Full Disclosure: If you read the following you may worry about my sanity and if you are close to me, you may consider having me committed. It sounds desperate because I feel desperate. Getting it all written out, has actually been very liberating and therapeutic and I think I am going to be okay. And, silver lining, I’m writing again, even if it is shit writing about shit, at least I’m feeling inspired. I spoke to Sam on the phone after work today and he told me he is working on not telling everyone what’s going on, so he doesn’t have to stay a victim. I thought that was a very novel idea considering I tell everyone who will listen, even the pizza delivery guy in the elevator at the hotel who asks me how my day is going, “not so well sir, our house that we lived in for 4 days flooded with shit.” I don’t feel like being gracious like Sam, I wrote a whole blog about Shitstorm 2016, and now my two readers will know all the sordid details, and I will do my best to keep my problems to myself and move on in a more positive direction.
I keep wondering where things got so fucked. Was it that we signed all of the important paperwork while Mercury was in Retrograde? I knew we shouldn’t have done that, I told Sam we should wait. But you can’t wait when you’re talking escrow. You’re not supposed to sign any important documents while Mercury is in Retrograde. We got our wedding license before Mercury went retrograde and made our officiant agree to wait, a full week after our marriage, to sign the license until it was over. Isn’t buying a house, kind of along the lines of signing a marriage license, in the realm of important shit that you do in life and shouldn’t fuck with? Were there red flags along the way that we were painting white because we wanted this house so badly? I thought when we got into a bidding war, they chose us because we had the best loan and the best down payment, was it because we were the biggest suckers and the easiest to run one over on?
That scene from The Money Pit goes through my mind over and over. You know the one, where Tom Hanks and Shelley Long are standing over a giant gaping hole in the floor that the bathtub has just fallen through. The camera is looking up at them from the bottom of the hole that the bathtub has just come crashing through and Tom Hanks is laughing, cackling, like a hyena. And I don’t know what happens next, but I kind of presume he had to check into a psych ward shortly after that, and spent the rest of his days doing the Thorazine shuffle. I can’t remember the whole movie, I just have all these clips of it on a reel, repeating through my head. The two of them standing in another room, yelling at each other, and it is decided that they will finish the house, and then sell it and split the profits and go their separate ways. Tom Hanks covered in concrete, sitting in a fountain with a cherub that pees water out on him. These clips of this movie just going round and round and I think, it could be much much worse, we could have bought a house like that…and then it’s as if God has heard my thoughts, like I spoke them right to his face, and he leans over and whispers to his friend, “you wanna see a neat trick, you want to see me really fuck with them?” And as we sit down on our brand new couch for the first night without incident since we moved in 4 days ago, a river of shit comes flowing out into the living room. Well played God.
I’m not sure where it all actually began, but I know it started long before the shit river ever started running through our house. At what point did I actually become as hysterical as Tom Hanks when that bathtub goes crashing through the floor and he just loses it?
Now that I really try to think back to the beginning, there truly were some ominous omens. We were supposed to close escrow on June 23rd, but there was a mix up with locking in loan rates, we moved escrow up to close June 1st and asked the sellers to rent it back from us, they wouldn’t, so we rented it back to them for free. I didn’t want to agree to this, but I was told, in the grand scheme of things, those 23 days did not matter, because we had such a great interest rate. I also was told, when I asked if this was in writing, that the seller gave us his word as a gentleman that if they did not have their place by the 23rd, they would move into a hotel, apparently his word was as strong as oak. They were in the house for 23 days, from when we did the final walk through until we got the keys, actually 24 because they didn’t finish moving out until late at night on the 23rd of June. We owned the house for 24 days while these squatters lived in it. Did they break the pipes, and the washing machine, and infest the backyard with fleas in those 24 days? We put in our notice at our house on June 1st to move out on July 1st. The plan was, to take that week to make minor cosmetic repairs to the house and redo the guest bathroom and move in July 1st. A few days before June 23rd, we got a phone call from their agent, they wanted to stay longer, something with their loan was not panning out. This long story short, is turning very long, like all my stories, so I will try to abbreviate. There was a very heated argument between Sam and I, where I said I wanted them out on the streets, like they agreed to, and Sam said he just wants to treat them the way he would want to be treated. They had a two week old baby and he didn’t want that on our conscience. So we told them they could stay, they ended up saying they did not need the time and would be out by the 23rd, I had a bad feeling then that the universe would punish me for being willing to put a baby out on the streets.
That was where it all begun. From there we went on to various arguments over repairs to the house, the things that were important to me weren’t important to him, and the things that were important to him weren’t important to me. I won’t bore you with the mundane details of those horrendous weeks, I was assured by other couples that cohabitate that these were all par for the course and that everyone argued over this type of thing. Looking back, I was so angry and the situation seemed so out of control but it truly was a walk in the park. It’s all relative right? I would pay money for those problems, only weeks later. So I was thinking, there is no way to really condense this whole saga into a short story, so instead, I’m going to present you with a timeline:
Thursday, June 23rd: We are told we will be able to get keys at 1PM, 1PM comes and goes and our agent gets a call from the seller’s agent saying they are still moving and we can come get keys at 5PM. At 5PM we get another call saying they will be out at 7:30PM, at 7:30PM we get a call saying they will be out at 9PM at the latest. At 9:30PM, when we are sure they must be out by now, we drive to our new house and there is still a moving van in the driveway, I ask Sam to keep driving, I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot by going out in our new driveway and flying off the handle at these squatters, we will try again tomorrow.
Friday, June 24th: The squatters are finally gone! We take Stewie to the house for the first time. Later that evening around 9PM at our old house, we discover Stewie is crawling with fleas, and I think, that is strange, he is up to date on his flea medication. We give poor Stewie a shower outside at 9:30PM because we don’t know what else to do, once he is dry, we put on new flea medication.
Saturday, June 25th-Friday July 1st: Minor cosmetic work done to the house and full blown guest bathroom remodel is underway. Toilet and sink are ripped out of bathroom, tile is ripped out and tile guy starts new tile. On the days we take Stewie to the house, he always comes back covered in fleas. We were supposed to move on July 1st, house is still a mess and not ready so we delay move to July 3rd, more arguing over this. I call Best Buy and Living Spaces to confirm the deliveries we have scheduled for tomorrow. Living Spaces let’s me know they are not coming and there never was a delivery scheduled as they don’t even have our furniture yet (three different friends who told me Living Spaces suck, flash through my mind and I realize I am so tired of fighting and just roll over and take it).
Saturday, July 2nd: I go to new house at 8AM to meet cleaning crew who will be cleaning house and also to meet Best Buy who is delivering a fridge and oven between 10AM and 12PM. At 1PM, Best Buy has still not arrived, I call and get passed around for 30 minutes and eventually told they have no idea where the driver is. At 5PM, 5 hours after the delivery window has passed, I finally get ahold of someone at Best Buy who tells me, “the bad news is, they forgot part of your delivery on the truck this morning, the good news is, our wonderful driver has decided to go back for you and get your oven.” I let the lady know that, all due respect but I’m not moved that her lovely driver has agreed to go back for me, because I wasted my whole day, sitting in an empty house, waiting for a phantom when I could have been packing, and nobody even bothered to call. Best Buy delivers our fridge and oven around 8:00PM. We find out the next day that the new fridge is broken and on backorder for 30 days, so in 30 short days they will bring us a new fridge!
Sunday, July 3rd Moving Day: Sam goes to the house at 7AM to spray with poison for fleas before we get there. We move. I wash the sheets for our bed in our washing machine that the sellers “threw in” with the deal. The washing machine stops on spin cycle. No matter how many times I try to work that god forsaken washing machine, it is broken. I go to Ross at 10:30 at night (I still can't get over that they are open so late), in order to get dry sheets for our beds. Stewie has more fleas, we decide to keep the dog door shut permanently until flea problem is under control and monitor every time he goes in and out.
Monday, July 4th: Sam buys more potent poisonous flea poison than he sprayed yesterday and sprays the whole perimeter of the house again, he literally wears a hazmat suit to do this and disposes of all his clothes after. Apparently we have moved to Baghdad. Although it is the most spectacular fireworks show I have ever witnessed in my life, 360 degrees of lights, Stewie is not fond of it. It literally sounds like we are under attack in Benghazi from 8:00PM until 2:00AM the next morning. Stewie and his fleas spend the night in my lap in pure terror.
Tuesday, July 5th: I come home from work to our master bathroom flooded with clean water. I think, this is a real fucking nightmare, but at least it’s not shit water. The Stewie inspections continue every time he goes outside to do a potty. Our backyard is being held hostage by these terrorist fleas. Every time Stewie comes in he is inspected with a fine tooth comb and each individual flea is picked off and has their little flea head ripped off because that’s the only way to kill the fuckers.
Wednesday, July 6th: I actually believe Wednesday passed without incident. Living Spaces even called Sam in the afternoon and said they would deliver our furniture between 8PM and midnight and they even arrived before midnight! Wednesday was a pretty decent day..besides the fleas.
Thursday, July 7th: I see a parking police driving in front of me on my way to work and I think, that’s the horrible woman that I got into an altercation with on Santa Monica Blvd a year ago. I consider ramming her car from behind at the red light and dealing with whatever the consequences of that will be, I follow her for a while and then realize it is not the same woman from last year but actually a man. The Flea Busters come over to assess the problem, they spray our yard with a microscopic worm called a Nematode. The Nematodes are harmless to humans and animals but apparently these brave Nematode soldiers will eat the fleas! We have Joelene and John over in the evening to get their opinion on our new couch which seems very large for the room it is in. Sam takes John to the back to show him some man thing and I hear a shout from Sam. I run back and see water, seeping through the door of the guest bathroom, but this water is not clean water, this water has a scent. Everything is a blur from there, I hear somebody suggest, “I think it’s time to take Gayle for an Ice Cream.” I remember going through the McDonalds drive-thru with Joelene and getting a Sundae. I remember blubbering incoherently about how this is a never ending nightmare as my Sundae melted and dripped all down my legs in the car. By the time we got back to the house you could smell the shit from the street. I wasn’t allowed to go back inside, nobody wanted me to see anything, they didn’t want me to have a “breakdown,” which is so funny because I lost it after about the third day of the war on fleas.
Friday, July 8th: The insurance people send a team of people out to our house to inspect damages. None of the plumbing will be covered, as that is simply not covered, but all of the damage will. They want to rip out half our house that has just been finished being painted and fixed. We will have to move to a hotel for at least a month, they’ll cover the costs. Plumbers come out and say they will fix the broken pipe line tomorrow. We check into hotel. Stewie really hates the hotel, there is no yard and he is claustrophobic, but at least there are no fleas.
Saturday, July 9th: Plumbers come in and fix plumbing problem. Now a few thousand dollars later, the demo on the house can start and we will start over fresh. We decide to stay at the house not the hotel because none of us could sleep at the hotel, flea inspections continue.
Sunday, July 10th-Monday July 11th: Pretty incident free. Besides the fleas, always the fleas. The Nematodes haven’t done shit, maybe we aren’t paying them enough? Demo is scheduled to start tomorrow morning, after everything is torn out, we can build it back up.
Tuesday, July 12th: I am getting ready for work in the morning and packing my bags to go to the hotel after work since Demo starts today. I think to myself, it can only get better from here (this is about the tenth time I’ve had this thought and I wonder why I am such a fucking idiot). I hear a bubbling sound coming from the toilet. I cry for Sam and he rushes to turn off the water. He runs to the guest bathroom where the shit storm happened previously and pulls up the makeshift plug that was in the ground where the toilet used to be. It’s covered in shit. The shit literally came up to the very top again but thank God for the smallest of miracles, we turned off the water before it came over this time. Sam calls the demo team and tells them not to come out today, no point on having a new house that’s full of shit!! Sam calls the plumber back. Plumber comes to house and deems that they fixed the wrong section of pipe and we do in fact, have to replace the whole entire line. I don’t even ask Sam how much this will cost, I don’t think my soul can handle it.