|Paco looks so happy despite the carnage. I am thinking about a gin & tonic.|
(ed. note This is the follow-up post (written seven months later) to the previous story about the saga of Paco's house. By this time all of the work had been completed and the house was back on the market. We finally sold it in Dec., 2009 and promptly flew to Santa Fe for some much-needed R&R).
In an effort to enlighten my readers who may have missed it, about 7 months ago Paco and I had to evict Harold the renter from Paco's house in the ‘burbs due to his blatant disregard for our property and the methodical wrecking of it. Once we got him out of there and assessed the full extent of the damage, it made “Extreme Makeover” look like “Flip this House”. From the foundation to the roof, there was so much damage that we ended up completely remodeling the house, tearing out the old foundation, re-carpeting, installing new tile floors and completely replacing the landscape. In the process we experienced the uncertainty, paranoia and anxiety of a mystery leak under the slab which turned out to be a result of damage to the foundation. If you have ever had a leak under your house that you cannot find and have had to spend weeks on end lying in a muddy ditch in the middle of February with a flashlight and a camera / roto-rooter contraption, staring into a foggy TV screen without the vaguest idea what the heck you’re look at, you will know what I am talking about. Sort of like discovering a bad leak underneath the Great Wall of China after the Big Fountain next to Tibet had been leaking for the last 500 years. Smaller scale, yes, but just as unnerving, frustrating and damaging. It was a 7-month long nightmare but now, thankfully, it is behind us.
Yesterday we finally finished this monumental project, spending one final, 8 hour marathon shift putting the finishing touches on the landscaping, mopping floors and spreading ‘decorative bark’ in the flower beds. There is now a “For Sale” sign in the front yard and our work as slave laborers is done. Now we just have to pray that it sells in the worst economic environment since the Great Depression. Who knew that 2 years after first putting Paco’s house on the market it would still be out there, albeit completely renovated and, as the Realtors like to say, "Move-in-ready!"
This experience has taught me many lessons in patience and perseverance, as well as the reality of just how unreliable and untrustworthy some people can be. But it has also shown me, as if I didn’t know already, how unselfish, noble and truly heroic Paco is. When he found out about the leak under the slab, after all of the foundation pillars had been filled back in with cement, he did not hesitate to dig them all out again by hand and crawl through those dark, scary spaces underneath the house in the dead of winter until he found all 3 leaks. He did not hesitate from jack hammering up all 600 sq ft of ceramic tile and then relaying all of it again, by himself. Even when the foundation people took all of the rock-hard Texas clay from the holes and dumped it all into his prized flower beds, creating 3 foot high mounds and burying all the sprinkler heads, he got out there with his shovel and dug it all out, repaired the sprinklers and then carefully restored the beds to their former glory. He did not shy away from fixing things in that house that no one would ever know were even broken, because he has that kind of integrity, gritty determination and unwavering dedication to making his house whole again. If that meant pouring thousands of dollars and man hours into the effort, so be it. No one can ever truly appreciate the sweat equity that went into every evening and weekend working to repair his house. He was determined to erase every dent, crack, ruined carpet, scratch, dead plant and any other evidence of the unbelievable kind of damage one person can cause. I may have lost a measure of faith in my fellow man over the damage done to our property, but this loss has been overshadowed by my love, respect, admiration and sheer awe of my husband. Paco taught me a valuable lesson in what one human being can accomplish when they put their heart and soul into a project like this simply because they will expect nothing less from themselves. For that this nightmare was worth it, at least to me. Paco may feel differently and probably doesn’t see anything special in what he has accomplished but believe me, it was truly heroic.
Epilogue (as they used to say on The FBI): a few weeks ago we saw that Paco's house is back on the market. The new owners had added a fancy swimming pool and a few other updates but for some reason have decided to sell. At least this time around the economy isn't in free-fall.