Fixing Up the House

Reader Contribution by Jennifer Quinn
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I mentioned earlier that I bought the house at Panther’s Hollow with all the previous owner’s junk in it. He had passed away suddenly, and they say his widow took off the day he died and never returned. The refrigerator was still running and full of food when I took possession, as was a large free-standing freezer. The place was a mess, with clutter everywhere, things dropped in the corners and candy stuck to the floor. On the sink was a moldy tray of brownies with one brownie removed. The place had a smell (or several smells) to it, and in the process of clearing out unwanted furniture I discovered one reason: a dead rat plastered on the floor underneath!

But I can’t really complain about all that because along with the junk there were many things I could use, some of which I really needed. Here’s a partial list:

– furniture including a sturdy dining room table and chairs, a coffee table, a computer desk, other small tables and a large bookcase;

– a shop vac;

– an assortment of dishes, cutlery, crockery, knives, tools, electrical supplies, and other household items;

– a multitude of buckets, plant pots and bits of fencing material;

– ladders of various heights, a wheelbarrow and a plastic cart; and

– a fair amount of food that was still good after four months!

There was also a lot I didn’t feel I could use but was of value to others. For example, an above-ground pool and gazebo that friends of my neighbors are taking away because they want them, for which they offered to gut an old camper on the property and fix it up as a chicken coop. They also brought me the guinea keets that I’ve written about here. The property inspector and his wife also hauled away a lot of the stuff and paid me some cash for another camper plus furniture and other items they wanted.

Still, it’s been a huge job just clearing out the junk, let alone getting the house painted and refurbished the way I wanted it. I thought surely I’d have it all done the first winter I was here, but just the clearing out and cleaning took me all winter. Then suddenly it was spring and the work on the house came to a halt while I rushed to get the garden started, keep the grounds mowed and deal with a multitude of other outdoor tasks.

Two months after moving in, this is as far as I had gotten with the living room:

While my friend Dorothy was helping me get the house ready to move in, I said that when I had it all fixed up I’d invite her over for dinner.

“You mean next year?” she said. I thought she was being unnecessarily facetious, but here it is a year and a half and I’m still nowhere near done with it!

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