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THE WORLD THROUGH MY EYES

You may see things differently, but this is how I view my life.

1/12/2004

OPPORTUNITIES OF A LIFETIME THAT COULD TURN OUT TO BE A NIGHTMARE

For years, Jerry has been looking in a certain neighborhood in our area for a house to go up for sale. We realize that most of the houses in this neighborhood are WAY our of our price range. But there is a couple that we thought could possibly be in our grasp because they just look abandoned.

About 6 months ago, Jerry drove me by these 2 houses in our town. They both need a lot of work and they are right next door to each other. Neither one of them look lived in. They have busted out windows, the yard is overgrown, the doors are broken, and on one house the electrical box looks tampered with. There are even a few abandoned cars parked outside with busted out windows.

Several weeks ago, Jerry had got off work early and decided to drive around to look for a new house for us. He drove by these houses and decided to see if anyone lived there and ask if maybe they wanted to sell. He knocked on the door of one of the houses and noticed that the door was cracked open. After he knocked, he called in the house to see if anyone was there. He could smell an awful odor immersing from the front door so he looked in the house and saw piles and piles of trash laying all over the floor in the house. He walked in still calling out, with no response. Jerry called me while he was walking in the house and told me where he was and described the conditions. Not only was there trash piled a few feet high, there was moldy food laid out all over the kitchen, feces smeared on the floor along with old people diapers piled in the corner of the bathroom. The house is totally unlivable. Jerry kept commenting on how bad the smell was and how it was making him gag.

Jerry gave me the address and I did a search on the Internet to see if I could find out anything about the property. I found the owner’s name and some details about the house. It’s a 3 bedroom 3 bath over 2,300 square feet on 4.6 acres. This would be a very nice home if someone were to take care of it.

We decided to call the Sheriff’s Department to do a welfare check to see if the guy was dead in there. Jerry also said that there was a dog tied up in the back and was skin and bones. We told the Sheriff’s Dept. about the dog as well so they could get animal control out to the house and get the dog. Jerry left and went home then drove by about an hour later and the Sheriff’s were at the house. We never found out the results from the Sheriff’s visit, but we were definitely concerned if someone were living there.

Yesterday we were coming home from visiting my parents, and I suggested to Jerry that we drive by that house. We were driving up the street and I noticed that there was “For Sale By Owner” signs posted on the house next door (which is the other house that looks abandoned). I couldn’t believe it! We also noticed that there were people at the house Jerry had walked though. We called the number on the sign and left a message. Jerry decided that we should walk around the property and check it out. There were no window coverings so we could see inside very well. It definitely looked abandoned. There was furniture, but it looked VERY old and not positioned in a way that someone could actually use the furniture. Other rooms were empty. The front door was busted; the glass next to the front door was shattered. Many windows were broken; the French doors for the master bedroom were also busted. It had looked like someone had kicked them in.

As we were walking around, we came upon a note that said, “I’m next door”. Then we noticed a telephone cord that went from that house to the other house next door (the one that Jerry had walked through weeks earlier.) We followed the cord next door and approached the people that were standing in front of the house. They were a nice looking older couple in thier 50’s and an elderly man in a wheelchair who smelled horrible. His front door was open and I could see inside. There was trash pouring out of the house as well as the worst odor I’ve ever smelled in my entire life.

This poor old man was wearing a very dirty sweater that looked and smelled as if it had been pissed on over and over by a cat. He was wearing shorts and his legs looked very bony, and his knees were swollen. He was talking with the couple and was telling them how difficult it is for him to cook because he can barely stand for more than a few minutes at a time. It turned out that this old man was the owner of both homes. We let him know that we were interested in the house next door. He said that he had someone on their way to show the house to the other couple and that we were more than welcome to look too.

Shortly after, the man showed up and let us in. It smelled as if something were dead in this house too. And you could see an outline of where an animal (I’m guessing a cat) had laid on the carpet dead for probably weeks (I’m guessing), because there was an outline of the body and fur on the carpet still. This house had been trashed by renters, and I’m guessing that he’s stating to move over since it’s not filled with trash like the other house.

We walked through the rest of the house and it was AWESOME! Well, in our minds, it could be awesome. It’s a 4 bedroom, 2 ¼ bath, over 3,100 square feet on more than 4 acres. This house needs a ton of TLC. We finally asked how much he was asking for it, and said that he wanted $560,000 for it. Obviously that’s WAY WAY WAY out of our price range so we thanked him for letting us see the place and started to leave. This poor old man must be starved for company because he started insisting that we could afford it, only knowing what Jerry does for a living and nothing about our monthly expenses. We chatted with old man for a while and he had said that he would like to have someone take care of him and let them stay in the house rent-free and he would take care of food, utilities, etc. We kind of blew him off, said thank you again and left.

We spent the rest of the day looking for something more in our price range. We found a vacant lot of 4.36 acres in the foothills with the most bitchen’ view. You can see for miles and miles on a clear night. We’re not 100% sure if this is the land that is for sale, but if it is, we are so on it. We won’t be able to afford to build a house on it right away, but we will put a doublewide mobile home on it until we can afford to build.

Jerry and I couldn’t sleep very well, because our brains were thinking about everything. Well, I take that back, I was sleeping fine until he woke me up at 1:30 am to talk about the land the old man and about his court date on Thursday. Honestly, it was one of the best talks we’ve ever had. We are both pretty excited about the land. We were up all night brainstorming about what we would have to do if we bought a vacant piece of land and the cost involved with developing it or even the possibility of me taking care of the old man full time in exchange for him giving us his house when he died. Which I’ve been thinking long and hard about, plus we’d still half to talk to the old man about it, of course. And we’d have to spend hours finding out his story and why no one is taking care of him when he has all that money. I imagine he’s pretty hard to handle.

We both got only a few hours of sleep last night and considering I’m totally sleep deprived, I’m feeling pretty energetic. It’s probably the adrenalin from thinking about what we may be doing and or building this year.

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