Sunday, May 11, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

As I continue to convalesce after my knee surgery, I have been pondering the amount of time that I must now spend at home. I don’t get to go out anymore except to doctor’s appointments as I still cannot put any weight on my right leg. Going up and down stairs is a royal pain – I have been reduced to travelling the stairs in my house much the same way Linda Blair did in The Exorcist.

Lucky for me, I truly, truly love my house. Purchased only three years ago I've stated from day one that this was the place I was going to be carried from feet first. I can literally spend every waking moment in my house, so the idea of going stir crazy is not even an issue.

Sadly, there are many people who either don’t like their homes as much, or don’t get to enjoy it the way they would like to. The reasons stem from structural damage to the residence, the neighbours they might have, or even the people they live with. I have several recent stories culled from the radio show to highlight these points.

There is a guy in Baldwin, Pennsylvania who probably enjoys his house. Too bad lightning keeps hitting it. This poor guy was sitting at home reading a book when lightning tore through the chimney. Luckily a neighbour came to the rescue and got him out from the subsequent fire. The house was built by the man’s father. When “conductor boy” was a kid, the house was also struck by lightning. Firefighters arrived and were able to put out the flames, but I’m almost certain if they listened closely to the heavens they might have heard God say, “Damn, missed again!”

Sometimes who you live with can cause some trouble on the home front. On the show we have had our share of stories dealing with people who just can’t seem to let go of the items in their houses. Knick knacks they hold onto too long, stacks of old newspapers, hundreds of cats, tacky mementos, even the occasional dead relative.

In Detroit, police said they believe an elderly woman has been living with the corpse of her dead sister on her kitchen floor – possibly for as long as the last three years. On the radio we have had a plethora of stories with dead relatives in the house. They were usually stashed in their rooms, in the cellar, in a freezer, or under the floor boards, but never, ever just lying around on the kitchen floor for about a thousand days!

Investigators said the corpse was partially mummified and portions of the body appeared to have been eaten by a dog and cat living at the residence. Police made a visit to the woman’s home after a neighbour phoned to say she had not seen the deceased woman for a long time.

Let’s stop here for a moment. It’s sad to admit that in my case I probably couldn’t pick my own neighbours out of a line up. I just don’t know them. But if I were to notice my neighbours, I think I would be more aware of the fact that I hadn’t seen one for three years! At what point over a third of a decade do you decide to act on a hunch that someone might be missing?

I’m also guessing that twisted sister didn’t entertain too much. It’s difficult to have the girls over for a game of canasta at the kitchen table when your heel keeps digging into that funky aromatic foot rest on the floor.

Authorities took the old lady to a crisis centre for treatment and said she appeared to be suffering from mental problems. APPEARED TO BE?!?! That’s like telling Noah to expect a light shower! Needless to say, this woman won’t be enjoying her home anymore, and the real estate agent is going to have a hard time explaining the previous owner.

Our last story deals with a homeowner who probably liked his home too. Unfortunately it’s now missing! Yuri Konstantinov is a 50-year-old Russian from the Astrakhan Region. He returned from holiday to find his entire two-storey house had been stolen by a neighbour. The home had been taken down brick by brick and all the contents sold – even the kitchen sink! Just the foundations were left. It seems kind of pointless to go to the trouble of locking your door, only to find that even your door is gone when you return.

According to authorities, the neighbour decided to take it away piece by piece, dismantling it for construction materials. A police spokesman said, "This is not the first such case we have come across, and in remote areas it is considered normal by some people."

Just what kind of place are you living at if it’s considered normal for an entire house to disappear? What kind of neighbours do these people have? Perhaps when I get better and can leave my house again I should pay a little more attention to my neighbours. Just in case my house disappears, I may indeed have to pick one of them out of a line up.

That’s the Stuph – the way I see it.

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