Saturday, July 28, 2012

Quirky, and More

The house limped through its inspection yesterday, at the mercy of a skeptic who examined all of its obvious and hidden flaws and did his best to dispel my determination to make it mine.

By the end of the day, I was feeling a bit daunted by the amount of work it will require. But even though I could read doubt on the faces of the inspector and my realtor, I'm not ready to change my mind.

There's something in my character that responds with "Oh yeah? Watch this!" when people tell me a thing can't or shouldn't be done. I guess I like a challenge, and clear boundaries to cross over. I'm not really a rebel, but I do like to color outside the lines sometimes.

Also, I really like exercising my own power of choice. Even if this is a bad decision, it's mine to make, and I'm the one who will shoulder most of the consequences.

The inspector's comments highlighted how different my mindset is from other people's. I guess I don't look like a person who is ready for this kind of a challenge, and I realize that because almost everything in Florida is relatively new, most folks expect things to be perfect.

(This rejection of the historic and desire for fresh, new construction partly explains Florida's voracious, destructive addiction to developing every square inch of land into McMansions and malls -- but that's another post. Don't get me started.)

The inspector and I spent quite a bit of time establishing what sort of things I was truly interested in knowing. Once he understood that I only cared about important details like safety and functionality, and did not care about outside-the-plan things like resale value and appearances, we started to get along. Near the end of the inspection, he scratched his head and said, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I like that you're so practical."

The good news is that the short-term money to make this house liveable is within my budget. It is certainly better to know going in what it needs, and be very clear that more than new paint will be required.

I keep thinking about all the stories of folks you see in the magazines who bought a derelict barn or an abandoned farmhouse that no one else wanted and turned it into a showplace over the course of many years, while living in one room and cooking on a hot plate. Is that reality, or just a modern myth from a certain sector of our culture?

Either way, it is a powerful story of adventure, courage, and redemption, and it feels right that it's going to be my story (on a smaller scale) for the foreseeable future.

Questionable wiring. There is some inside the house, too.

Brown widow spider egg cases in the exterior electrical box.

The recent painting was done by someone with ADD.

Or maybe on meth. This color defies description.

You'd think painting the trim on this side of the house would have been included in the price.

And all the windowsills.

And the back of the storage room, too.

Paint is only one of the quirky themes here. Doors are also a theme.

The front door has no deadbolt, and no room for your hand!

The coat closet, however, is extra secure.

Hard to see here, but the floor slopes down into this corner. And check out that groovy hearth tile!

This windowsill tells the tale of the sloping floor more clearly. If you see any parallel lines in this photo, please let me know.

Outside, more of the same. And the patio slopes toward the house. Oops.

What is this pit in the back yard? Even the inspector didn't know.

Maybe it connects with this plumbing in the closet.


  1. You know someone loved it at one time and now you get to love it again :)

  2. I am smiling with recognition. The house we bought twenty years ago - and still love - was built by eccentrics, too. No square corners and some things the engineer was leery about. But there was something calling us.

    I'm so looking forward to your reclamation of this place. The doors are wonderful!

  3. Thanks for the encouragement! I was starting to think no one buys a house anymore because they love it, flaws and all.

  4. Ours was like this...serious slope inside, as long as it isn't still subsiding, no problem. redoing all the mechanical systems is pretty much a given, honestly...though some of those doors are pretty funky. I see a brand new front door on the top of the list, actually, that would be after redoing the electrical, no?

  5. Yes, Oreneta, electrical definitely at the top of the list, and some plumbing is up there, too! The slope is the least of my worries right now.


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