We had a call with our contractor today on the progress of the house. Because of the weather yesterday, there was frost on the house and they couldn’t redo the siding. And they probably won’t come do it on new years eve. So they are “definitely” starting on Wednesday “at the latest.” I feel a bit of deja vu but whatever. Let’s be zen about this I guess.
We asked him what he would do in the meantime next week.
Electrician, maybe plumber, maybe roof inspector if we can get access to the roof. Apparently, the siding guy met the neighbor and he said he might let us access the roof through his house. Nice. We should go meet the neighbors.
The real crazy shit that he said very nonchalantly as a passing thought was that the siding guy saw a mattress or two in the house.
Yeah, looks like there are some squatters in there. He also said he saw some needles. He didn’t really want to go in.
Whoa. Okay. I’m kind of freaked out. I looked at my boyfriend. We will go by and take a look.
Then we tried to have a very normal conversation about what kind of insulation to use. We wanted to use spray foam, which our contractor assured us was very expensive. We said if we were going to really spend money on something, we wanted it to be proper insulation and would be willing to give up other things to make sure we got it.
He then went into a very lengthy explanation about how one of our side walls is brick and wooden slats, like below (this is an actual wall in our house, ignore the bricks crumbling onto each other, that should be getting fixed), so getting insulation in there would mean either removing the brick or putting insulation on to of it.
We said we wanted to do neither and just insulate the sides of the walls that we could insulate.Also we said it probably wouldn’t be too expensive then since we didn’t have many walls to insulate. Our contractor even pointed out that we probably didn’t need insulation on the wall we shared with our neighbors.
This is what spray foam looks like vs. regular fiberglass insulation. Spray foam obviously looks like it will insulate our house more! Plus keep out mold and dust and keep in heat in the winter and cool in the summer. We even told our renovation specialist we would give up hardwood floors for spray foam:
So back to the squatter situation. As soon as we hung up with Eric, we put on our winter coats and trekked over to the house. We saw how the squatter(s?) had broken in through the basement door and cautiously entered the house, phone flashlights handy.
I hadn’t been back there since the demolition and it was crazy to see the walls taken down and the demolished parts piled against the wall. It was a different kind of trash pile, a trash pile of promise and potential.
We walked all through the first floor and checked the backyard. We noted the needles were still back there from before. Probably the needles the siding guy saw.
We then started to walk up to the second floor and my boyfriend paused halfway up.
Have you been staying here?
I catch up with him a second later and see a man tying up his folding chair. He looks a bit frightened and definitely harmless.
You need to leave because we are going to be here now, my boyfriend says calmly.
The man nods.
I point to the mattress. Is that your mattress?
He says, Yes.
You need to take that with you when you go.
We will wait here for you to leave.
My boyfriend waves me down. We don’t need to do all of that. But we are going to be living here now, so you need to go. You can’t stay here. Cool? Cool.
We walk down to the basement and check for another mattress. Nope. Just the one on the top floor.
We leave and knock on the neighbors’ door. We introduce ourselves as his new neighbors and he smiles and puts out his hand. We tell him we love his house. He says his father spent 15 years building it up, little by little. We tell him that gives us hope for our house.
I feel kind of bad for the man, I tell my boyfriend.
Me too. I saw he had bags of groceries too. That and the mattress tells me he has some need for comfort and that tells me there’s a greater possibility that he’s not crazy or dangerous.
Yeah? Groceries huh?
Yeah, I mean, he still needs to not be sleeping in our house, because, you know, it’s our house, but maybe if he’s there tomorrow, we look up a list of shelters to give him.
That’s a good idea.