I try very hard to be positive and find the hidden potential in anything. I, especially, am able to do this at work. I see the potential in every child and I believe that any child can be successful. As a teacher I have to figure out how to seek out the hidden potential. But I am not very good at this when it comes to my life.
I have spent the last two months house hunting. This is supposedly a great time to buy a house because everything is so cheap. In the past two months I have seen every possible home there is to buy that falls into the parameters of my wish list. I know the town of Buckeye's housing market better than every little blemish on my old tired body. I know every flood plain, dirt road, paved road and natural wash in Buckeye, Goodyear and Litchfield , Arizona. I have cringed as my van has scraaaaaaaped bottom on every over-sized speed bump in the streets of Waddell, Arizona. I know the price of every home available. I know when every price drops. I know which homes are vacant and I have watched Janet accidentally peek inside one we thought was vacant but it wasn't.
Everyone needs to know that short sales are NOT short in the area of time. In the beginning of August I put a bid on a house. I have actually put a bid on two short sale homes and which one comes through first that is the house where we will live. Janet and I secretly have a desire for one house over the other (known as the Dunlap house). We have visited this house so many times since my bid, the neighbors are starting to wave and call us by name. When I made a bid on the house it had been on the market for 185 days. The people living in it had somewhat trashed it, but I could still see the hidden potential in the house with Janet's exuberant positive attitude. It has been sixty days since my bid. For the past two weeks I have hounded my poor realtor about this house daily because the bank negotiator has said that a decision would be made. I found out yesterday that it was being put up for a trustee sale and I have to wait another three weeks, if not more, for the house to come back on the market and bid on it again. So, I decided I was going to look for something else.
The other day, a new house, as in one we haven't seen, came on the market and it wasn't a short sale. I missed out on making a bid on a home that was custom built for someone in a wheelchair by two hours, so when I find a house I no longer wait until the weekend to check it out. I called my realtor and made arrangements to see it immediately. As Janet and I were driving down the road to meet with her husband and the realtor we were saying, "Oh, that is a nice house. Oh, that one is pretty. This is an okay neighborhood. Oh look at that one!" And then we came upon the house we were going to look at, "Oh, ewwwwww!"
How do I describe this house? First, there was a note taped to garage from the county with a list of violations. At one time I think it was a one bedroom home that the owners somehow added a basement and many other additions. There were so many add-ons it looked like an over-accessorized Saturday night hooker. There were bedroom doors leaning on the walls. Every room had a different kind of flooring depending on what was popular at the time of the addition. The carpet was 20 years old and filthy dirty. Also, each addition was either a quarter inch higher or lower than the room addition before it. The was a narrow stairway to the basement that scared the bejeebers out of me. I always feel like stairways to the basement with no door is a place where the crippled kid could "accidentally" fall down the stairs. The yard was an overgrown mess.
The house next door had seventeen cars and a six foot mound of empty beer cans in the front yard. This can only signify three three things: 1. rednecks, 2. There are 17 driving adults that live in the house (rednecks) or 3. They ran out of room in the backyard and started putting everything they own in the front yard. (REDNECKS) That was just the property to the south. I won't even discuss the property to the north. The backyard butted up to Dunne's Arena which is where Janet and Breeze go riding quite often. I considered this the only plus and could easily list 50,000 reason not to even go into the house.
But, I had Pollyanna (Janet) with me and she insisted on playing the Glad Game. She kept running around the house pointing out the cool stuff which I could not begin to see through the four inches of animal hair. She tried to get me to go into a bedroom I couldn't get my chair into. It was small and had a small round stained-glass window.
"Cathy, this would be a great room for you. Look it has a bathroom."
"Pollyanna . . I mean, Janet, I can't get my chair in there."
"We could knock down this wall for you."
"I am sure all you have to do is lean on it and it will fall down"
"Come on, look on the bright side," Pollyanna cajoled.
"Pollyanna, I don't want live in that room with the stained-glass window. I will feel like a cloistered nun."
As Pollyanna continued to play the Glad Game throughout the house, my realtor turned to me and asked, "What's wrong with Janet? She isn't for real is she?"
I replied, "I think or I hope she is just trying to be positive."
"Cathy," Pollyanna shouts from the basement, "there are seven rooms down here with a little kitchen. This could be a rental. Except for the rabbit turds and pee, it's not too bad down here."
"Do you guys want to check out the backyard with me?" Pollyanna asks with a glazed look in her eyes.
"Ummmmmm, no! I don't think I can climb through the oleanders, over that car and under those carcasses, but you go ahead. Knock yourself out!"
"Okay, Cathy, really she is just joking, now, isn't she?" my realtor begged.
"I am starting to get worried I am going to have to go shopping for a habit and a Catholic version of the Bible."
At that moment, Dave, Janet's husband, comes running around the corner of the house and says, "Oh, oh, she actually has a twinkle in her eye."
"That entire backyard is covered with woodchips. Those could be tilled under and it would be the best percolation for grass that would grow to Heaven!" Pollyanna exclaimed.
"Pollyanna, the only way I would buy this lovely piece of real estate would be if you got a big pillow, found a way for the body to keep, and learned to forge my name."
As we drove through the dilapidated neighborhood that housed rednecks and serial killers, Pollyanna whined, "I can't believe you couldn't see the hidden potential in that house. If you rented out that basement you could have made up for the $50,000 renovation work in about 20 years." And then we started giggling and then we couldn't stop.
"Stop, I'm gonna pee!" I shouted the Cunningham "Sistahs" mantra.
As tears were rolling down our faces Pollyanna began to fade, "Well, there was one bad thing about that house."
"Really, just one? What would that be?" I giggled.
"The backyard butted up to Dunne's Arena. The lights from the Arena would be shining through the windows at all hours of the night."
"Oh, no! I was considering that the only good thing," I squealed.
"Okay, there was one thing I didn't tell you about in basement that might be considered a bad thing," as Pollyanna started to completely disappear.
"Besides the water damage, poor structure, and rabbit shit?"
"In the window wells there were many dead animals that must have fallen through the grating from up above and got stuck and died."
"A lot of dead animals?"
"Yep, gophers, mice, rabbits and even a little kitten," she replied disgustedly.
"I think that could be added to the 'reasons NOT to buy the house' list." I guffawed.
We continued to drive home in silence. A giggle escaped every once in awhile. And then somehow Pollyanna the Visionary returned, "I just don't know why you couldn't see the HIDDEN POTENTIAL in that house."
I am still trying to find the "hidden potential" in Flip.
The Flip Side
I bet there were lizards in those oleanders, around that car, and under those carcasses.