Monday, May 16, 2011

Entry #41 - Mansion on the Market

Dear Diary,
   With Kim's departure for Scotland and my gregarious house guests back to Vancouver, leaving only the cat and Kim's unfinished portrait of "Birth of a Spinster" to keep me company, I must confess, the view from where I sit has been rather grey. I initially meant this figuratively (and as a salute to Pride & Prejudice), but the view from my window literally just got worse when I looked up to see my ex-boyfriend's car in the turn lane at the intersection below. If you have never loudly booed someone and shaken your fist at them from a safe distance (while wearing ugly pyjamas, a side ponytail, and writing about your life of lonely spinsterhood), I highly recommend it, very therapeutic.

Where was I? Oh yes, the Mansion. So, now that Kim is gone the Mansion is on the market once again, for living here without her would be like B1 still living on Cuddles Avenue if B2 moved away; because even though we weren't Bananas in Pyjamas, we were most certainly Spinsters in Pyjamas, and we did march down the stairs in pairs, although our stairs were "Death Stairs", which is decidedly less adorable. So, now that the S1 to my S2 has moved away, I have given up possession of the Mansion, That's right friends, you could live in the glorious establishment known as Park View. Bet you didn't know it was actually called that, did you? You know why? Because even I didn't know it was called that until about four months after we moved in. Here is the interesting thing...there is no park. Nope. Maybe there was in 1911, but no longer. Now it should probably be called "Ambulance View" for all the sirens that fly by at all hours, or "Intersection View" for the kitchen and my bedroom. In the case of Kim's room it is "Living Room View", because her bedroom has no window at all, just a door with some glass and a blind.

Living at the Mansion is not for the faint of heart, quite the opposite. Living here is for the closet daredevil, for this place is the Russian Roulette of living arrangements. Some of the ways I have envisioned my death while living here include, but are not limited to, the following:

A) Death by Implosion: Built in 1911 and now burdened with 100 years worth of semi-annual coats of white paint, Spinster Mansion could simply implode under its own weight at any moment.

B) Death by Fire: I have envisioned both a slow burn and a huge explosion, because the ways that this place could burn down are many and varied. Here are a few:
                   i. Natural Gas Explosion: exposed pipes everywhere, including underneath Kim's closet and through the entire kitchen. In addition, there are no markings at all on the range or oven, no "High", "low", or "350". Nada. We have discovered that 350 is approximately "half past", so that means the line drawn in white-out on the oven knob should be pointing straight down.
                  ii.  Slow Burn: Did I mention that heat is included in your rent? Did I also mention that you have no control over it? Earlier this year smoke came pouring out of the vents accompanied by a high pitched warning of signal of some kind. After opening every window that we could open (remember when we caulked some of the windows closed in the winter because it was so cold in here??) and discussing whether or not we should put the cat in his carrier and remove the precious artwork, the firefighters arrived to look into the situation. Long story short it turns out the furnace was actually on fire. ON FIRE. After this incident we would always know when the heat was on, because it is now always accompanied by the smell of burning plastic.
                   iii. Electrical Fire: Spinster Mansion was built in 1911, when having electricity in your home was the modern day equivalent of turning on your lights and TV from your car using your smart phone, that shit was space age.  So what we have is wiring that is not in the walls, but ON the walls. My personal favourite is the socket in the kitchen, just down from the sink. When you pull a plug out, the face of the receptacle always pulls out a good few inches, you know, to get you that much closer to the live current.
                   iv. Death by Deadbeat: When the smell form the vents is not burning plastic, it is often a mix of ground beef, tater tots, bacon, and marijuana. When you mix any of these things together a cooking fire is both possible and probable. When we first smelled smoke during the furnace fire, we initially blamed "that deadbeat next door, who was probably smoking pot and making McCain fries on a greasy unwashed fry pan and fell asleep!". Not that I could blame him entirely, I mean his oven probably has no numbers either.  

C) Death by Scalding:  "It's hot then it's cold, it's yes then it's no". Hearing curses from the bathroom or the kitchen is pretty standard here, because the water comes out of the tap so hot that it steams, so hot that sometimes even wearing dish gloves I feel like I am scalding myself, so hot that in the winter when the temperature inside was subarctic we would fill up the "radiator" (aka clawfoot tub) with hot water and the cast iron would radiate heat for two hours before I could even consider getting in the bath. In addition, the taps in the bathroom (both shower and sink) don't really mix hot and all. When you try to mix hot and cold the pipes make a noise like a jackhammer. It's loud enough that the cat runs away from it.

D) Death by Hypothermia: See Entry #17 - "The Caulk" and Entry #29 - "Subarctic Spinster"

E) Death by Broken Neck: The stairs...they are everywhere... and they were built before building codes were invented. Some of the boards are rotten; none of them are level. I would go so far as to say that the first few steps on the front stairs are closer to 80 than 90 degrees. You you have to hold onto the rail if you wish to live, but in the back you risk splinters and in the front the wrought iron banister is very wobbly, and quite possibly not attached to anything in a safe way.

F) Death by Murder Basement: See entry #21 - "Murder Basement Resolution". In addition, the other day I went down there to do some laundry / risk my life and what to my wandering eye should appear but water pouring down from the ceiling. You will note that earlier I mentioned lots of exposed electrical wiring? Death by electrocution, anyone? I called Wally to let him know, he informed me that "the tub upstairs is probably overflowing, I'll check tomorrow".  Awesome.

There are some good things about this place too, namely the clawfoot tub, the pansies in my window box, and always being the classiest person who lives here.


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  2. Let me try again... By far and away, one of my favourite entries of all time! It seems like just yesterday I was screaming "caulk!" while scalding my ass in the beautiful tub.

  3. I am just howling with laughter, although I really should not as my beloved Hannah and Kimmy have been in serious danger for many months!!!! This mansion almost beats the apartment Brian and I lived in when first married.....the bedroom was in the coal cellar with slugs and spiders, and a creepy closet that opened into the rest of the cellar......yikes!!!!!!!Maybe such adventures build character??????