Friday, December 20, 2013

Red rum and dead babies

If I'd been a bit more in tune with horror genres I might have known that "red rum" was just "murder" spelled backwards.

So when I bought that little fixer-upper triplex in Guelph back in the middle 80's it didn't even register with me that "red rum" painted randomly across various doors windows and walls should have been a red flag.

I'd bought the place because it had a huge lot. A robust presentation at the committee of adjustment might have got half a dozen townhouses approved for the site.

But I'd just come from a lengthy battle to have a little condo development approved on Water Street. I won that lengthy battle and the condo is still there, and I must say it is one of the finest small projects in the entire town.

But I was exhausted and my finances were exhausted and even though I saw huge potential in this triplex property, I didn't have the fight left in me at the time.

So I decided to give this place the lipstick treatment and defer redevelopment for a future date.

I figured that lipstick was going to run about 10K and be done in a month.

Even then I should have known better. Any reno I've ever done has been positive proof that the "3 factor" isn't just a myth.

The 3 factor is where you take your best guess about what a reno is going to run you, and multiply everything by three.

If it's gonna take three months, it'll take nine.

If it's gonna take $30 thou, it'll be 90 time you're done.

On this particular property, we burned the 3 and were gunning for a 5 factor.

Gotta put in a new bathroom in the ground floor suite. Pull out the hardware, and by jeepers, if that old bathtub ain't been leaking for at least twenty years!

The toilet too!

The entire floor under the bathroom is rotted out.

Now we're into shit that requires a building permit. That wasn't in the budget. I thought this was a lipstick job.

I end up working 24/7 week after week trying to get this project done. One morning, after having spent the night nailing floor joists into place under that new bathroom, I'm outside taking a breath of fresh air when a neighbor lady comes up to me and tells me this story.

She's so glad somebody is fixing up the place. She thought the dead baby was going to haunt it forever.


What dead baby?

Ya, one day the woman who lived in that apartment where you've been replacing the floor under the bathroom came out and talked to me.

Talked for hours.

While she was talking to me, her baby was drowning in the bathtub.

No comments:

Post a Comment