Former House Owners, Redux

Still

Every time I have to open up a wall in this house, I know I’m going to find something horrifying. Every single time.

This week, I moved some power outlets; it should have been a trivial job – pop the breaker, cut the drywall, move the box up half a foot so that it would fit over the new trim, drywall, sand, paint, done. Easy.

While I was in there I noticed a piece of old knob and tube wiring hanging loose in the wall, so I cut it out of my way before plastering it back up, and turned the breaker back on. And two of my lights on the 2nd floor didn’t work. Now, there should be no knob and tube in the house – none of it’s visible from any socket – but somebody wired up the neutral wire on my second floor to the old wiring and hid it in the wall, away from the junction box, so that when I finally cut out that one supposed-to-be-dead wire a bunch of stuff on the second floor stopped working.

In this modern age you can’t get home insurance with any hot knob and tube in the building; I’d bet that if that crap had shorted out and lit something my insurance company would have said “thanks for your patronage, but no money for you.” More wiring, more plaster, one more weekend lost on a project that should have been done a month ago, and hopefully that’s the last of that.

Today, I had to get a snake and replace some cracked plumbing because we had a leaking kitchen sink. The last time we had to have a drain snaked, the guy pulled swatches of carpet up out of it; this time nothing wierd came out, but I managed to clear up whatever the blockage was. But, what? Nylon carpet? Why would anyone put that stuff down a sink drain?

This stuff’s not hard, you know? You just need to care enough to do a little maintenance now and then, to show a little pride in your work. But the people who owned this house way back whenever, they didn’t care. They just did a half-assed job and covered it up and, when they couldn’t stand it anymore, moved away.

3 Comments

  1. Posted January 27, 2009 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    They just did a half-assed job and covered it up and, when they couldn’t stand it anymore, moved away. I feel like you’re describing my entire life.

  2. Posted January 27, 2009 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Don’t always think it was a prior home owner. Our first house was new construction, and yet, there were enough WTF moments there to make me wonder.

  3. Mike Hoye
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    This house is at least eighty years old, and I can see the places it’s been pulled apart and redone, because those are the places that I’ve had to pull apart and redo again, properly.