I think the primary difference between my house the Amityville Horror is that my house routinely scares the crap out of me.
Come to think of it, I think anyone who’s ever owned a home is liable to be far more frightened of a bad paint job than a sustained psycho-spiritual assault. For starters, ghosts can be exorcised or (if worse comes to worst) busted. The malevolent influence of previous owners, however, doesn’t come out with a sprinkle of holy water and sometimes not even with a building permit. Take the example – nay, the abomination – I have pictured above. That is not a Google Image Search for “Oh, no you didn’t, girlfriend!” or “Prototype Mary Kay Correctional Facility.” No, that is (or rather was) my living room. And while I am certain of precious little in life, I am fairly certain of this – my walls will not be discernibly bleeding anytime soon. Because, to do so, the blood would first have to permeate nearly a quarter inch of primer between myself and that…stuff the previous owner slathered on.
While we’re speaking of the previous owner, I would like to address him (or more realistically, her) directly. Would you perhaps be kind enough to explain what strange and alien logic dictated your choice of fastener for your panoply of unfinished or poorly finished projects? I’ve a ceiling fan held aloft by naught but the willpower of whomever is seated beneath it. I also have a poorly constructed workbench that I presume you thought worthy of inclusion in a national gallery. I say this because it is currently protected against theft by virtue of the twenty railroad tie-esque woodscrews (heads stripped to a one) permanently anchoring it in a position where it blocks the fuse box. It is also making me wonder if any states still allow pistols at dawn. I demand satisfaction. Or a crow bar. Or Bob Vila.
Of course, the problems associated with homeownership go beyond the unfortunate fact that someone, at some point, had the audacity to live there and not be me. In fact, one of the persistent problems I face is that something is still living there and not being me. Several somethings, come to think of it. Directly related to that, hands up if you’ve ever played, “Does it bite? Will it sting? Is it rabid?” before.
For those of you that haven’t, it goes something like this: Your wife, drawing comparison between herself and various species of mate-eating arachnids, suggests you should get off the couch, put on some pants, and either shorten the lawn enough you can see over it or alter the coloration of the house to something not so often associated with excrement. Opting for the latter (because the former is to a point where it doesn’t require a trim so much as a controlled burn), you swiftly exit the domicile, pants in hand, and set about doing what one normally does when they are about to paint – namely remove extraneous objects detrimental to the painting process but behind which evil things are cheerfully living.
Now, returning to the game, this is the part where we talk about bats. Yes, bats. You know, those cute, fuzzy things you see in the dark part of the zoo flitting from tree to tree and looking generally adorable…from ten to fifteen feet away. Let’s talk about how unbelievably !@#$in’ scary they are when they manifest about six inches from your nose. And manifest they will because, if they don’t, it will be an insect, or a colony of insects, and don’t ask me if it/they bite and/or sting because the answer is “yes.” They will also be directly responsible, as evidenced by the small pile of bones and audible belches coming from that shutter you’re about to remove, for all those “lost dog” posters going up around the neighborhood.
We’ve come this far, and I haven’t even mentioned the crawlspace. That isn’t accidental. We don’t talk about the crawlspace. The crawlspace is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Nigerian e-mail scammers, in partnership with the communists, have opened an unlicensed casino down there where they occasionally raffle off lost Russian ICBMs. They also listen to Nickelback. In short, I don’t like to go down there. Ever.
There are also spiders.
Really. Big. Spiders.