving the upstairs intact. I like to think they didn’t come back because they were run over by a Greyhound bus on their way to fencing their loot. A satisfying thought, though not likely to have happened.
In a way, they did me a favor stealing the electrical wire. It was the old, two-wire, cloth-bound stuff which was more or less fine when all you had to power were a few low wattage lights and a radio or two. I would have ended up replacing most of it anyway. Now, I just have to replace all of it.
Now, stealing the furnace, sinks, bathtub and water pipes, that doesn’t please me so much. C’est la vie. I’ll deal with all that when the time comes.
The electricity will be on by Tuesday evening, the water by noon the following day. That is when the real work begins. In the mean time, I’ve been lessening the chaos as much as I can and cleaning the place up. Mowed the lawn, cut down all the weed trees. The place is looking a hell of a lot better than when I got here.
All in all, the next few months should be interesting.
Oh, and did I mention what this place cost me? Three bedroom house, full basement, garage.
$500.00 USD. I paid more for the car I drive.