The Red Jello Incident

We began acquiring properties together (no more secret deals) and honing our skills. There was the house that was still being heated by coal (but not when we were done). There was the house with floors so wavy that I had to heat the linoleum tiles in the oven to make them pliable and then roll them over the waves. There was the house where hubby totally wallpapered a room and when we came in the next morning every bit of paper had rolled right back off the wall. There was the house with the mentally ill man living in the cabin out back with hundreds of mice and thousands of roaches. And there was the house where a Charles Manson lookalike tried to squat and when we had the cops throw him out he came back to stalk us for a few days – until hubby took to wearing a pistol on his hip and Charlie got the hint (Colorado: open carry state). There were plenty of typical suburban homes that were just tired and homely. In every case we made them better; and we sold at a profit.

Eventually we outgrew “our” first house and we were able to trade up to a 5 acre farm with a barn style house and a large shop. Of course it needed work too. Hubby and I loved the loft master suite; and the kids loved the spiral staircase to access it (monkeys – all of them!) The kids loved the acreage with the creek and woods and dirt bike trail and pigs, geese, turkeys, chickens, ducks, etc. We loved that they had elbow room to burn off their energy.

But what I didn’t love was that kitchen. The house had a contemporary floorplan and the kitchen was in the center of everything – which meant no windows. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and this didn’t suit me at all (something I didn’t realize until too late). It also had an electric stove and there was no gas at the property to remedy that. I hate electric stoves too. Lastly, it had carpet! Glued to the concrete slab! This was going to be an undertaking; and since I used the kitchen every day it was postponed. A farm, 4 kids, animals, heavy cooking and heavy traffic – you can imagine what it looked like… I really hated that carpet.

We had completed all the renovations with the exception of the kitchen carpet when we stumbled on the next farm. It was everything we wanted and more. Time to sell! So, we did the lazy thing. We bought new kitchen carpet to install over the old kitchen carpet. I had already painted the cabinetry a country cream color and the new carpet was very light too; which really helped to brighten the space. We advertised the house and found a buyer very quickly at a very healthy profit. Apparently the kitchen wasn’t an issue for them.

The children requested a going away party the last weekend in the house. Our oldest son had a high school rock band and they played on the front porch while young people 11-17 years old drifted in and out of the house. Our youngest daughter came into the kitchen to grab more sodas. As she dragged them from the fridge she snagged a bowl of red Jello. Red Jello that wasn’t yet “set”. Enough red Jello for a family of six plus guests. The bowl flipped onto the new kitchen carpet and red Jello (along with a healthy supply of sliced bananas) went everywhere.

I’m not sure what my face looked like at this point. We had been packing to move for days and my house was overrun with teens and tweens. My daughter looked at me in terror and then sprinted for the door. I didn’t pursue her. Instead I began scooping up Jello slime and bananas with my dustpan. There was no time to fix the damage. We wrote the new owner a check for $500 at closing and moved on to our dream house.

THE RED BARN HOUSE

Copyright February 2019

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