Cracked

Tonight, we went once again to the house we’ve put an offer on, to get a look at the attic that we were previously unable to get into. The attic has precious little storage space, but that’s not so bad because the basement has plenty of room to be built into family space and to include a big storage room that would comfortably hold more than my current attic will hold. Our brother-in-law came along with us tonight to look around. He worked for a while as a supervisor for our contractor uncle, so he knows better than we do what sorts of major boo-boos to look for. Unfortunately, as we were walking around out back after looking at the basement, he noticed a large crack in the foundation that had escaped our attention. If I recall correctly (I was too freaked out to remember to snap a picture), it ran vertically for maybe four feet and then shifted over a couple of inches and ran vertically again for another foot or two. In other words, it wasn’t just cracked mortar (which a stairstep pattern might have indicated) but was evidence of cracked cinderblocks. We’ve already turned away from one house because it had a “repaired” cracked foundation. You just have to wonder how one can really repair such a fundamental problem confidently. If you know a local structural engineer who works pro bono, let me know.

It’s going to be very hard to turn away from this house. I tried to go to bed two hours ago but can’t sleep because my head’s spinning over this. I glanced over around 50 houses in online listings tonight and found none that measure up to this one. We’ve got a question in to the owner’s realtor about the history of the crack (she says she didn’t know about it). I guess it’s possible that we could amend our offer to require a foundation assessment and repair, but I’m awfully skittish about purchasing something with this type of flaw, both because it freaks me out in the short term and because it’s the sort of thing you have to disclose when trying to sell in the long term. So we’ll see.

In selling news, we had people look at our house on Friday and Saturday. I can’t really express what a raging pain in the ass selling your house is. First, you have to actually do a thorough cleaning to pretend to potential buyers that you’ve lived the last X years like a civilized human being who wouldn’t dream of, for example, just squirting a big circle of dish soap around a bunch of ants to corral them rather than addressing the actual problem (e.g. mopping the floor to eradicate whatever invisible food trail brought them in to begin with). Then, once you’ve put on this charade of having lived a little less like a savage than you’ve actually lived, you have to actually continue to live less like a savage because you could get the call at any minute that somebody wants to come poke through your underwear drawer and turn their nose up at your beloved abode in the next few hours. This means making your bed (a stupid practice if ever there was one), vacuuming daily, worrying about what window your two-year-old has smudged or what food she’s smeared on her kitchen chair, dusting — get this — dusting your fucking plants (!), wishing you had never used your kitchen sink because the water that naturally spashes from time to time has caused the wallpaper the previous owners foolishly installed to curl up a little (shhh, don’t tell anybody), having to call the plumber who spilled some purple gunk that’s impervious to all cleaning materials right in the middle of your kitchen floor to ask him for the phone number of the witch who knows a hoodoo spell to get this crap up, actually having your vacuum cleaner break (I think a pin or sprocket fell out of the power switch, which now waggles back and forth loosely rather than toggling with a click) and writing a baleful and near-grovelling note to Eureka asking for some kind of help because you’re losing hair over how much money you’re already hemorrhaging and you really don’t want to blow another $100 on a new vacuum cleaner when you just bought this one a couple of months ago, burning through about seventeen very large candles a week so that people don’t have to smell your own dead skin or that of your pets (until you move out — muwhwhaahahaa), and finding excuses not to spend much time living in the home you love anymore because you for damned sure can’t leave behind any sign that any human being currently lives or ever has lived in your home.

Ahem, so we had two viewings this weekend and were on alert for a possible third one. The first viewers thought our home overpriced for the lack of upgrades, compared to the other one-story homes in our subdivision. The only other one that’s not low-balling does have wood floors, but it’s also got powerlines sparking (I imagine) in the back yard and is very nearly under the weaving road that goes by our subdivision. Plus I hear it’s haunted. They don’t call it the old Marswell place for nothing. This is my insincere but embittered wish that if the first viewers buy that home, some careless driver finds himself crashing through their living room on their first day in their fabulous upgraded new home (it has laminate flooring throughout). (We have a fence and a better yard, for criminy’s sake.) The second viewers had a more favorable opinion of our house but were early in the home-buying process. The possible viewing today never materialized, and we lived like higher mammals and burned candles and stood stock-still and barefoot on our tip-toes in one spot all day and locked our child in a stain-resistant box for no good reason at all. Our realtor offered this evening to go ahead and do an open house on Sunday. So if you’re in the market, ignore that stuff I said about living like savages (is it too late to claim artistic license?) and come on by. If you’re not in the market but are curious about my living circumstances, I guess you can show, though I hope you won’t dillute the open house and will bring an interested friend, at least.

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