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Waiting for the inspector or someone like him

July 29, 2010

With apologies to Firesign Theater.

Work on the old house progresses.  The painter is in the kitchen and bathroom tackling bits we no longer have the oomph to tackle.  If we’d started there, maybe.  Well….not the bathroom.  We were never going to paint the bathroom, let’s be honest.  We are staining window frames and painting baseboards and closet doors, though, and brother-in-law Joe is handling the more robust repairs, most of which involve greenboard and fire caulk downstairs, in hopes of making the University City inspector happy.

If that’s possible.

On one level I understand why municipalities have inspections–no one wants housing stock to slide.  On the other hand, the fear of words like “Roof” or “Stack” or even “Tuckpointing” coming from an inspector’s lips is palpable.  One word, and it suddenly becomes impossible to break even on the house.  Although we could probably swing some tuckpointing on the chimney.  At least it’s not leaning over towards the roof like our neighbors…a fact which, depending on my mood when the inspector is there, I might share or not.  “It is a boon in wretchedness to have companions in woe,” after all, and as neighbors go they’ve been fairly wretched, as opposed to the Good Neighbors on the other side.  We share a driveway with them and not Them, thank goodness.

I think we figured out we were fundamentally incompatible with the Bad Neighbors when the woman referred to Hasta Lilies as “ugly green things.”  Or maybe when they planted tomatoes on our property because we had more sun than they did.  Or maybe when we decided not to press them when a limb from their tree dented our shed, and they responded by hiring fly-by-night contractors to take down another limb than loomed over their house, and damaged our fence in the process–damage when they then reported to the University City inspector, who made us fix it.

Yeah, I’m leaning towards mentioning the leaning chimney.

The worst part about the inspection is the mind games one starts playing.  Should I mow right before the inspection?  No, that looks like we’re trying too hard.  But we do need to mow, if only to demonstrate we’re still taking care of the place.  Whoops, had to reschedule…now it will be five days unmowed instead of two.  Is that too long?

That sort of thing.  It will drive you nuts if you let it.

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