As I was a part timer other problems arose. This was a leisure home. I wasn’t always there. The dumpster became a repository for the whole neighborhood’s garbage. To my surprise during one of my many trips I found a strange car in my yard. I later learned some young girl was living in it. On two separate occasions I found machetes in the yard. The only sense I could make of that is someone might have slept on the chaise and felt the need for protection. I thought nothing of the first machete but I did call the police for the second find. What could they say or do? They took the machetes and gave me a receipt for their return at some future date. No thank you! I’m not the machete type.
With the house came a rental apartment. I had no intention of renting. Somehow I evolved into what I jokingly called a “Land Baron”, a title not for public use but for my own whimsy. I’d rent to one set of people only to find so many more people were living in three rooms. Every strange person I saw was a nephew or a cousin staying “for only two weeks”. A woman I thought was the one person to occupy the place eventually added a son, a husband and took over the yard every night for a barbeque enjoyed by daughters, girlfriends and small children. Numerous toys were scattered everywhere. My property took on the aura of a combination campground and daycare center. She also told me someone died in the apartment. Not confirmed, but eerie nevertheless.
I won’t go into the destruction of the property but will tell this one story. There was a tenant who drilled or tried to drill a hole in the porcelain toilet bowl. Don’t even ask why. Just know that you could no longer flush the toilet unless you wanted a deluge. While there is more I can say I’ll fast forward to the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
A bang on the door at 5AM announced the arrival of I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). With huge guns at their side, the posse saw plumpy me in a nightgown and pin curls. Not a pretty sight. Yes, silly me was concerned about my appearance. That took priority over my asking for a search warrant. I never thought to ask for one. They were looking for the perpetrator of a serious crime. No, they didn’t find him; however, their appearance didn’t end my days of being a “Land Baron”. This was not what I wanted for a vacation home.
I do want to clarify any innuendo that all my tenants were immigrants. My tenants came from all walks of life and varied lifestyles. While I write about all the foibles I did form some lasting friendships and also put on a few more pounds from shared food. One tenant, of whom I became particularly fond without my asking, took care of the garden. I like to think some tenants meant no harm. They just didn’t know how to take proper care of someone else’s living space.
Where am I today? Not on the porch for sure. Through all the trials, the rewards were and are abounding. I can swim regularly bearing in mind my idea of heaven is an endless swim without tiring. When I see a Cardinal or a Blue Jay in my yard, for the moment, I feel sheer joy. Nature is all around and the road signs attest to it; the turtle crossing, the deer warnings. Sunsets are stunning and a source of daily entertainment. Once I was at the beach where everyone was so moved, a spontaneous burst of applause erupted as the sun disappeared. The ultimate high is knowing that I saved a nineteenth century house, an essential part of history. As always chasing the dream can be quite invigorating. The porch will become a reality and I will rock-on as the parade passes by!
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