On July 5, the lease on my new house officially started. While I am not actually moving out of the apartment until the 17th, I wanted to go check out the house since we essentially signed the lease without really looking at it. This is not to say that we had never seen the house, however. When first looking for houses we had a list of potentials and would just knock on the door to see if the tennants would let us look around. This avoided us having to wait for three weeks for the realtor to get around to showing us the places. All of the houses except this one were very friendly and let us in and showed us around. 610 Progress, however, was a unique experience.
We park in front of the place and all of the windows are covered with sheets and the yard is poorly maintained at best. We knock on the door and nobody answers so we start to leave and then the door opens a little and some guys head sticks out. He then slides out of the small crack in the doorway and closes it behind him as quickly as possible. When asked he said that we could not go in the hosue right now and should make an appointment with the realtor, and he then went back in the house and quickly shut the door. Based on his behavior and desheveled, hippy appearence we suspected that some sort of drug related activity was currently going on in the house. Undeterred, we made an appointment with the realtor to tour the house a few days later.
The day we were to tour the house Slaski, who you see on the left after he drank all of the 99 Bannannas some goon gave us, was supposed to meet us after class to go to the house. I ran into him before class to make sure he remmembered and he said "Oh, I have a meeting at that time." I would not have been irritated by this except that he didn't bother to tell anyone that he would be late to tour the house and I would not have known at all had I not ran into him in front of randolph. So he says he will meet us at the house after his meeting and should still get to see the place.
We arrive at the house and find that nobody from the realtor is there to meet us. After 15 minutes we call them and ask what is up. They say that nobody called that morning to confirm so they assumed that we no longer wanted to see the house. At first I was irritated at the realtor for not having more faith that we would keep an appointment and for arbitrarily assuming that we would call them that morning but I then found out that Slaski had apparently told them that he would confirm that morning and had neither done so, or let anyone else know that we were supposed to, or even bothered to show up for the tour. In any event, we are eventually let into the house and are immediatly greeted by an overpowering smell of weed. We are shown a couple of rooms on the first floor and assured that when we move in the doors will have nobs and the graffiti on the walls will have been painted over.
The realtor allows us to go upstairs but refuses to go herself for fear of what she knows she will find up there. Upstairs we are greeted by a couple of guys surrounded by a dense cloud of smoke and drug paraphanalia. we are a bit unsure about entering the room but they don't seem freaked out at all and make no attempt to hide their activities and invite us into the room. We make a cursory scan of the room but are eager to leave because of the awkwardness of the flagrant drug use going on at the time with the realtor at the bottom of the stairs. We reach to open the next door and the guy steps out and says "I wouldn't go in there if I were you." This gets us to wondering what might be in there. The room is to small for a bedroom, particularly since there is a huge bedroom on the first floor going unused. We assumed it had to something pretty extreme for the guy to prevent us from seeing it considering he was so unconcerned about the overtness of his weed. From that point on this room would be referred to as the hydroponics bay, named for its most likely use.
This house has 6 bedrooms if you count the hydroponics bay and 3 of them are huge; ~ (23'x13'.) Due to some jerk townwy no-college-students law, only three unrelated people can live in a house. So this house was for three people even though it had six rooms. For this reason they had to make the rent reasonably low (1200$) so that three people could afford it. Because of this we could just stick in a fourth person and get a huge house for a pretty low rent, so we chose this house even though it was in rampant disrepair. We met to sign the lease at the arranged time and Slaski had not shown up. After several minutes of trying to get a hold of him he finally answered the phone and said "Oh, I decided to go out to eat." He was at this point removed from the lease and replaced by Alkerr (right.)
I was a little bit concerned that the previous tennants were moving out June 30 and we could move in July 5. That would give the owner only five days to fix the place up, which seemed like an impossible task. I figured that they knew what they were doing, however, and assumed that the place would be clean and in working order when we arrived. I should have known that the result of such an assumption is about as predictable as preceding an action with "watch this!"
The first thing I noticed on arrival was some sort of dead, flattened sappling in the yard with a few errant beer bottles, a nail file, and a corn cob that had been there for quite some time. As I was pondering this I discovered that I was unable to open the front door. This is not because the key did not work, but, presumably, because of a fresh coat of paint, the door was stuck. A fair amount of pushing got the door open and I then discovered the treasure trove of surprises throughout the house.
The hardwood floors were so scratched up and worn down that I think replacing would be more useful than refinishing. I then noticed that we had a fireplace. This was nice, I thought, however on closer inspection there appeared to be a pillow stuck in it. It was unclear if the pillow was just missed by the owner, or was put in there as the sign to not use it. I found it unusual to say the least. A quick glance around the room revealed that the house did not have grounded outlets. It had old school non-grounded, non-polarized outlets being led by the one shown here which was imbedded into the plaster instead of with a face plate.
Exploring the house revealed several more interesting anomolies. In the basement there are some heating ducts such as this one which is supported by a rock. While I am not positive, I beleive the rock to be load bearing. The real question is whether or not the red T-shirt crammed beside this tube is also load bearing or if it is safe to remove it. What will soon be our server room has a cardboard window. I next discovered a climbing wall in the corner of the basement which was pretty neat, but to the left of it I found the mate to the chimney pillow. This one appeared to have been stuffed into some hole in the wall to act as insulation. My theory is that over time we will find the rest of the pillow set hidden in various places throughout the house. It is like some sort of house warming treasure hunt arranged for us by the owner.
The house was apparently not designed to have phone lines as the bedroom 'phone jacks' consist of some wires comming out of a hole in the floor. The support beams in the bedrooms are also full of these large cracks. It looks as though the owner thought that if he tried to fill the breaks in with paint we might not notice. The 'closet' is some boards arranged to form a cubicle in the corner of the room. One of the walls is also clearly what used to be the external wall of the house. This room additionally has two thermostats which I can almost guarentee will do nothing to affect the output of the budget radiator that runs along the back wall.
One interesting thing about this house is that one of the windows opens onto the roof. This allows for the barbacue on the roof with a healthy supply of 40s. While I was up there I noticed this coffee mug in the gutter. This is also when I noticed the pan, hat, and variety of other objects in that bush. The patio is made out of these neat bricks with a design on them, however it looks as though nobody has used it in years, except as a surface on which to break beer bottles. There are so many weeds growing up between the bricks you can barely see the bricks. It is like some ancient ruins in the backyard.
One plus is that while this place may need a serious amount of work, I can't imagine the realtor charging us for any damage we do.
Note: all the images on this page can be seen in full here.