MovingTo Crofton (an unfinished story)

by Mikki Loiselle  (March 1995)

March 20-Saturday

Jim and I were so excited to finally be able to get into our new home. We’d made sure that we had plenty of time left on our apartment lease to give us time to get the house ready for moving in. Little did we know that there was no way we could’ve allowed ourselves adequate time. We walked around the house and found so many things we hadn’t seen while the Bermans were still living in their house. It became obvious to us very quickly that the Bermans had not cleaned a thing once we agreed to buy the house.

First came the refrigerator which had mold and mildew growing in it, not to mention a layer of grime on all the shelves and drawers inside. Then I looked in the upright freezer and found ice over 3 inches thick on all the walls and shelves. It took over 3 hours to defrost it. I found all sorts of unknown items left on the shelves after the ice had melted. I can only imagine what they might have been. Opening the washer lid I found lint and slime so thick that it had to be scrubbed with a toilet brush and bleach. My beautiful Jenn-Aire stove took 2 hours to clean. The grill had to be scraped clean with a wire brush and a can of stove cleaner, even after being soaked overnight in a bag of ammonia.

We decided that the vinyl gray wallpaper in the family room would have to go. What we didn’t know when we began to strip it was that the wallpaper had been glued to an unprimered wall, which meant it was unstrippable without removing chunks of the wall. This was only the beginning with this room; behind the wallpaper in the family room we found ivy growing through the wall and the fireplace, as well as severe water rot in a corner under a window. At this point I looked at Jim and began to cry.

Later in the evening we found large rust stains on the living room rug. These were not visible before the Bermans moved out because of their monstrous modular sofa.


March 21-Sunday

Because we had been unsuccessful at stripping the wallpaper the day before, Jim and I decided we would remove the wallboard in the family room and replace it ourselves. Jim began pulling down the wall, but it only came off in small chunks and he got tired of this real quick. What he found under the wallboard was almost as shocking as finding the ivy and the mold. He found another layer of wallboard! We decided we would call in a contractor.


March 22-Monday

We moved our monstrous sofa bed from mom and dad out onto the landing of our apartment along with the small sofa and several computer tables. We weren’t about to break our backs moving these things down the stairs—we had moved them upstairs two years earlier and we knew they were too heavy. We didn’t care if someone came and stole them before the Salvation Army came to pick them up. Ray Sofield Electric came to the house and rewired the fuse box and removed the obsolete solar heating box from the back bedroom.


March 23-Tuesday

Our phone was supposed to be working, but as our luck would have it, it wasn’t. The phone jack in the back bedroom was capable of handling outgoing calls, but you couldn’t receive any calls. C&P told us they’d take care of it. Reliable Carpet Cleaning was scheduled to come and steam clean our carpets but they never showed up. Jim had 2 contracting companies in for estimates on the family room.


March 24-Wednesday

When Jim got to the house in the morning, the phone was working. But of course, there was one slight problem, the phone jack in the kitchen and the phone jack in the back bedroom were hooked up to different numbers. This meant that when the phone would ring and you’d answer in the kitchen, the phone in the bedroom would keep on ringing. C&P told us they’d take care of it. We signed with Curry Enterprises to gut and redo the family room.

Jim called Reliable Carpet Cleaning and found out that their receptionist mistakenly scheduled our carpets to be cleaned on the 30th. Jim told them that this just wouldn’t do and they needed to get out to the house ASAP. The carpet cleaners showed up around 2:00 pm. Oh boy, we’re gonna have wet carpets to put our new furniture on. This was all happening at about the same time C&P took care of the phone; neither line worked now.


March 25-Thursday

This was our worst day yet. We had 2 furniture deliveries scheduled that should have been uneventful. The first people to show up were the Marlow Furniture guys with our new bedroom furniture and 2 quilt cabinets. They began unloading the furniture and setting up our king size bed in what we had thought was a really big room. Ha! The only place the 4-poster bed would fit and not interfere with the ceiling fan was smack dab in the middle of the room. And guess what? Once it was in place, there was hardly any room for the other furniture. But, they had to unload it anyway. And after they got the bedroom squared away, they unloaded the cherry quilt cabinet—the one we bought from the scratch and dent center. When Jim inquired about the oak quilt cabinet we’d bought at the same time, they looked at him like they had no idea what he was talking about. So, he called Marlow while the drivers were still at the house. Come to find out, Marlow had sold our quilt cabinet to someone else after they had already sold it to us, and those people took it home. Marlow of course wanted to sell us a new oak cabinet, to which Jim quickly replied, "You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m not going to pay full price for something I bought in scratch and dent and you sold to someone else. What kind of a company is this? Do you always pull a bait and switch with your customers?" He went all the way to the top of the company with our problem and we got a new oak quilt cabinet for the price of the one we bought in scratch and dent!

Next to arrive was the phone company repairman. He didn’t understand that not having a phone was a problem. As Jim was trying to deal with the Marlow Furniture guys and the phone repairman who hooked up the wrong phone again, Jennifer Convertibles showed up with our queen size sofabed. We were supposed to get an oversized chair too, but guess what? They’d misplaced it. It wasn’t on the truck and the guys had no idea where it was. Get ready for this next part, because this is the best part so far. Jim was standing in the courtyard, arguing with the phone repairman, as well as trying to talk to our realtor who had showed up a few minutes before. At the same time, one of the Jennifer Convertibles’ delivery men hefted our queen size sofa bed onto his shoulders and began to carry it up the sidewalk and into the courtyard. About halfway up the sidewalk, the other deliveryman yells, "Hey, do you need help?" The first delivery man, with the sofa perched precariously on his shoulder, (and with Jim, the phone repairman, and the realtor watching), turns to answer his coworker. As he turns, the corner of the sofabed goes through the study window that looks out into the courtyard. As this is happening, our realtor says to Jim, "Do you think he should be carrying that all by himself?"

When I got home from school that day, I found a crowded bedroom, 1 quilt cabinet, a sofa bed, no chair, a broken window, and still no phone. Isn’t home ownership wonderful!



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