July 11, 2018 – No Charlotte for You

Cindy blurted out of the blue.
"Let's move to Charlotte."

Okay, blurted out of the blue may be an overstatement.

After evacuating twice in two years, dropping a bundle on storm shutters and biting our nails all hurricane season, I knew exactly how my wife felt. I support her unconditionally because, after all, she treats me better than everyone else in my life combined.

She wants to move to Charlotte?

Well, hot-diggidy, we're moving.

I resigned my Ghostly acting gig downtown and got to work preparing our house to put on the market. I started with the garage, you know, a simple coat of paint on the ceilings and walls.


When I was spackling a joint, some of the ceiling panels just crumbled into dust in my hands and on my head.


Then I rolled the garage floor with epoxy paint and, dang, that looked good!


The car's hot tires flaked monster gobs of it off when I pulled it back in. My pristine garage floor now looked like the Fight Club house on Paper Street!


This was taking too long so we lined up a few contractors to give me a hand but, Good Goddle Mighty, that was a mistake.

We hired a bourbon-nose bozo, let's call him Toxic Tully, to repair a small patch of our popcorn ceiling. He popped onto the project and ruined hefty portions of our lawn chop-chop with his litter of plaster refuse.

He continued a dementia of demise by cranking up his thunderous Blues music so deafening that my wife had to don noise-cancellation headphones to counteract his acute disrepute.

And the ceiling.

Did I mention the ceiling?

charlotte2 For a mere fourteen hundred dollars our ceiling had been converted into the lunar surface, complete with noxious piles of debris riddled across the floor. Toxic Tully also trashed my step ladder, my drop cloths, and my patience.

This was his response…
"I don't have any more money left in this project."
And that pasty-faced hippo waddled off as fast as his fat ass would allow.

Gee, thanks, Doctor Dickhead, we're worse off now than when we started!

Later that night, in a solemn voice, Cindy asked me…
"Can you fix this?"

My equally solemn head nodded acquiescence.


I sealed off the house with huge sheets of plastic, scrubbed and scraped, ground and sanded the Family Moon, along with my knuckles, down to the nitty-gritties. It took four aching days of step-ladder work with neck-wrenching head positions, arm-numbing stretches, and face-fogging safety gear.

charlotte4 Was I done?
No, I was only half baked.

A parade of contractors marched through my house with hunks of my yard hitching a ride on their feet but I'll skip over the Slack-Facers from Siesta Sprinkler, the Trump-Besotted House Painters and Motormouth Mort, who was clearly audible from a full block away.

I will say this, though...

I wanted so bad to wad some certified pre-owned toilet paper into their certifiable never-ending lips.

You get the picture.

Finally, a couple of months and a few thousand dollars later, we were finally ready to put our homestead on the market and zero in on our newfangled dream house up in them Carolinas, there.

Cindy and I piled into our Honda CR-V, rambled up the relocation highway, and checked into a one hundred and twenty-dollar-a-night closet pretending to be a hotel suite. Sorry, Charlie, but a room with a cubical is not that suite.

At least they had complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres…

Oh, wait...
The ding-dong wine lady is stuck in traffic.

Your drinks have been cancelled, losers.
Have a nice day.

We showed up at the local realtor's office, chatted a bit, and VROOM, off we went to have a look-see at the first house on our to-see list.

Oh, my!

charlotte6 Would you just look at...
this cute little…
Piece of crap!

The neighborhood was laden with junk cars jacked up in uncool places, trash piled up in unreal places, lawns unmown in unkept places...

Alright, this one's better…
If you like tilted floor slabs!

Holy crap...
Don't come home drunk or you'll be done for. You'll roll out the door and down the hill and into Pavlov's dog drooling over there for a taste of your milkbone.

Say, here's an interesting concept…
An entire wooden deck fabricated around a plastic portable kiddie pool!

Cheez-Its, Cherries and Throw-Up!

What a spectacular farce of resources, don't you think?

Look, it's what we always wanted!
A bug-filled Lanai handcrafted with scissors and a staple gun alongside a rotting deck.

Here's the kitchen...
No exhaust hood over the kitchen stove?
No worries…
A huge-ass ceiling fan whips the smoke from choking our guests.
Absolutely quaint.

charlotte8 What we got is a lot where all sides slope in towards the house?
Not much a yard...
More of a bath tub, really.

Hmmm, This house has some weird siding…
Oh, it's vinyl.


Whoever heard of such a thing?
It feels like squishy rubber.

That's okay because it sort of goes with the toy shutters.
Good grief!
Let me out of here!

Wait a minute…
This one actually looks kind of nice.

It's right next to the greenbelt, in a decent neighborhood, up on a hill, good drainage, right?

Oh, and it has a two car garage, a fireplace, and a lovely master bedroom.
We'll take it.

Someone just made an offer on it?

Okay, we'll make a bigger offer.
Yay, we won the bid.

Lucky us.

We wrote a check for 1% of the purchase price and lined up a home inspection for the next day.

What was that you say?

We need to submit an additional $1000. as a non-refundable Due Diligence fee?

Alright, I guess that makes sense because the inspection should go okay because the seller has disclosed all discrepancies with the house because that's what's required by law, right?



The next day the inspector exposed massive water damage in multiple rooms, a roof that was peeling like a can of tuna, holes in the walls deviously obscured by furniture, garage doors that refused to operate, and a whole stench of things that were either damaged or failing or AWOL.

But here's the kicker…

I was taking some measurements outside along the back deck when I happened upon a retaining wall on the verge of collapse.


The blasted thing looked like it was made out of Lincoln Logs and those blasted timbers were rotten to the core…
Just like our stinking seller here.

That's right...
Ten feet of intimate hillside ready to drop on in and cozy up to the fireplace.
Dandy, just dandy.

Well, it's not all bad. At least this portion of the retaining wall over on this side is constructed with solid concrete block and steel, right?

UM... Wrong again, sucker.

There's no concrete inside the blocks.
There's no structural steel.

No my fellow boobs, these blocks are loosely stacked like a child's box of dominoes by some Good-Ole'-Boy from the God-Damned-Hood.

Adios thousands of dollars...
The price of the inspections and the cost of the motel...
The cost of meals and gas and wear and tear.

Cheese Us Cry Ice!

You know...
We just don't have boat-loads of money we can grinningly flush down the Charlotte Real Estate Toilet from now until doomsday.


Cindy dialed our realtor and asked her to halt our listing and just in time, too. Dawn's finger was hovering over the mouse button, ready to click it into the system.

At least we dodged that bullet.


This concludes our story about the disaster that galvanized our sensibilities to remain right here in Saint Augustine for the foreseeable future.

On a positive note:
The house is fixed up pretty dang nice now.

One heck of a spring cleaning, that was.


We're too cringed to grin…
And too riled to smile…
We'll show you plenty of teeth…
But we're none too happy about it.


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