I realize that this blog has been somewhat short on really useful homeowner tips, so I’m going to make up for that with one that is particularly valuable. In fact, this tip is so important that anyone reading this should just send me lots of money to thank me for the very serious problems the following tip will help you avoid.
The tip is: Do not dig large holes in your living room.
Phew! That was close, right? You were probably just about to start jackhammering through your solid wood flooring. It’s a good thing you read this just in time.
You can send me the money through PayPal, by the way.
That may be exactly what Vanessa Steer thought. About the digging in the living room part, not the action figures part. I’m willing to bet she doesn’t have any Star Wars action figures, not even “gently-used” ones. What she does have is a really old sword.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Life was fine for Vanessa Steer. She lived in a quaint little house in a quaint little town called Plymouth.* That’s in England, right on the English Channel, which we here in the U.S. get on cable TV as English Channel America. She had three grown children and a lovely retirement to look forward to, tending to her English garden, and drinking her English tea, and trying to chew her fish and chips with her English teeth.
Unfortunately, Vanessa had one other thing: her husband, Colin.
For years, Colin had been bothered by a small quirk of their house, namely that a part of the living room floor appeared to be sunken. Of course, we in America know that a sunken living room is very desirable and can add thousands of dollars to the value of your home. Colin, however, did not know this, and doesn’t want our dollars anyway.
Colin was determine to, um, get to the bottom of his depressed living room floor. So he did what I think any of us would do if we had eaten too much kidney pudding in our lifetime: he began digging.
And do you know what he found when he dug a hole in his living room? He found an even bigger hole! Specifically, he found a 30 inch wide by 30 foot deep well from the 16th century. And at the bottom of that well, he found…
…yes, that’s right. That’s where the sword comes in!
I don’t know about you, but if I discovered a 30 foot deep well under my house, my first inclination would not be to drop right on down to the bottom of the thing to see what was there. My assumption would be bones, but I would also be aware of the possibility of still-living, slimy creeping things with no eyes that are making me feel all icky just imagining them.
A sword would be way down on my list of possibilities of things that could be on the bottom of the 30 foot deep well I just found in my living room. No one knows how the sword got down there; maybe it’s how people made wishes in those days. You’d say something like, “I wish I don’t getteth the plague,” and toss your sword down the well, because you were poor, and you didn’t have any coins.
In any case, the Steers are now living with this hole in their house, which they probably need like a hole in the head. Vanessa certainly is less than thrilled about it. “I hate the well,” she told a British tabloid. Colin, on the other hand, had a typical male reaction: “I love the well and think it’s fascinating.”
That’s British for “Cool! I got a bloody ancient well in my living room!”
So what homeowner lessons can we learn from the cautionary tale of Colin and Vanessa Steer?
- If you have a depressed living room floor, just give it some Zoloft.
- If you feel a compulsion to dig, check first to make sure you don’t have a basement.
- Keep in mind that America is a newer, shinier country than England and we really don’t have a 16th century. Instead of a 500-year-old well, you’re much more likely to discover that your home was built on top of a sacred Indian burial ground and you’ve dug up the grave of a Native American who will now move your furniture around indiscriminately while you sleep.
- If you do happen to uncover a well, do not immediately jump down to see if there’s a sword in it. For one thing, the sword could be point-up. For another, you do not want to land on a seething pile of blind creepy things.
- If you think a little lead paint can negatively impact the value of your home, try a 30 inch hole in your living room. Even Vanessa Steer recognized this. “When we come to sell the house,” she told the tabloid, “I just hope it’s not a white elephant in the room.”
Well, Vanessa, I don’t think it would be a white elephant in the room. That’s because the white elephant has fallen into the LARGE HOLE IN THE ROOM.** Perhaps an enterprising real estate agent could dress it up a bit, maybe put a clear covering on it (“GLASS-BOTTOMED HOUSE!”) so they could sell it to someone who is not a religious fanatic that thinks it’s a window to hell.
I hope you’ve found this homeowner tip to be valuable.
See you soon.
*I have no actual knowledge of the relative quaintness of either the Steer’s home or of Plymouth, England; I just assume that anything in Great Britain outside of London is quaint.
**Fortunately, they’ve removed the sword.