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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Flat Rats and Other Stuff…

It’s been two weeks since I last subbed. That’s about enough time to get ready for today’s Kindergarten class. Real easy class and I even got an aide for half of it. Nuf’ said ‘bout that.

One of the few benefits of sub work is that you can choose NOT to work if other stuff is happening. I took these last two weeks off to host visiting friends/relatives from Long Island, attend an out of town wedding, and helping a friend clean out the flat rats in a house he finally sold.

I guess I should explain that last activity, but first some history.

My friend, Gary, inherited this house plus all the furnishings about 15-20 years ago from an elderly aunt. It’s hidden from the road by an overgrowth of trees, ivy and who knows what else. Not knowing what he wanted to do with the house and the stuff inside, he simply locked the doors and installed motion detectors and alarms to scare off any undesirables.

Because it’s about an hour drive from home, it has sometimes been months between visits to check the on the place.

One year became two, then five and the next thing you know it’s twenty years later. Earthquakes, mold, decay, termites, spiders, rats and human intruders finally took its toll on the place.

This house, at one time, had lots of furniture, glassware, at least two grand pianos, tools and a lifetime of books and letters.

I say at “one time” because over the last few years, thieves have been breaking into the house over an extended period of time and carried off most anything of value.

Why Gary didn’t sell off the furnishings long ago is another story, but the fascinating part of this story is the outright brass balls of these thieves.

They stole the mailbox …twice!

When we first discovered the break-ins to the house, we boarded up all the windows and re-secured the doors with new locks.

On a follow-up visit, we found that the thieves had sawed away the door frames around our locks and installed their own padlocks to the kitchen door for easy access!

They also installed a chain across the driveway with a “NO Trespassing” sign. I guess they were worried about competition.

They, evidentially, were having problems angling the furniture down the two flights of stairs because they sawed the stair railings away so they could drop the stuff straight down the stairwell.

Someone chipped away individual decorative tiles from the kitchen back splash.

We noticed evidence that someone had been sifting through the fireplace ash pit looking for who knows what.

The bathroom sink is missing.

Between what remaining furniture we moved to off site storage and what the thieves had already removed, the house was cleaned out of anything with remote value.

What WAS left was a mountain of trash.

Aunt Ellen was a saver. She saved everything. Evidentially she always “added” rather than “replaced” anything.

I know this because three of us spent a better part of last week filling two 20-yard dumpsters with trash that included:

  • Forty year old news papers
  • Piles of old musty/moldy clothes and bedding
  • Bags and bags of letters and junk mail
  • A mountain of broken glass.
  • A collection of eighteen mattresses and box springs.
  • Petrified birds and finally…yes
  • At least two completely flat desiccated rats.

Gary owes me…….BIG TIME!

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