Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I have been crazy busy this past week.  

I had planned to have a garage sale at my dad's house after the New Year in order to empty out the rest of his things before starting construction on the termite-ridden structure.  DH was going to come with me, do the yard work, help organize things and be my garage sale assistant. At the last minute, we received word from the recreation dept. that there would be a basketball practice on January 3rd, the same day as my garage sale.  

I couldn't change the date.  Every other Saturday for the next two months will be chewed up by basketball.

The only solution involved taking two cars to the in-laws, DH 's parents, spending New Year's Eve with them, leaving the kids, bringing the dog, driving two cars to my dad's, working together for a day, sending DH back to pick up the kids, take them home, handle the practice on Saturday, and me staying behind to do the garage sale, meet a person who wanted to buy my dad's motorcycle, and clean things up afterward. 

I'm tired just typing about it.

On the upside, things went fabulously well at the garage sale.  I sold practically everything I put out and succeeded in putting a huge dent into the mess that was my father's workshop/garage. We should be ready to hire a contractor to begin repairs in a couple of weeks.

The only negative was dealing with avid garage-salers.  They are a special breed, these bargain hunters, simultaneously cheap and frivolous in their spending.  They nickel and dime you to death.  Everything I put out was priced incredibly cheaply: $10 for a circular saw and accompanying blades, $5 for a mini-chainsaw, $15 for an electric lawn edger.  The point was to move things quickly.  Yet, despite my rock-bottom prices, people still wanted to negotiate.

Most of the time I didn't care. Every once in a while someone would push me too far, like the man who wanted me to lower the price for my dad's 37-inch TV from $60 to $15, and he was serious.  I told him I would rather give it to someone than sell it to him for $15.

Another person balked at the $25 price tag on a brand-new microwave.  She wanted to pay $10. I said I would go down to $15 and she hesitated.  I finally told her that if she could find a brand-new microwave for less than that she was free to look elsewhere.  Her friend convinced her to buy it.

I had to remind myself that the primary goal was not to make money, but to empty the house. I'm sure my dad would have had another heart attack if he had to watch people buying his things at such low prices. 

Still, I'm glad to have one more giant task behind me.

While I was cleaning up the house, I decided to be adventurous and pry off  small pieces of drywall to see just how bad the termite damage was in the wall studs.  There's a reason they say "ignorance is bliss".  One wall had several studs that were eaten halfway through the wood.  The other wall...well, let's just say that ashes to ashes and dust to dust would be an apt description.  The area I had exposed had an empty space where the stud was supposed to be, and a huge pile of dust at the base of where it used to connect to the floor. 

That's bad...very bad.

Every time I think about the situation, I wonder what my dad would have done when he retired and got ready to sell the house.  Probably, he would have done some superficial repairs and tried to sell it.  Although I know that he was aware of the termite issue, and was trying to battle them with do-it-yourself type treatments, I don't think he knew how bad the situation was. Without opening up the walls he wouldn't have known the extent of the problem.

I could imagine him going through the roof about it.....swearing, trying to find a cheap way to fix it himself, or letting the next owner worry about the problem. It would have seriously ruined his retirement plans and greatly upset him.

A large chunk of the money he had saved for his retirement will be used to fix the house.  That would have killed him.

I'm just grateful that he had done such a good job of preparing for his retirement, because there's no way we would have the money to make these repairs if he hadn't.

At the very least, when things are finished, the house should be in great condition and ready to sell, or rent out.

Now, I'm just recovering from my busy weekend and enjoying the first day of school after the Winter Break.  I was happy about it.  I have a long list of things I need to get done today. Intuitive Monkey, however, greeted the day with tears. While I was making the morning coffee I heard gentle whimpering.  I entered Monkey's room to find him half-dressed, sitting on the floor and crying. When I asked him what was wrong, he said he didn't want to go back to school because he didn't have fun there.  He then proceeded to sob uncontrollably, already mourning the long lost days of playing Wii, going to the park, staying up until 9:00 pm, and reading Power Pack comic books.

Life is tough for a soon-to be 7 year old.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Some people like haggling, feeling they have beat the system in some way. I can't fathom that myself, but that's what I see.

Boethius said...

Wow, I am tired hearing about your week. I hope being involved in basketball will not be too much for you. I pray God will give you strength for it all.