Sunday, May 17, 2009

Polishing Up A "Diamond In The Rough" At The $7,900 House Of Connie Nompelis...

Photos By John Hoff

Getting an incredible bargain on an antique house in NoMi and having a wine-n-cheese party is the fun part. After that comes a lot of work and a lot of expenses.

If part of the point of buying the house was to support neighborhood revitalization, then it's important to start changing things for the better within the first few days, even if these are just minor cosmetic changes. So it was I found myself helping out at the $7,900 house of Connie Nompelis (No-buhl-iss, it's Greek) in the days after the housewarming party, click here for some details, oh, and also click here.

It's amazing how what looks like a...

...relatively minor amount of leaves in a yard of modest size filled up the truck bed of a Ford F-150 three times. I pulled a good amount of firewood into a pile, too, some of which we burned last night at the birthday party of Jeff Skrenes, (parody alert) just starting to get his life back through physical therapy after a dramatic and bizarre mishap involving unwanted phone books "power dumped" by Dex.

There were certain things I found in the yard I figured Connie might want to glance at, since these fragments are sort of like history of the house. An old, rusted metal "dream catcher" turned up at the end of my rake. What dreams did it once catch? What new dreams is it catching now? I also found a bizarre device--clearly a corkscrew, but ten times the size of a regular corkscrew, apparently made to uncork something of vat-like size. What on earth?

Well, since NoMi revitalization forces tend to drink a lot more wine than beer, I figured the gigantic corkscrew was some kind of good omen. I left it on the porch for Connie to examine, since it was the history of HER house, and I was just working there like a peon performing manual labor on her hacienda. (Si, Senorita Nompelis)

Other pieces of "ersatz archeology" were minor, but told a story that flashed as quickly as an internet pop up: a child's black and red cloth glove, beneath a bag of leaves that hadn't moved for a year. A busted piece of a lug wrench, in the alley near the garage, right where you would change a tire. Personally, I find it helpful to put some WD-40 on a lug nut before loosening, but some people have to learn automotive repair lessons the hard way.

In a narrow, neglected space between the house and the ugly chain link fence (but ugly only in the sense ALL chain link is ugly) was an incredible accumulation of pet food cans. Clearly, somebody would feed the a cat or dog on the porch, and then just toss the empty pet food can between the house and the fence.

Here are some other things I found:

# Plenty of plastic baggies. (Sarcasm font) No doubt evidence of lovingly-packed bag lunches for "Straight A" students.

# A brown hair extension left in the yard. In that moment, one pictures a scene...people in the back yard, drinking and smoking dope. Words are exchanged. "Bitch," comes the declaration. "I will RIP YOUR HAIR OUT!!!!"

But the declaration was incorrect. It wasn't REALLY her hair.

# What I thought at first was some kind of tree root, but it was an old string of Christmas lights. Here's valuable advice: You can't compost Christmas lights. They are NOT bio-degradable.

# Numerous fossilized chicken bones, from millions of years ago when primordial fowl were the undisputed masters of what is now Farview Park, their only formidable foe being Pitbullasaurus.

# A phone book, exposed so long to rain and sunshine that it was becoming compost and could, arguably, turn into a tree again, given a few more years and a lot of hard work by the worms.


Did I mention the nearly-fatal injuries to our Housing Director? Oh, yeah, I think I did. Much more on THAT later.

The picture at the bottom shows Connie's apple tree. It is almost but not quite dead. A few branches are putting out buds. My theory is the tree, if cut down, will spring up new shoots and the tree will replace itself, but Connie says cutting up the dead tree is not really a priority, right now.

It's her house. She can do what she wants with it. And, really, isn't that the point of home ownership? A man is a king, a woman is a queen, though their kingdom be small. These kind of incredible bargains are to be had all over NoMi.


Ranty said...

that's "Doña" Nompelis please...

Johnny Northside said...

You need to show me how you managed to type the "en-yay" in that comment, some time.

JNS Reader said...

That circular wire thing was once the backbone of a Christmas wreath, I believe. Happy Holidays...

jhop said...

Start > Run > CHARMAP

Anonymous said...

On a Mac: Option-n, then n

See: ñ

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me John, I now see you are taking donations on your site! Ever think about getting a REAL job?

Anonymous said...

OFF TOPIC: Case No. 62-CR-09-5148 - State Minnesota vs. Evannor Haymon... let's just say March wasn't a "great" month for Senior Diablo... Plea entered today (5/18/2009)

Anonymous said...

NO! Johnny can't get a 'real' job!!! He is needed - who else is going to go sit in court rooms for hours upon hours and tell us of all the lies told by characters such as McAffee, Moore, etc etc.

Plus who else is gonna come up with headlines like "Al Flowers comes in 3rd in a 2 way race"


Ranty said...

The corkscrew thingy is for screwing into the ground and hooking a doggy line to... I believe.

Johnny Northside said...

Yes, considering where I found it in the yard...that makes perfect sense. Near there I also found and threw away a leather dog collar, green with mold.

Maybe there are skeletal canine remains under the ground there, and I just missed 'em.