Monday, September 17, 2007

The Girl in the Hood

We went up to South Bend to pick up BP and deliver a rug. South Bend looked a little nicer to me. Maybe it was the time of year. This is the first time I've seen MP's new crib. The area is really nice. It's kind of older and historic. The houses are 100 year old wood frame houses with large front porches. Most have been converted to two or three apartments. The houses aren't historical restorations but a mixture of benign neglect and modern renovation. MP's apt. is very cute. It has those 10 foot ceilings and plaster walls with cracks that run the length of the room. The kitchen has the old wooden cabinets with about 40 layers of paint on them; all lead of course. The windows remind me of our first house in Ogden where the curtains would blow with the windows closed. At least the house is sheltered by other houses and lots of trees. From an energy efficiency standpoint it's a sieve. It does have character. The kind of feeling you can't get out of sheet-rock, plastic crown molding , Formica. or a drop ceiling. Since MP's apt, is on the first floor, the original kitchen, dining room and parlor, it has those barn-like sliding doors that disappear into the walls. The owner is a musician and I could see that his talent didn't translate into home repair. Nothing, however, could prepare me for the bathroom. It was originally a mud room. The original window was filled with a 50's era chrome vanity with mirror sliding doors, and a four light fixture on top with a cool plastic cover that looked like a spoiler. I remember this fixture from cheap motels. Now it did fit perfectly in the window box so with the limited choices in this small room, it may have seemed providential to put it in the window and then put the wash basin under it. The problem I saw was that it was about 2 inches away from the shower. When I saw how it was wired I knew I had to fix it. So I re-wired it and covered the side near the shower with duct-tape (Kentucky Chrome) and grounded the cabinet. I also instructed MP not to reach into it from the shower. The pipes had a bad case of arteriosclerosis so the shower was a trickle and the cold water faucet ran like a babbling brook when it was turned off . There was no exhaust fan so the plaster ceiling showed the effect of a million soakings. I think a couple of thousand dollars could turn the bathroom around and add to the appeal of the whole apt. The bathroom was so bad I heard T.D. preferred to use the backyard when he visited. How Bohemian.

I only had one day so I hung a few lamps and put long-life bulbs in them because of the cathedral ceilings. I put up a second smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm ( I didn't want to see the furnace), put a chain on the door and fixed the dead-bolt lock and sprayed the windows and sliding doors with silicone so MP could move them.

The apartment is very nice when you get past all the code violations. I was amazed just how homey it was. You see, when I was in school I owned one pot, one fork, one knife, a spoon and two plastic glasses. MP's place looks like a real home.

There was a disappointing part of the visit. I discovered MP's Subie was violated. I noticed the weather stripping hanging down from the passenger door. Upon closer observation I noticed the interior panel was pulled away and there a a dent in the heavy steel door frame. Our first response was to blame BP, but I couldn't think of how this could happen (the mechanism of injury that could caused this). Then I realized someone tried to pry the door open. MP told me that a week ago when she tried to disarm the security system it beeped four times and went into default mode which means that incomplete breach of the passenger compartment. I reset the security system and had to use more Kentucky Chrome to get the weatherstripping back in place because those little plastic fasteners never hold once they are popped out.

I had my eye on her rear tire for awhile suspecting a leak so I brought my gauge and compressor up with me. The right rear tire was about 5 lbs down but I noticed the right front was almost flat. I found a gash in the sidewall big enough for me to fit my pinky in. I think she cut it on the sharp cobblestone curbs they have in her neighborhood. We went to Wal-Mart and because her favorite Uncle Dick got her the road hazard protection, she got two new tires for $11. Both right side tires had sidewalls that looked like someone took a router to them. Now she is parking a little further from the curb.

So I had a whirlwind 36 hour visit. I should have brought my canoe since there is a river across the street from her house. If it just wasn't 620 miles away.


xenia said...

The way MP turns corners, I'm not surprised she had a gash in the front tire!

Babba-Gi said...

When I'm in the passenger seat my head whips around like SERVO from MST. She drives like a NYC cabbie.

Marianne said...

Hm...could that be cause I LEARNED from a NYC cabbie??

It's in my blood, Pa.

Aunt Dot said...

"MP's place looks like a real home..." Somehow that is very easy for me to believe:-)

xenia said...

Aunt Dot

Her apt really is like that. It's always nice to visit cause her place is so "warm"...that and manreeny is just plain fun.


Aunt Dot said...

We agree: She's a *Dollie*:-)

Babba-Gi said...

Marianne is just plum Supercalifragillisticexpialidocious.

"We love you Corky"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

aa said...

That bathroom sounds like TD's--why don't you do your makeover magic in Xenia sometime.

M- said...

Babba: You get the "father of the year award." You and Dick are both discovering that visiting your young adult children means bringing your toolbelt with you. If I know anything about your return trip home, you told CP all about what still needs to be done.

And that line about your first apartment? You just described Jondale's. y-o-u-c-h.

jondale said...

Yeah, except mine didn't have curtains, just WalMart cheepo blinds...but they worked. I wish I could say my apartment feels homey. The Fav would say I need a table to start the process. I still disagree. I have it in my head to make a road trip to DC tomorrow and drop some dough at IKEA, the next step is to frame the half dozen or so big pictures I've been meaning to frame for the past four years.