Dear Man from Whom we Purchased this House:
I am not going to involve your wife in this issue, as I feel she, like any mother, would instinctively share my concerns. I will henceforth assume she’s either suffering from Stockholm Syndrome or does not possess the capacity to distinguish right from wrong.
When we viewed this house initially, we noticed several crosses on the wall in your bedroom. To each his own, we thought, but were oddly comforted by the assumption that we may have been dealing with morally upright, responsible parents of three. What a worry-free way to pass the torch to first-time buyers!
The neighborhood seemed to be filled with children, and your realtor appeared relieved that we were “nicer than that other couple who were looking at the house” and would “fit in well”.
I got a bad feeling when I saw you at the closing, rather, when you opened your mouth at the closing, cockily pronouncing that you handled the landscaping at the house. You turned me right off. We had already signed the papers at that point, but, boy, did I want to cut and run.
About a month after we moved in, we received a letter from the town that our house was in violation because no Certificate of Occupancy (i.e. the piece of paper that says people are allowed to occupy the finished basement) had been issued for the home. My husband and I ran around in circles, making calls to everyone involved in the sale. We wondered how, through a title search and the normal home buying process, that this could be missed. After hemming and hawing and recovering just enough to approach the problem, we invited four inspectors into the house, called in contractors to correct the violations, and had the Certificate issued.
It was at this point we began to question what (and whom) we were dealing with. Not soon after, we learned, via a puddle on the floor, that the master bedroom toilet had been secured to the ground with sheetrock screws. No worries, man. We had that fixed. Very soon after, a spontaneous conversation with the neighbor kids revealed that “there was so much water in the basement that we had to stand on the furniture!” Again, no worries. It’s just the safety of my family.
You see, my friend, as my husband always says, nothing stays hidden forever.
A few weeks later, the burglar alarm sensor on the front door stopped working. We called in the alarm company, who pointed out to us that the base of the front door was completely rotted. Our home inspector noticed the threshold and kickplate, and we had those repaired, but no one noticed the door.
It was around this time we started to feel like we were being bit by some sort of insect inside the house. We called in the pest control company, had treatments done, up to and including a ludicrously expensive heat treatment, to eliminate whatever was plaguing our family. I lost sleep. I lost a lot of sleep. One tends to lose sleep when one’s children are being needlessly harmed.
Our belongings were sealed up in bags and brought to the garage. Furniture was thrown out. We’ve been living out of plastic garbage bags since June. All the decorations we had lovingly chosen were taken down. We also removed everything that had belonged to you, including your washer and dryer. In the process, we realized that you had only painted as far as the buyer’s eye could see. Should we have moved appliances to see if you actually painted behind them? Should I have climbed up over the washing machine and peered behind it? Seems I should have. Kind of ridiculous, right?
And, by the way, nice touch on taking the outlet covers off to paint the bedroom and painting right over all the dead bees inside the outlets. I guess we should have removed the outlet covers as well while viewing the house?
But I digress. Back to the bugs. It was only after having a specially trained dog search the house that we realized we had carpet beetles.
You said you had three kids, right? And lived here for eleven years?
That’s when we really, truly embraced the fact that we may not be so similar after all.
So we took care of the basement, the toilet, the vast and varied assortment of insects, the Certificate of Occupancy, and we’re in the process of having both the door replaced and all of the rugs removed and replaced with hard flooring. We’ve more than burnt the time and the energy you were lucky enough to conserve over the past ten years.
You robbed us of the first summer in our home. You kept our family away from us and our children. You’ve taken every cent that has come into this house since we arrived. You’ve robbed us of the ability to provide our children a safe and comfortable place in which to grow, but worst of all, you took our lifelong dream and strangled it unconscious.
My family, friends, and curious onlookers suggest we take you to court, but, you, my greedy, sneaky friend, are not the kind one takes to court. Besides, all of our time and money is tied up in keeping this house afloat for our children.
Despite all that, this is our house now, and we will no longer be subject to your failings as a father, as a husband, and as a homeowner. You have your money, but it was ill-gotten, and in my experience, nothing ill-gotten stays, so enjoy it while you can.
My family is strong and wise, and we’re doing the very best we can to ensure our health and safety. Which will be easy, since there’s no way in hell we’d ever allow our children to live the way you’ve let yours.
You took an entire summer’s worth of precious time, peace of mind, energy, and money from my family, but you will not take a single second more. Those days are through.
And just so you know, we chuckled the last time your church’s bulletin ended up in our mailbox.