Decade of Memories
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“OUR FIRST VIEWING”
Our appointment was for 2:00 pm on Sunday afternoon and we were to share the real estate woman with another couple and their young children. It was obvious from the very start that our companions were there for the Tour only. Their pockets were nowhere near deep enough, nor their desire for hard work strong enough to take on this mammoth task. The more we saw, the more we were excited. The more we saw, the more dollars and work we could see needed to be spent to bring this old girl back to a livable state. Because sometimes, the opinion of someone else helps to balance your own feelings, we had invited dear friends Bryan and Donna McDonald to accompany us on the tour of the property. They have a great deal of sense and stability. Bryan has good ideas in home renovations and Donna has a great eye for decorating. We thought perhaps they might want to join us in a partnership. They refused and perhaps that was a good decision for both parties.
…… Our next area to inspect was the basement. No Hydro – so it would be a challenge to negotiate safely. All the windows in the basement had been boarded up for security and very little light was apparent. We used a flashlight supplied to us by the realtor. The basement had high ceilings with brick floors (what you could find). The rooms and there were many – about 9, were filled with trash. One room had over 100 potato bags – another dozens of salt bags – another the wood ceiling panels had separated and lay in thin layers on the floor. There were some remnants of the convent days
and dirt and trash from almost 100 years. The electric system looked pretty good – a 600-amp service with substations spread over the house. Some were old but lots of work had been done on the wiring. We were to learn later that our positive thoughts regarding the wiring were somewhat optimistic. The plumbing on the other hand was not hard to assess. We had toured the entire mansion by the time we reached the basement. We were aware that this was not an ordinary plumber’s nightmare, but it could be a huge nightmare. I had counted more than 10 bathrooms and 3 kitchens and 2 laundry rooms on our tour. I was sure that I probably missed something. A later count proved I had. We started to point our flashlight to the ceiling of the basement to find to our horror that the house had been replumbed with copper pipe, but someone or perhaps many had cut every piece of copper out of the basement leaving the house with no water connections. Further investigations confirmed that the culprits did a thorough job. The water pumps and the sewer pumps had been stolen. All the water treatment equipment was gone. …. The condition of the plumbing would be a serious consideration when making an offer.
What about the other major mechanical concern – heat?
…..We continued our viewing of the property…..
“Well there you have it,” said our realtor. “What do you think? “WOW!” What sort of response do you give to that question? We hadn’t even seen much of the grounds. We could do that on our own.
Overwhelmed by what we had just seen inside the buildings, the grounds we found almost as exciting. Especially for anyone with an eye for what could be done with a bit of planning and some dollars. What it must have been in its “Glory Days”.
We looked at Donna and Bryan and they just rolled their eyes back and shook their heads. We knew what they were thinking. Anyone taking this on would have to be crazy, stupid or just plain – wait –- hold on – just plain what? Why not? Hard work never stopped us before.
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