The Money Pit.

Posted by admin on March 21, 2016 in Home Ownership |
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I should have never watched the movie, The Money Pit again. The first time I watched it, I had purchased my first house, which wasn’t really a money pit, in part because it was well maintained before I bought it and in part because I wasn’t there very long.

As we all know, my house buying history has been iffy at best. Two at bats, two strike outs before this one. I have great faith that I am in this one for the long term, but still, I can’t get The Money Pit out of my mind.

If you haven’t seen the movie and own a home, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Well, maybe you do. The title really says it all. Tom Hanks and Shelly Long buy a house that looks wonderful at first blush, but is nothing but problems, from the grand staircase collapsing to the tub falling through the dry rotted floor.

It’s very funny. Unless you own a house. Well, let me correct that. Unless you own a house which had no previous owner.

In the case of my first at bat, there was a previous owner. He went so far as to give me a $5,000 check for the L-10 siding that adorned the exterior. Yes, the stuff that eventually turns into sawdust.

He didn’t have to give me the money. But he loved the house. As such, he must’ve loved me a lot for taking it off his hands.

The new house, Casa Verde? Well, it hasn’t received much love over the last few years. From what I can tell, the owner died, his family couldn’t take care of the payments, it fell into receivership and we ended up buying it after a quick flip last fall.

From the receipts we have on this house, you’d think it would be brand new. There is a laundry list of things that were supposedly fixed that really weren’t. The flippers were either rank amateurs or the biggest idiots on earth.

It’s not that we bought a pig in the poke. We had a really awesome inspector go through the house before we closed on it. He tested everything, from the water pressure to the gas fireplace. Every outlet was checked and tested; he went on the roof and checked the skylights and gutters. He even went under the house and found some things that I won’t really mention here.

Suffice it to say, the house has really good bones. I thought that it would require very little effort on my part, such is the delusional nature of a home buyer. I guess I wouldn’t have made a good car buyer either, being one of those suckers who was sure that that AMC Pacer in the lot only had one owner.

But I keep reminding myself that the house does have good bones, largely because the professional said so when I handed him the first of many large checks I would write.

Still, The Money Pit mindset continues to visit me me on on occasion. It did today as I sat on the brickwork that lines the entryway to the house. I was waiting for a friend to visit me and I had the feeling of impending doom, as if the brick planter would suddenly give way and crumble into dust.

It didn’t. But my mind is a powerful thing. Later, after my friend left, I noticed that the lights outside the garage had electric eyes on them. Well, they used to be. While the house was not being loved, someone blinded them. That’s O.K. It’s a 30+ year old house. I can live with that. I mean, I hardly look like new and some of my parts don’t work like they used to either. No, that part works just fine, thank you.

My perfect eyes noticed that the one light was slightly askew. I thought about it for a moment, and then decided that it would probably move pretty easily, because nothing in this house seems to have ever been tightened. Sure enough, woosh, it straightened up with little muscle applied.

As I have come to know this house, I have come to know that its previous owner must have been Fred Flintstone. Obviously, the guy didn’t understand that somewhere between the beginning of time and today, tools had been invented. Handy tools. Things like screwdrivers and hammers.

No matter. I have these tools. In the intervening month that I have owned this home, I have gotten a lot more tools. This has not always been the house’s fault. The car, jealous of the increasing attention I am spending on the house, decided to crap out on me recently

That required more tools. Expensive tools. I didn’t really know that they bolted batteries down these days. It seems kind of stupid to me. Stupid until I realized that they could sell rare extenders for socket sets if they were bolted down. Obviously the car companies and the obscure tool makers were in cahoots.

They also seem to be in cahoots with the house builders. There are strange assemblages and what-nots all through the house, all seemingly in need of an Allen wrench size I don’t have or a weird screw head that is neither flat nor Phillips.

It’s during these times that I think back to The Money Pit. Tom Hanks had contractors. I have Lowes, Home Depot, and on occasion, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts to turn to. I can’t afford contractors. I have a house. I had a pile of money. Now I have a house.

Fortunately, I do have a slight touch of my father in me. I know how to fix things, albeit not always by the book. Sometimes I have used a book in my repairs, but only to keep the toilet from overflowing. (Yes, that’s a book jammed in between the amplifier and the ceiling above the pole).

I’m sure some repairman started out this way. I mean, we probably didn’t have a good handle on fixing a toilet when indoor plumbing first came along. Someone eventually figured out that you needed pipes, then spigots, then water, then gravity.

Such is the natural progression in our civilization. From caves to lean-tos, to row houses to the suburbs to the strange green house on Poplar Way. You know the one, The Money Pit.

In the Emerald City, wondering if that’s a shadow on the ceiling or is it starting to give way,

– Robb

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