austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I'm looking through you and you're nowhere

You may remember our failure to buy the house-across-the-street at tax auction. The idea stuck with us, though, and with my father. And a house at the end of the street, originally part of a massive and unsold set of lots, was broken off to its own. Might that start our local real-estate empire?

bunny_hugger had work the Friday they held an open house, but I could get there easily enough. And the house was ... not the obviously charming thing of the one across the street. It did have a corner lot, and both a front and back porch. The front porch had a mousehole --- a perfectly formed arch, just like you see in cartoons --- and roughly 688,428,318,3358,3421345,600243213553,6480175934,482,570,023,500 mouse droppings in the lobby. There were other problems, too. Just the one bedroom, for example, and a bathroom that had a narrow tub and no shower. The ceiling was also bowing in, rather noticeably, and there was a hole visible in the ceiling leading to the attic.

The attic had a lot of cubby-hole and storage space, admittedly. And its stairs went down to the living room, rather than the bathroom, so it could in theory be legally usable as a bedroom. Also the floor bowed in and you could trip over the hole beside the living room light. Also, the back porch. The roof there had partly fallen in, and much of the insulation had drooped down. This produced a massive, wretched, moldy mass of decay that was just awful.

My father's advice, from afar, was: NO! But that if we had time bunny_hugger should see it, to get a sense of what a walk away from house looks like. We took the advice and that was good. I'd accidentally left our carpenter's level behind on that Friday, and got it back this second time.

But, yeah. If the back porch were not collapsed, and if the floors were not bowed, I think it would have been a marginal but possible house. its 1923 origins were, as best we could tell, renovated away, but done so in the late 60s or early 70s so it did have that going for it. But what was bad was so bad we couldn't do anything with it.

So we didn't bid on the house. We don't know if anyone did. It's possible the house is doomed and will someday be demolished, which would be a pity.

Trivia: The University of California at Berkeley's 1999 report of discovering elements 116 and 118 had to be retracted when review of the original data indicated no evidence of the elements being detected. The initial evidence appears to have been falsified data entered in at a late round of analysis. Source: The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, Sam Kean.

Currently Reading: The Mapmakers, John Noble Wilford.

PS: Fish Autumn Update, in case you wondered about how the count of our fish was going.


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