Myers’ mansion may be cursed. The last owner moved to Kansas City, had his whole life fall apart, and evacuated the midwest. The owners before that, I am told, suffered a nasty divorce. Curses are so sexy, though.
My fellow squatter, who had been managing the bills, disappeared. The gas company put the shut-off notice on the mansion door, where, of course, I wouldn’t see it, as I live in the carriage house. This week, the water company turned off the water. They don’t leave a notice at all. Utilities are always turned off on Fridays, so that there is a whole weekend of punishment.
The gas is back on. The guy from the gas company was super nice and calm about the scavenger hunt he had to endure in order to secure the mansion’s lack of gas, and the rebirth of my furnace. I would assume he usually messes with the outdoor unit, lights two indoor appliances, and is on his way. Not at the mansion.
On his first visit, he discovered that the furnaces were accessed through the upstairs apartment. The inside door to the apartment was padlocked. When he returned, I had gallantly chopped the flap of metal clean off with bolt cutters, so the padlock sat there sadly useless. I have to say, going to Home Depot to buy bolt cutters to solve your problem is an invigorating, liberating experience. I can’t wait to use those things again.
The gas man returned. We went upstairs, and he found a trap door, pulled down a double set of ladders to access the attic. Up there, the mansion has, count ’em, three furnaces.
During these shenanigans, we were both exploring the lost continent of the mansion’s two kitchens, dining room, laundry room, den, living room, parlor, five bedrooms, three bathrooms, four fireplaces, and three floors. The mansion now contains the deitrus of three residents: several couches without cushions, numerous crummy Christmas decorations, old magazines, mattresses on the floor, plentiful cigarette butts and some empty Colt 45 cans, three sets of golf clubs, and one set of scuba gear. I found one painting I will color correct with a new layer of my own, and one cushy chair that I might someday drag over to the carriage house. The rest, frankly, is crap.
So all that– getting the gas turned back on– was fun, in its maddening way, but the water is a bitch.
I do earn a reasonable salary. I could afford to live somewhere reasonable. I could move, like, tomorrow, and maybe I will. Maybe.
“This is how much you hate change,” a friend said.
“This is how much I believe in the dream of Mr. George C. Myers who built the mansion, and how much I will defend the house from being taken over by crackheads,” I said. She just looked at me.
Was I defending the rich? Surely not. Maybe the mansion is a work of art, a one-of-a-kind piece that I am occupying to prevent its desecration, like a Tibetan monk or John Muir or something.
And yes, that’s how much I hate moving. Home is home. Occupation and caretaking are what make ownership, not money. It’s all very valiant, short on logic and long on romance, perhaps based more on stubbornness than anything else. Like most of my decisions.
Monday I’ll go smoke the peace pipe with the water company, and if I win that one, I”ll have all the utilities in my name, and I can wait peacefully for cavalry (The Bank) to arrive and mow down my encampment in traditional Western style, which should give me a couple months to clear out. I also think I’ll have quite a time clearing out some rooms of the mansion so I can throw a party where everyone wears coats and mittens and drinks by candlelight.