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The Condition of Things

January 4, 2010

When light switches, not symmetry, dictate furniture placement, aesthetics can suffer. To some, I suppose, this kind of visual dissonance presents a novel twist on the face of convention.  Rather like human beings who are a bit ‘off’ center…  In a strange way the decor takes on a surrealistic bent – skewed distances disturb my sensitive eye, like noses emerging from where an ear canal should be, or a single breast cyclopticly staring at me from some modern and abstract canvas.

I curse the cold, unimaginative, impractical and uncaring architects who create such spaces.  I lament the carpenter’s laziness as I find senseless, stud-determined outlets, windows, light fixtures, and/or tray ceilings scattered off-kilter from the middle of this room or that wall.  Additionally, the slop of an errant paint brush applying the wrong color of touchup paint is an affront over and over, my mind turns to wall patching compound, sandpaper and scrapers, finding matching paint for touching up (or just starting over with one color…), and ultimately I remember the gazillion other tasks that must be done before addressing re-work such as this.  Not to mention the fact that this is, after all, a rental.

Moving strangely-placed pictures into an acceptable position leaves my mouth, as well as gaping wall-wounds, hanging open.  I find framing nail spikes, not even regular nails, used to hang things.  They obviously had to try numerous times on some of them.  Incredulous but no longer surprised I uncover more and more hacked tasks, half-assed attempts, and cheap finishes used to just get by in a home purportedly worth nearly a half million dollars. 

“Who”, I ask no one in particular, “with any common sense or pride in a job well done, does this kind damage to a new home?” 

The only renters here before us have taken gouges out of a new porcelain tub and the granite kitchen counter, apparently spilled bleach on a new carpet, somehow ruined the finishes and components of a new dishwasher and treated the other new appliances similarly, destroyed furniture with gouges, nicks, stains, and tears.  Lovely staging objects have been carelessly crushed, tossed in a jumble into a trash bag, some replaced with lesser items; I find things thoughtlessly dismembered like victims of some horrific raid on a hated enemy, or a mindless robbery where the perps have trashed a once lovely home. 

“Did wild animals or civilized humans live here?  Were you raised in a barn?”  I ask these faceless renters.  I suspect the children (and adults!) who were involved here were not held to any moral standard NOR required to show respect, restraint, or suffer consequences for the damage they inflicted.  This is what I inherited when moving in following these now much-resented people.

“Yes, that’s it.  Perpetrators, surely not a doctor and his family, must have lived here.” I grumble as I clean veritable piles of someone else’s crumbs and dirt from drawers, sticky spills from cupboard doors, and suspicious looking, unimaginable stains from bathroom fixtures and floors. 

The carpet behind where the master bed stood wears a blanket of black, short, coarse, curly human hairs lying in a thick, linear drift, just in front of the baseboard area.  I shudder as I think of a male, extremely hairy back and chest shedding, its sloughed refuse falling like snowflakes beyond the pillows, over the edge of the mattress and box spring, past the headboard’s rails and onto the space between the baseboard and the legs of the queen-sized bed.  The evidence is thick enough it defines the space precisely.  No, it was not a king-sized bed, for sure a queen.  By the way, the alternative to a back or chest hair drift is just not an option for mental discussion here.

“Wouldn’t YOU at least vacuum after your stuff was gone?”  I yell out to no one, appalled.  I want to weep.  At the point I make this revolting, disgusting discovery, my back is out and I could not begin to wield a vacuum to banish the hairy affront from my sight.  I find this furry offal as I am painfully trying to roll from my back onto my side to try to push myself into a sitting position to stand up, and plant my hand squarely in it.  I have been sleeping on a mattress on the floor, my very own pillow that smells slightly of bleach and cradled my face through the long night, has alternately been lying in someone else’s shed hair, then pulled back into its smushed position under my cheek.  I remember in horror those times it fell off the edge from my tossing and turning.  OMG, gross!

It seems that having the benefit of education does not guarantee class, grace, or courtesy for the property of others, comes the revelation.  Lack and want has taught me respect for nice things and it gives a physical hurt to see them so dishonored.  Even the broken doorbell button makes me a little sad.  Isn’t that something?  In my acquisition of comfort, I have not learned the easy disrespect, nor succumbed to the excess syndrome so common amongst the wealthy and this “I’m entitled”, throw-away society. 

I think of longing to the home I left back in Bonita in as near to pristine condition as possible.  Every known repair was addressed, right down to the last nail hole I filled and painted; I spent hours deep cleaning, even the crevices so that “we” were not left for others to go “ewwww!” over.  Each sink, drawer, surface disinfected, everything left as ready as I could make it for the next inhabitants.  I left it as I would want to find it if it was me moving in.  Oh if only I, just once, received the same gift.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2010 10:49 am

    And, that is why we buy homes, isn’t it? To restore order to a world gone awry!

    Our $3,000 per month rental here, was the least moldy and total affront to the senses form what we could find and it still broke the bank. The carpets were cleaned … NOT. I easily cleaned up all sorts of things with my home carpet cleaner. The glass stove top, black. Easily fixed with Bartender’s Friend (before those special cleaner pads came out). I’m not even going to tell you what was beside the bed.

    Home we bought, and it was the BEST in the area for a half million because nothing is less than that here, dirty, paint a mess, AND not a stitch of caulking in almost 4,000 square feet. I say this because maybe you will understand why we are going on three years getting this done.

    It will be pristine here when we put up the for sale sign. Like you, I wonder if the prospective buyers will either notice or appreciate what went into making it so.

    Making the world a better place to live, one home at a time.

  2. January 4, 2010 11:09 am

    Ugh. I hope you took photographic evidence of all of this, lest you be charged with any of the damage.

  3. January 4, 2010 11:57 am

    This happened to my parents once. They bought a home from a man once that lived with his two grown sons and several dogs. That should have tipped them off. They couldn’t actually see how dirty the house was because of all the “stuff”, but when they walked through the door, it was filthy. They hadn’t bothered to vacuum or wipe down counters, let alone clean bathrooms. My parents had to rip out all the carpets, wash walls, and generally disinfect the whole thing. My Mom was devastated. You have to wonder how people can be such slobs. It sounds like your new home will be wonderful once you get everything done how you want it. I do hope your back cooperates and gets better so you can finish. Take care and have a great week!

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