Monday, February 25, 2008

In a turmoil

I got the inspectors report today... I was originally aghast at the cost of this service but when I downloaded the detailed 20+ page report, I could tell I got what I had paid for. But not exactly what I wanted.

The inspector deems the place uninhabitable. There are serious issues in the main electric box (d'uh... it is in the BASEMENT in a house that FLOODED) and there are evidences of roof leaks. None of the wiring is "right" let alone up to code (this is no surprise.. the state of the breaker box was) but the big concern is that there is damage to floor joists on both floors of the original house. SOME is rot, etc. but upstairs some incompetent plumber CUT THE JOISTS to put in pipes.

The place site far enough back from the road that a "private" electric pole is needed, that the dead tree the planted there long ago (I am speculating here...) is rather the worse for wear...

There are plumbing issues too.. incompetent repairs...

One friend says "it would be fun..." others are in the "oh, my God" camp. I was out running around, which I really didn't need to be doing, other than going to the bank, so I did not catch the report right when it came in by email and therefore was not able to formulate an email to the listing agent before end of business.

The inspector thinks it's so bad that he referred me to "one of 4 realtors in the state of Maine" that he trusts, who do sales and rentals, to try to find us a rental while we continue to look. I talked with the female part of the business who did not bat an eye at the cats and St. Bernard, asked if we smoked and said she would pass it along to her husband. I have not heard anything back tonight. They have (they do not know it yet) until noon...

I sent a cautious email to the listing agent listing SOME of the major issues and basically saying we have concerns... I would like to try to get some concessions... but even barring that.. barring a rental (cheap, at that) showing up tomorrow... I am prepared to move forward.

The inspector has guardedly expressed a notion that we could possibly "camp out" in the back part of the house while beginning work, and as he is also a licensed electrician, I have sent him an email feeling him out about possibly working WITH us as a consultant to get started on that part... replace the panel and put in one, maybe two proper lines for starters.

K is having more issues than I am, largely because he will be "stuck" there when I go off to work, having to face his limitations and frustrations over not being able to do the lions share FOR me (which is totally what I would not want anyway... ) and sometimes worrying about whether or not he will be able to get high speed internet and proper electricity to play the online game he says keeps him calm and allows him to get past his pain.

In many ways he has lived a sheltered life.. or I have lived a much harder one than it appears to me, for the idea of "camping out" with minimal facilities for an indefinite period, while working full time, running a business and working on the house doesn't seem like that big a deal. Yeah, it may be a "dump" but I have lived in a lot of "dumps" by suburban soccer mom standards, most of them NOT MINE, and my biggest frustration has been not being allowed -- or willing to "throw away" the money at a rental -- to make them right.

One of the most satisfying times of my life, in many ways, was when I was "bootstrapping" up from nothing... when the unexpected find of a single $1 food stamp was enough to make not only my day and my week, but a photo op for my friend and a pix that still brings a smile to my face when I see it. I was working through relationship stuff then... having just left my family and having been "pushed into" making in permanent (pushed only in the time of the decision... I cannot see myself taking any other path, had time allowed for more consideration of the choice). And I moved from that first, almost closet-size, uninsulated excuse of a cabin, in which I over-wintered, to a larger, slightly better insulated one with the spring -- only to discover during my first night there, and the first rainstorm of the spring, that the roof leaked so much it was barely better than standing under one of the pine trees in the yard. I "happened to have" the solution at hand, a large sheet of contractor-grade plastic sheeting, which I stapled to the rafters. As the rain filled the plastic, and just before it became heavy enough to tear loose from the staples, I pierced in the lowest points of the water-filled cover, allowing the rain to collect in only a FEW buckets and dishpans! I didn't get much sleep when it rained, for a few weeks, as I had to awaken periodically to dump the catch basins, and for years after, the sound of water dripping, even off the eaves of a warm, dry house unsettled me.

The problem was a roof with only a couple of inches slope, in an area of significant snow and rain. The roof was flat enough that my solution was to build two rooms upstairs (accessed by vertical ladders through holes in their floors) with properly pitched rooflines, and new roof lines added over the rest of the building. It never leaked again.

And most of this was done with scrounged parts, except for the shingles and even some of them were not new to me...

I can do this. And in the next few days we will know if I shall.

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