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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Hollyhock Hollow Holding Pattern

Good morning!

I'm on Day 13 of No Days Off in Sixteen, so just three more to get through, including today.  BUT, I *have* had two unexpected days or partial days here at Swamp River Ridge thrown in there that I wasn't anticipating, so those were a double bonus!  

I realize, as I read what I've just written, that it could be perceived as complaining about my day job and the other things that keep me busy - like nannying.  But that's not what I'm trying to say at ALL!  I'm just illustrating the lack of precious days here at home alone . . . both because I'm SUCH a home-body AND because, up until I got this full time job in January, I could be home any day I chose.  But, believe me, I am NOT knocking my fortune in having a decent, 40-hour a week, year-round job in a county where those are few and far between . . . NOR the wonderful time I get to spend with the littles in my life.  There.  Speech over.

So, the situation at HoHo (Hollyhock Hollow):  ummm, well . . . there *ain't* much.  Of a situation.  Or, rather, there *is* . . . which is why I STILL haven't been able to get back in there!  I'm sure you've all been expecting that I've been madly packing here and then cleaning and unloading there during this last lag in posting.  But, nope.

Expecting to get into the house last Saturday, which was the 1st, I stopped there that Thursday night just over 24 hours prior to it being "mine" to make sure all was ready for me.  The caretaker was out of town that week but he'd left everything ready (ahem, reportedly), and the owner had arranged for another local friend to get me the keys.  So, as you can imagine, I was super excited when I pulled into the yard that night.  I'd liberated a Mike's Hard from Mama & Papa Pea's refrig before I'd left, planning to celebrate with the cocktail once I'd gotten there.  Well, thank goodness I DID have some booze to wash down the sights and smells that greeted me . . . but it sure wasn't enough!!!

The place was a smelly d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.

The mildew smell of a house abandoned for a year was supposed to be improved by then thanks to the dehumidifier the owners had the caretaker purchase and install in the basement.  

If anything, the smell was worse.  Oh, the dehumidifier was there, alright . . . but it hadn't yet been freed of its packing tape or PLUGGED IN!  Can't do any good if it's not running now, CAN IT?!

The backsplash around the new kitchen counter and sink had been installed, but there was no sealant at the base of it nor the wood trim on the top been stained / sealed.  A large shop vac took precedence in the kitchen as did the caretaker's stereo and other small supplies.  

In the living room, where the caretaker was going to have the carpet cleaned, lay a construction-debris-covered, dusty-footprint-filled, UNwashed carpet.

In the hallway, where an old heat duct vent had run and where an open hole still gaped . . . nothing had been done.

In the bathroom, not a THING had been done to the tub assembly / faucets (which are DISGUSTING).  The owner had promised to have the caretaker replace these.  He'd told HER that the plumber would be finished that week, prior to me moving in on Saturday.

The new sink in the bathroom was not yet hooked up.  Plumbing lines were not connected.  The new vanity was still missing doors and trim pieces, and the wood was still completely raw and unfinished.

And, not in a THING had been cleaned in the house.  Not even a cursory sweep with the shop vac.  Dead flies and dust and cobwebs still reigned supreme.

I took my cocktail out to the back steps and sat in the fresh air, stewing.  What if I was a "normal" renter who'd have a U-Haul waiting to unload Saturday morning???  The caretaker had told the owners that the place was (would be) READY for me!

Are.  You.  KIDDING???????????????????

I could go on and on about the disarray of the place, but I won't bore you with the details.  Suffice it to say, I got a lengthy e-mail - complete with the new set of photographs I took that evening to document the mess - off to the owners in New Mexico the minute I got home that night.

And, I *do* feel for them.  Here they were depending on their caretaker - that his words and assurances were gold - when he's COMPLETELY dropped the ball.  And, how convenient (for him) that he's been out of town . . . and all through the long holiday weekend, too.  

The owners FINALLY connected with him only last night (she'd left him multiple messages) and promise to get back to me today.

So, yeah.  Things have NOT gone as hoped nor expected in the housing department.  And, as the first of September quickly surges towards mid-September and fall's colors are more prevalent each day, my anxiety increases ever so much.


  1. Seems like things work as well up there as they do here. How disappointing to have a caretaker that doesn't care. I hope they put a cattle prod to his fanny and things get done fast (and well). What you DO NOT need is more stress! (Love the new header photo, BTW)

  2. I'm so sorry for your delay but not very surprised for an out of state landlord who is depending on a caretaker. It's a good thing you DIDN'T have a truck parked outside!!!

  3. Yeah . . . and I *STILL* know nothing! It sounds like the owner doesn't, either. This is driving me a little bonkers!

    P.S. Susan, thanks! :)

  4. and THIS is why being a long-distance landlord strikes fear in my heart! Those poor owners, poor you... no doubt the caretaker has been paid throughout and just took advantage. I'm glad you took photos. I hope this stuff is resolved soon.

  5. Praying....not good at all, but I am sure you will get through it!

  6. Where are you? Anxious for updates:)


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