The Cheapest House in Town
Save syringes on the floor and pentagrams drawn in blood on the walls, the house at 369 Roosevelt Boulevard could not possibly be more horrifying. Actually, for all I know, there may have been drawing on the walls and syringes hidden in the corners; the electricity (and thus any source of light), was not on, which made it difficult to see much of anything. This despite the fact that "good electric service" was the first thing the realtor pointed out to me as he showed me the exterior of the house. With the light that came in through the windows, I could see the ceiling encased in sagging clear plastic sheeting (think Silence of the Lambs). I guess the plastic was supposed to keep the water out or keep the ceiling up but it wasn't working because the patchy linoleum floor was covered in white pieces of something that I hope was harmless plaster (as opposed to asbestos or some kind of chalk explosive.)
Obviously no one cares about this house, which gave me a creepy, spooky, shivery feeling. I have been in houses in worse condition, but they were abandoned and had none of the obvious signs of personal occupation like shoes on the floor, dirty pots in the kitchen, or toothpaste in the sink. Lest I give the impression I'm criticizing anyone's housekeeping skills, please know that there were YEARS worth of toothpaste in the sink. To the point that, despite functioning just fine, the sink would have to be replaced because it is never going to come clean. Maybe the bad feeling came from too much evidence of someone who blatantly didn't give a damn about the house. And, clearly no one has cared about (or for) this house from the moment it was built. All I know is that I couldn't wait to get out of there and back outside.
As I walked out the front door, I couldn't help feeling sorry for the Cleavers, who live across the street, for the shadow cast by this house in an abominable state of disrepair while they plainly take particular care of their house. Living across the street from what should be cast as Boo Radley's weirder cousin's house sets the scene pretty well. The driveway of the charming brick house held just-abandoned Big Wheels and other effluvia of happy children while our house hides behind overgrown shrubs and a dead tree whose limb has fallen across the roof. Photos of the two houses side-by-side would make a nice "Before-and-After" layout.
On the plus side, as the realtor told me, first on the telephone and again when I got to the house, "it has really strong doors." Furthermore, it has what looks like a solid foundation and cinder block walls. The respectably sized backyard is fenced with well-maintained chain-link.
Really the main thing the house has to recommend it is its price. It's cheap. Real Cheap. Cheapest house on the market in Lexington, as a matter of fact.
Yet other homes in the neighborhood appear to be much more valuable. Habitat for Humanity is building two houses down the street. They are spending $35,000 for each house, which doesn't even include the lot or the labor. That tells me that putting a lot of sweat and a fair amount of money into this house could make someone a fine and lovely home or even rental property.
Behind the dead tree I can just barely see an "After" trying to get out.
369 Roosevelt Blvd.
Contact: Joe "Mr. fixer-upper" Klein at 225-5464
September 9-17 Habitat is building a "Woman's House" on Roosevelt Blvd., which means that they need women volunteers as well as funding and in-kind donations. Please contact them at 252-2224 if you can help.
If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at firstname.lastname@example.org.