Photos By John Hoff
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.
Thanks, Dex, for MESSING UP OUR NEIGHBORHOOD WITH YOUR UNWANTED PHONE BOOKS. YOU SUCK.
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.