Banister? We don't need no stinkin' banister.
We're just going to fall off our stairs like normal people.
We're calling the house Banister Abbey because it's big and old and all we do is discuss how to refurbish the circa-1903 banister of the staircase properly. I should have taken those wood turning classes and purchased that secondhand lathe all those years ago. That's not even a joke, my interests are truly that bizarre.
The moment I walked into the Open House at Banister Abbey, I began salivating like a dog with a t-bone and my heart started beating twice its normal speed. I knew I was either in love with the house or in need of serious medical attention.
Alex and I kept saying two things as we toured the house -- "My God, this house is incredible" and "My God, this house is a mess." For all the work needed, the list price wasn't cheap. Alex and I always said we could do anything from an expensive house that didn't need any work to a cheap house that needed a ton of work. But you'd really have to be an idiot to buy an expensive house that needed a ton of work. HA HA, I MEAN WHAT KIND OF ASSHOLE WOULD DO THAT?
But as we loaded the kids back into the car after the Open House, I turned to Alex and said, "I'm not done. I have to go back inside" and Al said "Me too" and then we ran back to the house in slow motion holding hands with sappy music playing in the background. At that point, we both knew it was a done deal. We were the assholes.
The inspection Friday morning was as depressing as we thought it would be. A 110-year-old house, even with the large amounts of work already completed by the current owner, is bound to need some help. Here's how the inspection went:
MJ: How's the roof?
Inspector: Pretty good except it's slowly sliding off the house. It's really more of a sunroof.
MJ: Lovely. That will really brighten the place.
MJ: I'm impressed with the work the seller has already done on the house.
Inspector: Me too. And even better -- he did it all incorrectly.
Me: God bless him.
MJ: How about that top-of-the-line washer and dryer? Pretty great, right?
Inspector: The very impressive washer is leaking into the wall. The dryer is a gas dryer and is being vented into the house. It is going to kill the entire family because there are no carbon monoxide detectors.
MJ: Mmmm.... fumey.
Inspector: The good news is the carbon monoxide can only kill you if the improperly terminated wiring doesn't get you first.
MJ: It'll be like a fun little race.
MJ: I really love all that additional storage space in the basement.
Inspector: Do you love all the raccoons and possums playing cards down there right now, too?
MJ: Fine with me as long as they brought the beer.
MJ: How's the garage? My husband is looking forward to turning the garage into a home gym.
Inspector: What a great idea! It will be awesome until it collapses on him because the whole thing is rotten.
MJ: Well until then, it's really going to be something.
MJ: So how much do I owe you for the inspection?
Inspector: How much you got? Then double it and write the check for that amount.
MJ: OK, great, a win-win!
And this is the conversation I had with Al later that day:
MJ: Al, you and I may be the only two people in the city batshit crazy enough to take on this house.
MJ: Let's do it.
The husband-and-wife inspection duo wished us luck as they left. The woman half of the pair told me despite its issues, the house was one of her favorites in twenty years in the business. She said when she first walked into the front hall, she thought, "Wow. This is like the War of the Roses house." Then I said, "Don't they both die at the end when they fall off the chandelier during a messy divorce?" and she said, "Well not that part."
The good news is our chandelier isn't big enough to hold both me and Al, no matter how mad we are at each other, and if we fell we would at worst break a limb, not die. And besides, this house doesn't remind me of War of the Roses -- it much more closely resembles The Money Pit.
Wish us luck. Again. We are still in negotiations with the sellers as we continue our inspections and discover more problems. Overpaying for the house is not an option given the amount of work needed, which will keep us busy until we're eighty years old and possibly bankrupt us to the point of eating beans out of tin cans three meals a day.
But mark my words -- this house is going to be incredible.