Monday, February 2, 2009


Paco’s house, which he owned and was (mostly) living in when we got married in June of 2007, is still on the market. Well, actually, it isn’t currently for sale because the renter who was supposed to be taking care of it and “staging” it for potential buyers pretty much wrecked it, so it is now being “remodeled”. I use the term loosely because what we are really doing at the moment is trying to find a mystery leak that exists somewhere between the slab and the Arctic permafrost. As soon as said leak is located and repaired we can finish the new floors, have the new carpet installed, pull out all the dead plants, re-landscape and then put it back on the market. Just in time for the next wave of bad Housing Market news. You know, the stories that don’t want to go away about how no one has seen this much real estate carnage since the Tower of Babel collapsed due to poor communication amongst the residents? Yes, that one.

So here’s is the story so far:

1) Harold, the house sitter, moved in last spring and promptly drove his car through the back wall of the garage because apparently he does not know how to operate the foot brake.

2) Harold did not water the back yard, causing the ground to shrivel up like the Mojave Desert in August. This, in turn, made the back of the house drop below street level, creating huge cracks in the interior walls that you could drive a semi- through. The foundation was destroyed and had to be completely re-done with new piers, necessitating jack hammering all of the floor tile and leaving a 3-inch layer of fine dust on every surface in the house, including the inside of every cupboard, drawer and closet in the house. The house sinking like the Titantic was also the cause of the illusive leak since it apparently tore lose a few pesky pipes as it settled to the bottom of the ocean.

3) Harold did not own decent furniture, or much furniture at all for that matter, even though he was supposed to be “staging” the house (see (1) above). Potential buyers were greeted at the front door by a basketball hoop in the living room, a mattress and box springs in the master bedroom and Hello Kitty slippers in the bathroom. This was not the kind of “staging” we had in mind.

4) We finally kicked Harold out last November. I wanted to go over there and literally KICK him out but Paco forbade me. So I wrote him a nasty note and told him if I ever see him again I will shoot him with the World War II bazooka I recently purchased at our local Army Navy store for that sole purpose. Then I will drag what is left of him behind my Sherman tank until his head falls off and then ship his remains to Somalia. I know this may sound harsh but you might not think so if you saw Paco's house.

So now we are in Plumbing Hell, having decided to find the leak ourselves after getting Billy Ray the Millionaire Plumber’s quote to find and repair the leak. I told Paco I could quit my job if he would only change careers and go to plumber’s school. They obviously earn in the high six-figures and all drive solid gold Cadillacs and I added that I would be happy with just a newish Buick wagon. He said no, it isn’t worth it. I said it is. We tabled the discussion until he comes to his senses.

Next week, or whenever I can stand the thought of writing about this nightmare again, I will discuss all of the brand-new plumbing equipment (that keeps breaking) Paco has recently purchased via mail order to fix the leak. Also the equipment we have rented, which has also systematically broken because the equipment rental people are obviously IN CAHOOTS with Billy Ray the Millionaire Plumber. I will also discuss all the money we are spending in order not to have to pay Billy Ray, who we understand is just back from his vacation house in the Bahamas.


  1. and that is why, despite the market, I'm loathe to go into the house-rental business. Because I've seen how renters leave houses, and it's almost never pretty!

  2. Oye Vey! I've known that the saga of the house was involved, but I did not know it was THIS bad.

    I'm quite in awe of the restraint you have shown when it came it Harold. He has no idea how close he came to an early demise...

  3. We had to do the exact same thing to my wifes house after we married. Only we were living in it at the time and after coming home one day we looked up at the ceiling to see 2 inch cracks running along the lenght of the walls. We spent ten grand putting in piers and then we had to remodel the house so that we could sell it. It turns out most of this area in the valley is honeycombed with tunnels from years of underground washouts. Most of the older homes in the area that are built in brick are falling apart.
    I am sorry to hear you have to deal with all that. Good luck.
    We did all of the remodeling ourselves which helped. But we had to get someone to repour a new driveway after they had to pull it out so we could get the piers put in and we had to have a masonry guy come into to patch the exterior cracks. Man I'm glad that's all over.

  4. get Jane and she will help you bury Harold under the backhouse...and leave his feet out like the witch from the WOO..
    that sucks...Is Billy Ray single?

  5. If this had occurred in Joisey, Harold would have become a permanent part of the new foundation.

    A girl can never learn too much about how the pipes work, i always say. O wait--that was Thystle.