Although the search for a new place to live is always stressful — the “lose sleep, eat nothing but Cheetos, wonder how many blankets the shelters will give you when you’re homeless” kind of stressful — sometimes you just have to laugh. In my case, I’ve recently had to laugh at:
1. The house with no bathroom sink. Toilet, bathtub and mirror, yes, but no sink — and no room for one, either. Apparently, many of the small rowhomes from the 20’s were designed with this layout. You were expected to wash your hands in the tub. Now I understand why I’m reading so many listings that enthusiastically point out the “three piece bathroom!” I used to think the owners were desperate to make their list of renovations sound longer — “who doesn’t have at least a three piece bathroom?” I said to myself — but now I realize that these rehabbers had to knock a bedroom wall back to squeeze in a sink.
2. The house with no kitchen roof. Well, the rafters were there… but the actual ceiling was made of 1′ x 1′ squares of aluminum sheeting, probably purchased in a roll from Home Depot and cut by hand with a pair of kitchen scissors, and attached willy-nilly to the rafters with a staple gun.
My god, I wish I had taken a picture of this. Talking about it just can’t do justice to the horror. Picture a shiny, rippling river of flimsy scrap metal shards. Now picture it hovering directly above your refrigerator.
3. The house “renovated” by a woman who obviously knew less than I do about home repairs. “Believe it or not, this is all new sheetrock!” she proclaimed. “I just didn’t know how to seal up the seams, so I did the popcorn ceiling thing over it.”
“She’s lying,” my realtor whispered to me. “That wall hasn’t been touched since the 70s.”
The owner of this tremendous disappointment also claimed that when she updated the heating system, “the law” prevented her from installing the new ducts inside the walls of the house. So she just ran them straight through the rooms. My favorite “oh, crap” moment was when we realized that the heating duct in the kitchen was horribly bent out of shape from the back door smashing into it every time it opens.
4. The Granny house. Pink plush carpets on every floor, floral wallpaper on every wall, a different floral wallpaper on the ceilings (!), and pictures of the last two Popes hanging in the kitchen.
After witnessing all of that, the house I’ve settled on looks like heaven (it’s not, of course — it has its quirks), but I’m not going to get into that yet out of fear that I’ll jinx my offer. And then I’ll spend the next few months peeling aluminum sheeting off of my kitchen ceiling.