Betraying evidence: The pre-settlement visit

So, husband signed the offer papers, which were approved. (Of course they were, they saw this sucker coming).  And a few days before settlement, I get to go through the house and have a ‘proper look’. Let me tell you, it’s hard to have a proper look whilst the current owners are sitting there watching, I have to bite my tongue and watch what I say because the phrases “Why would you…” and “What is that there for…” and “Who in their right mind would…” but I don’t. I take a few pictures on the camera (pre-digital, folks!) and mutter under my breath.

They say that the joy in traveling any path is in the journey, not the destination. Just as well, too, because where we are heading for seems a loooooong way away, and there seems to be an awful lot of stop lights, traffic jams and accidents along the way. Lucky we have insurance.

Let me set the scene. Picture this: “Today’s the day”, beamed Mr Rhubarb. “Our inspection, they move out next weekend.” Apparently they have taken pretty much all their belongings already, and want to know if there is anything they have left behind that we may want.   (After I take a look at them, I sincerely doubt it). A short drive later we arrive at something that resembles a fishing shack looking to be inhabited by members of  a motorbike gang. I am trying *very* hard to look suitably impressed.

Front View, September 2002
Front View, September 2002. Note there are none of the original 40’s features remaining on the house, they had all been removed during ‘modernisation’. The dodgy front wall renovation makes the 4 bedroom 3 living area house look poky and small, dark and gloomy.
Apparantly, I am failing, miserabley. He wants to buy a FISHING SHACK?  “Our new house”!! He tadas. I feel my heart sinking.  “It just needs a little work”, says he. “Splash of paint, a couple of doors, a mow, she’ll be great”. Do I need to tell you I am not convinced? 
Perhaps it was the car bodies, so deliciously decorating the back yard. Possibly, the kitchen ‘oven’ perched atop a stereo cabinet circa 1971. Or, perhaps it was the 3 foot concrete eagles, proudly standing each side of the broken front path, chipped beaks and beady red eyes standing sentry, warding off heaven-knows-what.


These stood sentry each side of the concrete front path. Don't be fooled by the photograph, they are almost a meter tall each.

These stood sentry each side of the concrete front path. Don't be fooled by the photograph, they are almost a meter tall each.

 His convictions are not working. I see years of dust, debrit and detritus. This is more than a paint job, folks.

Still, the house *is* only  2 streets from the beach, atop a hill, quiet street, water views from the street (bugger that 2 story house next door!), HUGE block, 2 titles…  And desperate sellers (I wonder why!!) who dropped a sizable chunk as they were up for bridging finance without us.
The current house owners are.. interesting. If a documentary was to be made about an unemployed-occasional-odd-jobs-person and his family, you would choose these people and they would fit the bill perfectly.

He has emphysema, from years of smoking. He has spent his life riding motorcycles and living life hard. It shows. He looks 103. He looks like a retired ZZ Top band member with a hacking cough, which he needs to mop. (Wet cough, lovely).

She has one eye that has half vision and the other that is glass, which is hard to not stare at when you talk to her – they both go in opposite directions. Most disconcerting. She is scheduled to have both knees replaced soon, she says, and because of this the house really is not as clean as it could be. She says she has not been able to bend or lift to do much housework in the last 3 or so years… back up – 3 or so years? –  and anyway, she can’t see the dirt and dust, (she says with a swig) so what does it matter anyway? Ha ha…. And HE, well, he’s no bloody help with that emfffeeseemeeya thing …  are you sure you would not like a Jack Daniels and coke, love?

I decline.

 So home we go, with 3 weeks to pack up almost everything we own including furniture, and only keep out enough clothes, belongings, kitchenware and linen to survive 2 – 3 months while we live out of chaos in order to get at least one room finished.

Shed, car body, treehouse and mowed weeds.
Shed, car body, treehouse and mowed weeds.


Shed. No words, huh?
Shed. No words, huh?

Wish me luck, I think I am going to need it…

Diarised in September, 2002
You can find the finished photos here, if you are impatient to see how the renos finished up :)