Wednesday, July 09, 2008

the state of things

For ten months, I've been engaged in a dysfunctional relationship with a rather sociopathic contractor building a luxury home close to mine. He finally finished his house and put it on the market, not without some over-the-top disregard for the neighbors by completely blocking off the street for most of two days in order to "stage" the house for sale (a friend trying to drop off his daughter at my house was particularly inconvenienced by this).

Not surprisingly, the sociopathic contractor has delusions of grandeur: he is asking two million, one hundred seventy nine thousand dollars for his little house. Over $2.1 million! Evidently the pocket-sized sociopath felt there would not only be one sucker at that price, but several. He and his realtor team set up a ridiculous, height-of-the-housing-bubble, auction-style sale. Open houses were held constantly, including on untraditional days (in San Francisco, the practice is that open houses for anyone to stroll into are held on the weekend, and during the week, there are only broker's tours, which are held on Tuesday afternoons and no one allowed in unless chaperoned by a licensed real estate agent). A huge, glossy booklet trumpeting the property as "sexy" was handed out. This was all to come to a head on July 2nd, when the agents announced they would accept offers (and presumably oversee the ensuing imagined and anticipated fierce and furious bidding war).

The brochure advertising the property as "sexy" was hilarious to me, as clearly the architecture revealed something I'd rather not contemplate about the sexual desires of the pocket-sized sociopath. The master bedroom is designed for exhibitionism. One wall is all glass, and indeed where that wall meets a side wall, the side wall is glass. There is no conceivable way to put curtains up. It is not a particularly large master bedroom, and anyone living in it would be getting dressed, undressed, and, hopefully for them but not for the unwilling neighbors, having sex in full view of everyone who lives nearby. We dropped by one of the open houses, and I saw to my horrified fascination that the master bedroom's bathroom had a large wall cutout rendering the nearby door somewhat ineffective. Not only would anyone willing to pay $2.1 million for this smallish house need to want to conduct their sex life in public, that person would not be able to move their bowels in their own master bathroom in private.

Perhaps there are well-heeled exhibitionists with a passion for sterile modern architecture, but here it is July 8th, and no one has put in an offer. I was a participant myself in a good old-fashioned San Francisco real estate bidding war, and I know those proceed apace (the Sober Husband and I went through several rounds of bids over one morning, jumping each time the phone rang. By noon we knew we had a new house, and we both felt like we'd been punched in the stomach). The house isn't done causing me annoyance, though. Today the little sociopath came and applied some form of extremely stinky chemical to the roof of the $2.1 million house.

Meanwhile, at our more private home nearby, it's been pretty peaceful. The current batch of foster kittens are extremely conscientious about litter box usage and delightfully playful. Lucy has two loose teeth she delights in waggling to gross her sister out. The Sober Husband is floating in a sort of bliss at the moment. It reminds me of how I felt after I recovered from nearly dying due to undiagnosed gallbladder disease (the worst doctor I saw during this period gave me a snap diagnosis of HIV and, when my blood test came back negative, had no further ideas and just sent me home. Later I was admitted to the hospital on an emergency basis when my liver and other internal organs were failing). When I finally got back to full health, I was overwhelmed with joy at being alive. Everything was miraculous and beautiful to me; I wandered through the days with delight. That all came crashing to a halt on 9/11, which certainly harshed my mellow, but it was beautiful before then. I hope nothing so drastic occurs to bring the Sober Husband down, so happy at being back in regular family life after our big falling-out where I asked him to move out temporarily. Since he came back, I was rather distant and cranky towards him, sort of the Mr. Burns to his Smithers, but lately I've been softening. I don't want to stay angry. It will all be tested by fire in a couple of weeks when we set off cross-country for his mother's ridiculously selfish birthday party, but it's been peaceful for now.


Anonymous said...

Am I a horrible person for LOVING that nobody wants The Sexy House? Karma, Karma, how I adore thee!!

I just had a thought. If anybody comes along who actually wants that house you might just be chock full of new and exciting tales for us. I can just imagine what such people would be like. Hmmm.... maybe I hope it sells soon? Nah!

Anonymous said...

PS - I'm glad to hear that SH had his "don't know what ya got till it's (almost) gone" moment. In my experience it takes some time to rebuild the trust after having your husband question whether or not he still likes you, but once it's back it's stronger than ever and life is very good. Cheers!

Silliyak said...

I have an image of psychontractor standing on the bow (deck?) of his creation, his finances sinking with the sun.

And makeup "love" is supposed to be the best.

Silliyak said...

Oh, also I read recently that real estate investors should meet ("interview") the neighbors to see if there are any problems.

hughman said...

sillyak -

i love the interview idea! we could have another contest here where we submit interview questions!

1. you are going out for the night. what shoes do you wear and how high are the heels?

hokgardner said...

I looked at the site and loved the picture of "Aldo," one of the listing agents. My husband is a realtor, and I have forbidden him from ever getting one of those cheesy glamor shots-esque pictures taken.

We had some duplexes built across the street from us, and whole sides of them are glass. The builder put some screening in front of the windows, but we still get a show every now and again.

Glad things are at least peaceful at your house.

jane said...

this kind of nonsense is going on left and right in the sweet littole town in which i live. only they are knocking down absolutely lovely homes with tons of character to put up these soulless montrosities. and guess what? they're all sitting on the market too and in this town stuff gets sold before it's even officially listed.

too bad. NOT.

Amy said...

I'm glad to hear things have become more peaceful at home. I have worried about you and thought of you often.

I hope you didn't mind me not saying anything furthur, I took to heart what Jim(?) said about not analyzing it too much publicly. But I was touched.

Captain Steve said...

I really enjoy that the sexy house isn't selling and I'm ok with the vindictiveness of that sentiment.

Anonymous said...

Having been on the rocks (and back in the clouds) in almost 12 years of marriage ...

You can go home again - though you both will need to make peace with what happened and decide where you want to go with the relationship. The new path, with detour, your lives have taken don't have to be a dealbreaker, but a learning phase of your relationship.

I'll assume he didn't date pole dancers while you were apart, of course, or you didn't traipse around with buff personal trainers/masseurs.

Because, you know, you've been holding out on us!

thi said...

DH, sorry to hear about the rocky patch there.

I got laid off in April, so I lost my carefully cultivated bookmarks, but now have re-established my reading pattern now that I work from home ...

Personally, I think it's hilarious that they're (for now) stuck with that house. Greed will get ya
every time, and that contractor sounds like he totttttallllly deserves it.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I must be a heathen. I like the house, and it's glass and modern-ness seems "sexy" to me. Not that I'd want neighbors to see IN to my rooms, but the view OUT is gorgeous.

When he cuts the price to 10% of the current price, I'll think about it. I would greatly enjoy having you, DH, as a neighbor!

Caroline said...

OMG, is that house way too overdesigned or WHAT?? Loved the picture of the DIALS ON THE STOVE... but is it my imagination, or are the rooms a wee bit, um, small???

hughman said...

ok, here's my 2 cents -

1. the fireplaces are tacky and dated. so early 80's. why some lame shelf at the bottom and no mantel?

2. shop at Ikea much? it looks like EVERYTHING was bought there.

3. the dining area isn't very useful. it isn't at all designated seperate from anything. also the dining room chairs look cheap.

4. not enough cabinet space in the kitchen. it features a "gourmet" stove but is far from a gourmet kitchen. small and cramped.

5. what's with the pic of the shower head? meh accessory.

6. what's with the old style tub and the new fangled faucet? that doesn't make sense. either get a modern tub or use old faucets and knobs.

7. why is there a wooden stool in the shower? who would do that?

8. really poor placement of the outlets on the kitchen island. totally detracts from the area.

Missy said...

Hughman, you're right. Upscale Ikea shots. Also, agreed on the kitchen cabinets. Definitely Ikea look. I'll send DH the photo of our kitchen remodel and maybe she can be kind enough to pass them on, and you can see what you think of them.

The tub looks too small for an actual person.

Hard to see how the contractor justifies the price. Two mil still buys a lot all across the country, no matter how exquisite the staging.

I'm a mean person for hoping the Contractor gets stuck losing money, and I'm okay with that.

the Drunken Housewife said...

The kitchen was horrific. there's a huge-ass stove a regular person will never need, BUT the island has no seating at it. The stove is positioned under a low-hanging cabinet, so no real cook would want to be stuck standing there, with no way to interact with guests.

Don't get me started about the see-through cabinets. Those are out of style now bec. no one wants to have to organize their cans and spices, etc.. tidily enough to be viewed.

There's no dining room. There are two spaces, one on either end of the kitchen, which could be used as eating areas, but for over $2 million, don't you want a real dining room?

Instead of a dining room, there's a strange room directly off the kitchen which was staged as a tiny living room. It's in a bad place to be a bedroom; it's not going to be a living room (too small); it's not a dining room (also too small). What would one do with it? I suppose it could be a little study, but it's not in an area of the house where quiet and privacy would be expected. If one had children, it could be a playroom, but this isn't a family sort of house.

I saw a discussion of this house on an SF real estate blog, and someone who is allegedly a friend of the sociopathic contractor said, "this would be perfect for someone with four cars!" Oy vey, that's all we need on this block: some exhibitionist with too much money and too many cars.

I disliked the yuppie plumbing fixtures and don't understand the fetishization of them on the website.

Incidentally I think there has been a falling out between the contractor and his realtors. Stay tuned!

hughman said...

who in this area of SF had FOUR CARS?? they would love in sausalito!!

the den is weird. why would you have a den right next to the living room??? i could see on another floor. but really?? why not open the living room up for more space which it could use?

don't get me gay started about the kitchen. it's a disaster on so many levels. gourmet cooks like the stove aspires to want room. this in more like "Top Mess".

i'll be an Expert Voice if you need one in the court trial. I'll even wear a dark veil and do "air snaps" at appropriate moments.

hughman said...

also, i have no fear of talking in public.

the Drunken Housewife said...

I don't think I've mentioned how this house has harmed our block:

Mono Way is a pedestrian access only alley. It is paved in uneven brick & has stanchions at the two ends (it runs through two blocks; it's a staircase through the other block) to prevent traffic from going through it.

The house which used to be there was set back from Mono Way, a cute wooden house with no garage. This house is all glass-fronted, has no setback, and introduces traffic to Mono Way. What used to be a sweet common area, where people strolled and would stop to look at the flowers (there was a large garden in front which technically belonged to the city) is now a sterile place. It feels now like you're standing in a rich exhibitionist's driveway and they are scrutinizing you from that house, when you are on Mono Way.

The children used to play on Mono sometimes, and we'd talk to neighbors while we were outside. I can't imagine anyone lingering or playing on Mono Way now.

thi said...

Yes, I was just looking at Mono Way (or should I say MoNO Way based on the asking price LOL) and wondered how the heck you drove down it with the stanchions there.

Shame, these changes to the quietude.

chris said...

Haha. Sexy. As soon as I read that, I knew he was an arse.

Anonymous said...

your writing style is as hilarious as i remembered back in the day when you posted on Bmoms...

i had to laugh out loud--but not too hard as my SH is trying to get the young boy to sleep...