September 14th, 2010


And so the fun begins...

Let's see, when last we updated, we had found a trashed version of the Cambria house, full of junk, up to the ceiling in some rooms, with a thick layer of dust and grime on everything, and three colors of mold in the sinks. And a toilet that was a health hazard. And the doorknob off one of the doors, which was the first thing I replaced. The toilet was also worked on and the delaminated seat replaced, this weekend.

So, we pulled out "the Great Wall of B5," which is actually two walls and a stack, at this point. These are twenty feet long, three to four feet high, and one is two boxes deep. These are all B5 magazines, series "bibles," fanzines, posters, calendars, and promotional items. They are covered by tarps, and I have informed M that if someone wants them, they can get them by the end of the month, because otherwise they will be hauled away as recyclable paper. I, personally, think that someone saw her coming, and pawned a lot of dead backstock on her so they wouldn't have to either store it (for rental) or ditch it. It's been stored at my house, without my permission, for 7 years, and I'm sure the floors have not been happy. I believe that it's literally around 10 TONS of paper.

We started cleaning, and immediately threw M into coughing fits. So we tried orange cleaner. No go. Alcohol? Nope. Peroxide? No. So the plan is now that we will get her a motel somewhere out of town for a few days, and then clean the place. The mold in there is amazing. There are three different colors in the sinks. We took down the blackout curtains on the windows, and there was mold on the glass between the BLACK PLASTIC and the glass. I didn't know mold would grow on glass. Guess I was wrong. There was a layer of dust and goo an inch thick on some things in the living room. I don't know how a person who supposedly has lung issues was managing to live in there. She said we were stirring up dust, and went into coughing fits. Funny how she stopped coughing when she wanted to say something...

So, the new plan is that we put her up in a motel somewhere for a few days, next week, while we clean, so she won't have issues. We clean the place, then let it air out before she comes back. Because the place has to be in shape so we can have the realtor show it. We've also been digging all the silicon caulking out of the windows. Every seam of every window is sealed with caulk, so that there are no opening windows in the place, aside from in the north bedroom, which I have always retained control of. No wonder I always felt like I was suffocating in there.

And now the realtor is freaked because she's threatening to bring in the sheriff, claiming we are trying to kill her. I have read up, and I think that because she has been an unpaying tenant, in a house where I've retained access, for so long, I'm being remarkably generous in giving her 60 days to vacate. I could actually give her 3 days, if I were so inclined, with everything from the condition of the place to the dog that showed up without my authorization, to the unauthorized storage. I am trying to be humane. I have things I have to do, and while I am sorry she has health issues, ultimately it's my house, and I need to do something.
The bottom line is that needing to sell the place has precipitated an action I should have taken years ago, but I wasn't involved enough. I even warned her early this year, I might need to take repossession, if things went really wrong. But now it's just how things are, and I have to act.

Looking at the way the house is, I also wonder if, ultimately, I'm saving her life. That place is a health hazard that has me more than a little freaked out. If she hates me forever, fine. I've given her 17 years of life to do with what she can, and now I'm done. Finis. There's a new world out there. I'm trying to work with her as much as possible, and it's not easy. Everyone says I'm crazy because I'm giving her so much time. Yes, but that's the sort of person I am. I plan to move her stuff for her, as well, if she can't get anyone else. So sue me. But the bottom line is that I'm taking the house in hand, and that's how life goes, because I am putting me and my survival first.
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My Father and the Great Depression

Andrew found some notes on his life from my father, down in the basement of the Cambria house. Things about his work in the movies, early aircraft he flew, things like that. Then there was the entry that simply said: "1930-33 -Starved" It struck Andrew enough that he quoted it to me on the phone tonight. Was that literal? It may very well have been.
It was when he, his wife, and young son (my brother) all moved in with my aunt, because she was the only one in the family who had a job. There were 7 people living with her, in a one bedroom bungalow. He told me about how he used his literal last nickle to take the streetcar down to downtown Los Angeles to stand in a bread line for a 50 lb sack of beans to take home to the family.
This still isn't anywhere near the Great Depression. There aren't people standing in bread lines. Not yet.