Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Buried Treasure

So it turns out that the previous owner of the new house was a bit of a hoarder. Well, more than a bit. We didn't notice how bad it was during the home inspections because the house is so big that it looked like "some piles of stuff all over the place."

However, as we cleaned out the rooms, we filled three dumpsters with garbage. And to help you really get the scale of the mess, let me tell you that these aren't trash cans, or even the kind of dumpsters you'd see behind a restaurant or school. These are full-on semi trailer sized dumpsters.

And we filled three. So far.

But before you get to feeling too sorry for us, in all of the trash we found a bit of treasure. Here are just some of our big scores:
  • Life Magazine in mint condition that describes the Andrea Doria crash for the first time
  • 1930's porn (eeew)
  • 1 full bottle of DDT
  • 1 full bottle of something that smelled even scarier than the DDT
  • Harper's Bazaar describing the Titanic disaster for the first time
  • Several stock/bond certificates from the early 1900s that we could perhaps try to cash in, but they look so cool we may save them as art
  • Confederate money -- several $1, $5 and even $100 bills
  • An old quackery medical device from Raytheon that actually microwaves your skin
  • Blueprints from the 1980 restoration of the Statue of Liberty
  • Contestant photo from the 1954 Miss America Pageant
  • A handwritten letter describing a suspected murder
  • Divorce papers from the 1950s
  • Land deeds and titles from 1850 - 1918
 So all in all, a pretty cool treasure hunt.

In other news, the poison ivy has now spread to all family members -- including the dog. And we found out that hemorrhoid cream is the  most effective treatment for the itchy bumps. It's all good.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Exploring Poison Ivy

The new house seems to have been built on some sort of poison ivy super site. We suspect that this property is the breeding ground for all other poison ivy in the United States.

We discovered it this weekend. I was out in the yard cleaning up old tires and cinder blocks when I noticed all these vines running across the lawn and up the trees. Without a second thought, I reached down and pulled up as many as I could. And of course since they were vines, they draped down my arms and legs. Some of them smacked me in the face.

Hambone comes walking up to me holding out his phone with a picture of poison ivy on the screen. He looked at me and just kind of cleared his throat. I dropped the ivy.

After a minute to think about it, and possibly descend into the deepest depths of madness, I declared "Well so what. Poison ivy doesn't even make me itch. Watch." And I cleaned out the whole yard with a determination previously un-witnessed.

Fast forward to Wednesday, after all the poison ivy has seeped into my skin and I can hardly manage to stop clawing at my skin long enough to write this. Ung. This morning I was so desperate for relief that I spread myself all over with baking powder paste.

Do Not touch. This is poison ivy.
 The good news is that it's all gone from the yard.... for now. I saw more on a tree yesterday as we drove off the property. We will have to figure out a better way to deal with it. Maybe next time I'll wear pants and a long sleeved shirt.

Friday, August 16, 2013

You Can Take Ham Out of the City but...

While it's true that you can take hard core city folk and physically transplant them into the country, but it takes a while to catch onto country living.

We closed on the house Wednesday, and on Thursday (last night) to clean up and organize the house for the renovation. Upon arriving, we noticed an abandoned van on the lot next door. We thought "That's weird."  Then we saw that one of the french doors on the front of the house was standing open, with broken wood all around it.


Inside, many of the antiques we had purchased at the auction were gone. They left the paper and clothing, but they took our urns, old surveyor's gear, some wooden pulleys -- only stuff that a hard core antique hunter would be after. We thought that we had been "hit" by some people who were frustrated by the auction. Or maybe by some night-flying stars of Trash in the Attic.

So we called the cops just to get a report. Because the house is not insured, we couldn't file for any kind of help there, but we wanted the police to be around to understand what's happening.

While the police were there, Hamslice started screaming BLOODY MURDER behind the house. We all three took off running. (for the record, Hambone was the fastest, then me, then the cop) Hamslice had been bitten pretty badly by the neighbor's dog. And the cop was like "I can't leave here without doing a dog report." So now there are two reports being done on in one evening.

 I said "Heck, while you're at it, come look at this van" and we did -- the van had no license plates on it, and when the cop ran the VIN, it came up as "never ever owned by anyone. No record."

So... less than a stellar beginning here, but it does feel like home. Or, at least what we're used to.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hamslice Fugitive

This weekend we were in Michigan for a nice family visit with Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie Bet, and K&M. It was also the weekend of M.Borto's wedding reception. So as you can see it was pretty action packed.

Hambone opted (wisely) to stay home and get some work done.

So this means Hamslice and I had a lot of time together and he had some time with relatives. He had his first "on his own" sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa and had a great afternoon throwing apples and walnuts with K&M. And don't forget his afternoon/evening with Parker & Pals at m.borto's event.

On the way home, Hamslice and I had a little spat and he stormed off to an airport bench to sulk. I came up behind him and asked what's up, and in a most sincere voice he said, "I just don't think I can live with you anymore."

So I offered to bring him rolls of quarters every Monday so he can live off of vending machine food in the airport. He didn't like that idea very much, so we picked up our suitcases and went home.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Hamslice Hillbilly

We close on our new house on Wednesday, and we are already having an adventure about this place. It turns out that a house like this (super old) is a real challenge to buy. The assessed value has come in from different vendors (Mortgage/insurance) in such a range that Hambone and I just started laughing. One estimate came in 30% higher than what we are paying, and the other came in 3 1/2 TIMES higher than our price.

However, the house nets out as un-mortgageable and uninsurable through traditional venues because nobody can really get a handle on the value of the property. When I broke the news to Hambone, he looked at me like I was a toddler trying to drive a car. "Let me handle it" he says. He thinks it's hilarious when I try to work on a rehab property.

And for all of you who have been jonesing for pics of our new house, here's a bunch of them.

The photo above is of the house when it was new -- 130 years ago. Note the lack of trees!
This photo shows the house with the old carriage cover across the front. We're planning to rebuild that.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Blessed, Golden Silence

I have excellent news to report: we are now going on FOUR WEEKS without a single phone call or incident report sent home from camp about Hamslice. I feel like we may be getting a peek of sunshine over here, and I am encouraged to think that we may be able to pull off this parenting thing afterall.

Well. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

At any rate, he has made it through two weeks of Club Scientific (which he looooved) and he is now in Camp Puh'tok which is more of a general "fun summer camp" which he finds a bit dull.

Here are my tips for success:
1) Per AB's advice -- every morning I let Hamslice know that I have meetings "all day" so he can't pitch a fit and have me pick him up. This is key. Thank you AB.

2) We are keeping a closer eye on Hamslice. It is getting pretty clear when he's worn out from too much camp, and every few weeks we give him a day off. These days off help him reset and tackle some more time with "the mortals."

We have also come to the end of our intensive therapy over the summer, so now things will be a little more normal. It is nice to have my home office back to myself again to actually get some work done!

Silence. Blessed, golden silence.