The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Assuming Things Will Bite You In The Ass Every Time

Leave a comment

Thursday afternoon I headed down to Niagara Square to pick up a few things from the Michael’s store. After noticing a lot of homes with decorative wreaths on their front doors, I started to wonder if Nat and I couldn’t do something similar. I felt this would add some character to our front door and maybe bring a smile to anyone who chose to visit. Of course, by the time anyone actually comes to our front door, any decorative door hanging will be covered in spider webs  – that’s how often our front door is used. It seems to be more convenient to let any visitors in the house by entering through the garage which is several yards closer than our front door. We also admit to seeing guests arrive by watching them drive past our front window, slow down, turn right onto the side street and then right again onto our drive. We usually have the garage door raised before any visitor even gets out of his vehicle. Maybe a little too anxious??

Knowing the Michael’s store, like I do, it was cheaper for me to just actually buy a decorative door ornament already made up, rather than buy the individual supplies to make it myself. I found a nice rectangular basket filled with various kinds of green foliage that would compliment our yellow/mustard front door. Even Nat felt this would work once we found out how to hang the damn thing – no hooks on the back!! Our front door is made of metal, so what were the odds I’d pick up a table ornament???? Who knew!! Needless to say my loving hubby is at the hardware store now looking for some metal wire and magnetic hooks to hang my wonderful idea. God bless ‘im!!

Since my last posting where I confessed to being one of those nosey neighbours, there’s been a complete turn around. Now, I do admit to being curious as to the comings and goings of our new neighbours, Richard and Helen from Thunder Bay, but the only thing I assumed was the size of their bank account.

Friday morning we started our regular routine – Nat getting groceries, me doing house cleaning and filling up my weekly pill container. Once Nat returned home he walked out to pick up the mail, and proceeded across the street to introduce himself to Richard and Helen who were strenuously removing a dead bush from the corner of their lot. Little Miss Nosey watched anxiously from the office window as the three struck up a pretty good conversation. I could tell by Helen’s arms pointing this way and that. He was over there for a good five minutes – I couldn’t wait for his return.

Little Mr. ‘Goody Two Shoes walked into the office with a smirk on his face. “Did you not hear an accent when you talked to them?”, he queried. “No, I didn’t talk to them long enough”, came my reply. Well, he began to tell me their story and I my chest sank.

Richard and Helen talked with a European accent, albeit faded now from living in Canada so long. We’re guessing they’re German or Austrian only because of their great work ethic. They moved down to this area after his retirement for some peace and quiet in a small community. They had originally looked at Fort Erie, but their real estate agent had suggested the quaint village of Ridgeway which was close to Fort Erie but had more charm and community feel. They really like the home they bought but it soon became a small nightmare once they moved in and actually had a chance to look deeper into to guts of the place. Nat and I knew they were going to redo the entire home, but didn’t know to what extent. As they continued on, they told Nat of the mold in the basement bathroom, the disgusting shower stall, the dripping faucets on every sink AND one of the basement walls had been all shot up by a BB Gun. It now became apparent that the son of the tenant (and brother-in-law to the owner) got very bored at times and took to shooting BBs in the basement leaving the BBs in the wall as evidence. Nat and I will admit to seeing this young lad at his father’s after school and, along with a few (girl) friends had run of the house while his father was working. These youngsters also had a penchant for sitting in his father’s old vehicle, honking the horn at night, slamming the doors and making mischief before their bedtimes. This young lad will not be missed by neither Nat nor I.

Richard and Helen had to instantly replace every tap, get rid of the moldy shower stall, remove the drywall and carpets without fail for their own health. The downstairs doors and windows also had to be replaced, along with a slew of other repairs throughout the whole house. This was now a similar scenario to ours’. We had the chance to do one room at a time as the budget permitted. We had to replace the furnace (red-tagged), change the “disabled” upstairs bathroom, remove and expand the dilapidated back patio, paint every room (especially the wall someone had used as a canvas for a beach scene painting!), and replace parts of the roof and siding when one of our neighbour’s trees fell against our house after a major rain storm in the middle of the night. Nat and I could feel Richard and Helen’s pain.

They both knew there would be renovations when they moved in, but were taken aback once the owner and tenant had moved out and the complete damage was revealed. Our hearts now went out to them. This entire mess was completely unexpected and naturally, not planned for in their renovation budget. Nat and myself had the privilege of getting possession of our new home a couple of weeks prior to moving in. We had the opportunity to do as much painting and repairs as we could during those two weeks, whereas Richard and Helen had moved down from Thunder Bay which is a two day drive from our little village to that northern City. They moved their belongings down this way, rented a storage unit and stayed in a hotel until their deal was closed.

To add insult to injury (where I assumed they had purchased a new white Chevy Silverado truck) their gold Dodge Ram pick-up had been hit while parked at the Lowe’s Store in Niagara Falls. The left side had been rammed, the driver had taken off and the truck had to be taken into the body shop for over a week so repairs could take place. The Chevy Silverado had been a loaner so Richard could at least continue on with hauling old crap to the dump while bringing in any new supplies needed.

Nat had mentioned to them during their sidewalk chat, that he admired their work ethic, but even they admitted “We’re getting tired now”. Who could blame them, not a contractor in site, only the two of them lugging and hauling large, medium and small items in and out of their new home, doing the building, installation and repairs themselves (mostly Richard) and trying their best to keep their budget in the black! When we went through all of our troubles I was ready to pack up and leave within a week but after three weeks Helen still raises her arm and waves to us with a great big smile. Now that’s a great neighbour.

This whole scenario really proves that old adage:- If you ASS-U-ME you make an Ass out of U and Me. Take heart people things are never what they seem!!!

Advertisements

Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s