Tag Archives: house

1898. The dead tree

I don’t know if you can see the photo of these two old trees. One’s dead, and the other is barely alive. My husband and I planted these trees years and years ago. He’s dead now – the husband. He planted the dead one. I planted the other one, the one that’s gnarled and barely alive. I’ll be eighty-seven this coming October.

There used to be a house roughly where the person taking the photo would be standing. That was our house. The first and only house we had. The two children were born there. It was our dream place; a lovely house, not too big and not too small, set on twelve acres of what could only be described as park land. We planted those two trees (and a number of others here and there) as part of the “landscaping” of our park. Our life was like a perpetual honeymoon.

Jude had built the house himself. And I helped of course, as best I could. I sewed drapes and did the painting and wall-papering and so on. Jude was the one with the saw and the hammer and the screw driver and the muscle. It was like a dream come true!

After the birth of the second child things fell apart. We’d been in the house for four years and we put it up for sale. No one ever bought it and Jude disappeared before any divorce proceedings began. I leased out most of the land to a neighbouring farmer and stayed in the house with the children. They’re gone now – the children. Tony’s a lawyer up in the big city, and Rachel manages a business that teachers adults how to do basic computer things.

My current house gets quite cold in winter, so I’ve asked Tony to come and cut down that dead tree for firewood. The one that’s barely alive has a few more years left in it. It might sound cruel but I’m looking forward to burning logs of Jude’s tree throughout the winter. It’s good he’s serving some purpose at this stage of my life. Apart from building the house he wasn’t much good for much when he was here. In fact he was useless. And mean; really mean. It’s why I did him in.

1784. House renovation

Molly had always wanted a sort of “do-it-yourself” house where she could “do things” like painting rooms. No big hammering stuff. Just arranging this and that, and sanding this and that. In fact, the first thing she did once she had moved in and settled was to sand off the old paint on the staircase bannister and stain it. What a transformation! Now to transform the whole house!

As time went by, she became a little more daring. A little window frame change around here and there. She even bought a skill saw! Hammering nails in and pulling nails out was ho-hum. In fact she almost became convinced that in another life she must have been a carpenter.

It was no use wallpapering the passageway, for example, until the physical renovations were complete. In fact, Molly was practically rearranging the whole house. Once all the physical changes had been made she would begin the decorations. The original staircase bannister had already been removed, which goes to show that one can be over enthusiastic when it came to “doing things” too soon.

Because all the changes were not outside the house, no one had the slightest clue that there was such activity going on inside. No permits or the like had been obtained from whatever branch of government demanded such things. Who would know? And indeed, Molly was right.

There was just one more thing that Molly wanted to do before beginning the decorating stage of her project; she wanted to make a wide opening between the dining room and the sitting room. That way it would become an expansive area, an area of vision and visage! But it was going to be Molly’s biggest task. Thank goodness she did not intend to have doors, even sliding doors, in the newly created space. She was a little too impatient for such precision!

Molly cut a large opening in the separating wall. It took only an afternoon. Thank goodness no one was hurt when the roof of the house caved in.

1741. Filling in her day

What a mess! Frederica had popped out to the shopping mall for a brief period of time – she didn’t want to buy anything but she was simply filling in her day – and when she returned the house was flattened. More than flattened; it was kindling. A jet plane had whooshed from the sky and crashed on top of her house. Thank goodness Frederica lived alone and there was no one inside. She didn’t even have a dog or a cat.

Apparently the pilot had ejected and was safe somewhere else. The fire brigade were at the house but they weren’t doing much; just looking really. There was not much they could do. There didn’t appear to be a flame in sight – just a pile of kindling awaiting fire, and some electric cables that the fire brigade were making sure no one went near.

The plane had hit the house and then had skidded out of the way into a field beyond. The plane was a write-off naturally, and on the way into the field had utterly destroyed Frederica’s back garden and fence.

Frederica was in shock of course, but the scene was so surreal that somehow she had trouble realizing that the pile of stuff in front of her was actually her house. If it hadn’t been for the row of fava beans she had planted neatly to the side of her home, she would not have recognized anything to do with her place.

Frederica went to a fire fighter to ask what happened, and all she got was “Step back, lady, it’s dangerous.” So she stood there by herself and looked. What else could she do? A large gaggle of onlookers had gathered and most were either laughing at the bizarreness of it all or muttering concerns as to whether or not “someone had been inside”.

What added to the strangeness of it all was that no one was asking whose house it was. Not the fire brigade, not the police. Frederica went to a policeman to ask if he wanted her name or anything, and all she got was another “Step back, lady, it’s dangerous” with the addition of “This is no time to be troubling us with silly questions”.

Before too long (they had clearly disconnected the electricity) a large bulldozer and front-end loader arrived and began clearing the house and putting it into large trucks which took everything away to goodness knows where. Frederica wanted to ask “But what about all my stuff?” but the official answered “Lady, stop bothering us and let us get on with the job.” Quicker than Frederica would have thought possible the entire section of land was cleared including the row of fava beans. Even her shattered fence had disappeared.

All of this took no longer than two or three hours (Frederica had lost all sense of time) and in the end, when all was done a man appeared with a sign which he hammered into the ground near where her front gate had once been. It read: LAND FOR SALE.

One by one the gaggle of onlookers disappeared. The fire brigade left. The police left. The heavy vehicles left. Frederica was left alone shocked, confused, and puzzled. It would have made a classic painting of a woman standing forlornly before a subdivision of empty land if only there had been a Cézanne or someone to capture it.

And that’s what can happen if you’ve nothing better to do than wander aimlessly down to the shopping mall to fill in time.

1491. Blocked view

The nagging began when Lenny and Patty moved into their new house. Everything was wonderful at first. It lasted a week.

“That tree outside the window blocks the view,” said Patty. “Could you chop it down?”

“Why don’t you chop that tree down? It’s blocking the view.”

“The view is blocked. We’d be able to see the river and all down the valley if you chopped it down.”

Lenny’s patience was wearing thin. He knew from experience that once the nagging reached a certain pitch there was no way of avoiding the consequences. The tree would have to be cut down.

Lenny got his chainsaw. He cut the tree down. It fell on top of him. He was killed. Patty eventually put the house on the market. There was no point living there on her own.

1407. Fate in a flash!

Kelvin Farquhar entered every competition he could lay his hands on. Businesses were forever running promotions with attractive rewards and prizes. Kelvin had never won a thing. He would love to win a car. But what he most wanted was to win was a house. Once a month the Heart Foundation ran a raffle for a house!

Kelvin Farquhar didn’t have that much money. There was no way he could afford a house on his meagre income. His old car rattled and puffed. When that stopped he didn’t quite know what he was going to do. Winning a house would help him get by.

There’s no doubt that Fate can change everything in a flash! Today was the day the house draw took place. Would the phone ring? Kelvin Farquhar had worked out that they would probably phone the winner in the afternoon, so he drove to get the groceries in the morning.

On the way his car overheated. It was no good for anything after that except towing away. And he never won the house either.

1287. Yet another joyful story

Truly wonderful things happen to some people occasionally. Reading the stories on this blog one could get the impression that wonderful things happen all the time, but that is simply not the case. Today, however, something wonderful happens in the story. Perhaps it’s even true.

Sigrid and Ferdinand had been married for five years. They desperately wanted a baby (or two) but it was not something they could afford on their meagre wages. They skimped and saved; they did without. How wonderful it would be down the track if they had some children and owned their own home! They rented an old house. Both were keen gardeners, but there was very little space for a garden.

Every week, on a Friday night, they did the grocery shopping together. They would make a list and spend the entire shopping time discussing (at times even arguing) as to the cheapest and most penny-saving brands.

They were in the vegetable section of the store when they were approached by an elderly lady. She was bright-eyed and alert.

“I couldn’t help but over hear your penny-pinching discussion,” she said. “I have a proposition to make. I’ve always been a keen gardener, and my house is on a large property with an orchard and swimming pool. Sadly, the time has come for me to give it up and go into a retirement home. I have no relatives. No one in the world! I would like to give you my house and land, and even the furniture if you wanted it. I have no need for it, and you could sell it if you wished. If you want it, it’s all yours!”

Sigrid and Ferdinand couldn’t believe it. The elderly lady had already moved out. They could move in when they wanted. And indeed they did! They photographed most of the furniture (some they kept for themselves) and placed advertisements for it on an online trading post.

“We should really get some sparkling wine to celebrate,” said Ferdinand. So off they went to the store.

As they passed through the vegetable section they saw their elderly friend. She had cornered a young couple and was saying, “I couldn’t help but over hear your penny-pinching discussion. I have a proposition to make. I’ve always been a keen gardener…”

Poem 51: Unpacking after moving house

(The poetic form selected for this week is the List Poem)

Toilet paper!
Has anyone seen the toilet paper?
Does anyone know what box it’s in?

I need a drink.
Has anyone seen a glass?
Does anyone know what box it’s in?

Toilet paper! Hurry!

We need a wine!
Once found we’ll sip it from the bottle.
Does anyone know what box it’s in?

Toilet paper! Hurry! Hurry!

We’ll need a cork screw.
Where’s the cork screw?
Does anyone know what box it’s in?

Toilet paper! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

Found them! Thank goodness!
What a relief!
At least I’ve found the Christmas decorations!

WINE!
GLASSES!
CORK SCREW!
TOILET PAPER!

Does anyone know what box they’re in?

1158. Roll Over Shakespeare

I don’t often deviate into a true story, but so many have expressed a kindly interest in my house-hunting that I thought the “story” of getting a successful outcome would be an acceptable off-track thing to do.

We now have a house to go to, but what a saga getting there! It was our third trip away to look at houses, although we’d been looking online for over a year.

Here’s the view as we scamper along the road to the region of New Zealand called Taranaki. See the volcano?

We had decided we weren’t going to move until we found as near a “perfect” rental place as possible. Over the years we have been “forced” to hurriedly move because of work, or the owners sold or wanted the place themselves, and so on. It was time to find a place to rent that suited us! A list of must-haves and nice-to-haves was made, e.g. water pressure (not a dribble), three large bedrooms, room for a sizable vegie garden, a log-burner, two car spaces, and so on.

Several weeks ago we found a semi-suitable place online. It was in the shadow of Mt Egmont, one of New Zealand’s many volcanos.

Last Monday the rental agency phoned to say we had missed out in renting it, but another place had come up for rent. Were we interested? We said we were, and could travel the six-hours there and back to see it next weekend. On Saturday/Sunday we made the journey. It’s near the same volcano! It has three bedrooms, a wood-burner, three garages… It was at 422 Ryelish Road, way-way in the country! The appointment with the rental agency lady was at 11am. We waited at the gate. At 11.15am we still waited at the gate. At 11.30am we still waited at the gate. The rental agency lady didn’t turn up. We sent her a text. No reply.

Blow it! said I. We haven’t travelled all this way not to see it. We shall knock on their door and ask. So we did that, but no one was home. The house was unlocked. We went through the garages. We went through the house. I took photographs of everything. There was even a cat on the bed!! They had recently mowed the lawn in preparation for our inspection!

The place was excellent!

As we returned to our vehicle the phone went. It was the rental agency lady. Where were we? She had waited for an hour. We’re at 422 Ryeish Road.

It’s 422 Ryeley Road, she said.

Oh!

Oh!

It was in fact the next road over. We went there. If the wrong place had been excellent, this next right place was perfection! It couldn’t have been better (although there’s a tree blocking the view of the volcano so I won’t be able to photograph it for you when it explodes).

We shall be moving there in three weeks or so. Time to pack! Thank goodness I’m several months ahead with the daily stories! The nearest town is called Stratford. Roll over Shakespeare!

And that is the story of walking uninvited through some strangers’ house and photographing everything. I might add, they hadn’t made their beds.

767. A little house

767house

A little house. Back a little from the road. On a little hill. Near a little corner. A little door. Two little windows, one each side of the door. A little chimney that sometimes smoked, but the smoke went in, not out. A little path to or from the door; it’s all relative.

No one lived there.

Twice someone knocked. Twice the door opened. Twice a visitor entered never to be seen again. But even more strange: the front doorknob was on the wrong side.

Troy was fascinated. So was everyone. Troy knocked. The door opened. He entered.

The end.