Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday's House Hunt

I'm sitting here in my lovely hotel room with the sliding glass door open listening to the sounds of city traffic, honking, crosswalks beeping, and boisterous voices while I try to air out the disgusting smell of perfume that smacked me in the face when I walked into the room.  But it doesn't smell any worse than some of the short sale homes I looked at today.  My olfactory sense hasn't been this severely challenged in a long time.

The day was pretty much a disaster.  The real estate agent and I had a good laugh over all of our mishaps and my kids relished it as one of our more amusing family adventures.  First there was the challenge of trying to meet up with the real estate agent.  She told me to turn right off the freeway and turn right again into a shopping center... only I couldn't find a shopping center, so I called her.  She thought I had taken the wrong freeway and ended up on the right road, but in the wrong city.  She told me to drive until I could find a cross street, and then she would come and find me.  I drove until I found a shopping center, and I pulled in there, then let her know where I was.  We squabbled over our locations some more and then all of the sudden it hit me that she was parked just about 50 feet away from me.  Ha ha.  It turned out that she thought I'd be coming from the opposite direction, and had I turned left instead of right, I would have found her.

We were going to look at 3 homes, and she gave me the news that one homeowner said we couldn't come because he was busy tearing down a barn that he built illegally and another homeowner wouldn't let us come because he was out of town.  So that left us with one house to tour.  But first she wanted to do a drive-by of the house where the owner was out of town.  There were two burly men in the backyard.  We were trying to get an idea of how big the horse area was while the real estate agent called to get directions to the next house.  The two men jumped in a truck and drove up to us and asked if they could help us in a threatening tone.  The R.E.A. said, "No, I was just lost and called for directions.  I know where I'm going now."

She started to turn around, but stopped to punch the address into her GPS, which was on a new phone that she was just learning how to operate.  The GPS on her truck went out after she got the truck professionally cleaned and they sprayed something onto the console.  Anyway, we gathered that these men in the truck were renters who lived in the house and did not want buyers coming by.  They drove really slowly and did not want to leave until they saw us leave.  So, the R.E.A. started driving slowly, but then stopped again to finish programming her GPS.  The men in the truck got so paranoid about us still hovering around their house that they pulled into a parking lot to watch us.

I told her to just drive and I'd help her find the next home the old fashioned way, and only when we passed the men in the truck did they pull out of the parking lot and head for their destination.  It was pretty funny.  The house looked nice, but I couldn't see enough of the land to know much about it, and the neighborhood was very much like the one I live in now.  Kind of trashy.

The next house doubled as a business and a house.  I knew the owner was home and just hiding from us, because I kept hearing her sneezing and slamming doors.  She told us she wouldn't be home.  The first thing I saw when walking in the house was a saddle!  She makes and sells some really awesome cowgirl apparel, so I was bummed that she wouldn't come out of hiding, because I would have bought a few items from her.

Her pasture was incredibly large with nothing but land for as far as the eye can see.

She had a decent shade setup with corrals, but I would have preferred that the shade be in the pasture.

There was also a smaller pasture out front.  This is the back of the house.

The home had a lot of nice features like window seats, walk-in closets, large spa tub, a loft, and a generous kitchen with a pantry, but the house reeked of I don't know what.  It was just hot and musty.  I didn't feel comfortable in there.

The R.E.A. asked permission for us to see the house where they were tearing down the barn since I had come in from out of town and couldn't come back another time.  We started in the back, and I jumped for joy when I saw that not only was this property capable of housing a hundred horses, but it had a horse racetrack around the outside of it!

My kids petting some thoroughbreds...

An irrigation system...

Oh oh, somebody tipped over their water trough...

There was a major junkyard next door, but we couldn't see it because the property was lined with thick trees that had branches all the way down to the ground...

My son found a great place for a fort in the trees...

By the way he was yawning, I think he could have fallen asleep in there.  We also found a cute little foal...

I had to keep reminding myself that I was there to look at the property, not the horses, but both the R.E.A. and I were appalled over the condition of the horses.  They all hadn't had hoof trims in months and maybe years.  Some had ribs sticking out.  One was on its death bed.  Then we found an office on the property that belonged to a vet and found out from the owner that all these horses belonged to the vet, who bred thoroughbreds for racing.  The "good" horses were kept on another property, and these were all the sick horses.  No kidding.  I was trying not to be judgmental, but now I totally understand why Mikey is always rescuing animals around these parts.

I was happy to find that this house had a backyard with a brick wall for dogs, and an entrance from the backyard to the barn.

Unfortunately, even with the racetrack, brick wall, privacy trees, and tons of land, there is no way I could live here.  The house is right on a main road and the sound of the traffic came right through the windows worse than I have it in my own home.  Also, it too had a rank smell.  There was dog poop and dog vomit on the carpet, so I'm sure that had a lot of do with it.  The owner apologized and explained that her dog is very old and on his way out. 

After viewing those two homes, I realized that other people have just as much trouble as I do trying to maintain their homes.  Scrubbing dog vomit out of the carpet isn't an ordeal reserved just for me, but probably every dog owner in the world has to deal with it in one way or another.  I think that had the house not been on such a noisy road, I would have considered just ripping out all the carpet and sanitizing the place just so I could have that racetrack.

Ahhh, the theme of the day continues.  I just heard a little kid outside my hotel room door yell, "Daddy!  Stop farting!" 

Geez.  My nose is going to need a vacation after this experience.


Crystal said...

Sure looks like a nice property too bad the house is so close to the road. Hope you get a chance to look at the other properties there before you head home.

Vaquerogirl said...

Wow! You would think in this market that people would take a little more care in the sale of their properties! Of course, smell is transitory- and I'd take it if I could get even half of these amenities in my neck of the woods! Around here a property like any of those would be upwards of $700K, some even a Million or more.
Sigh** a racetrack- cool!

lytha said...

oh this is so exciting! i loved both of these places simply due to the amount of open land and i couldn't see neighbors' homes in any picture! it's so odd that in that part of the world you just need a shade shelter for horses. and i bet you have to feed hay all year long unless you plant pastures. i was so excited when i saw that walled backyard for your dogs after what you're going through (and how much you wanted a wall, i want a wall too!).

oh well. it reminded me of my trip across germany a few weeks ago, i was promised 10 horses and there was only 1 in the end.

why do people have carpets with pets? maybe the houses stink because it's too hot outside to open the windows? germans are obsessive about "airing" their homes every morning, even deep in winter. but then there is no overheating issue.

i long for the day when you have a fenced, safe area for your dogs, and enough land that it doesn't matter what your neighbors are doing, they're so far away from you.

Laura said...

Sorry to hear that you didn't find anything good yet! It is so hard to find a place that feels right. I was thinking that first place looked ok - too bad about it being hot and musty - is that something that could be fixed by changing carpets and having the house professionally cleaned or something? Getting a better a/c unit?

I have my fingers crossed that something will come up for you that will work out!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Looks like it might take a little time to find exactly what you're looking for. Too bad the houses stank the properties looked really nice. Like the race track. Such a shame about the condition of the horses, and from a vet's place too. He should be ashamed of himself.Good luck and next time bring a gas mask!

Wazzoo said...

Carpet with pets isn't bad. The person just has to actually take care of their pets and their home. Amazing how many people don't.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I guess I didn't tell the whole story about the first house. It was custom built in a very non-functional manner with a narrow staircase with lots of angles. Both houses were that way. Moving furniture upstairs would have been impossible without taking everything apart and putting it back together again. We'd be limited to using modular furniture.

Also, these people had let their pasture go and turned to motor sports, because their shed was filled with motorcycles, go carts, ATVs and whatnot. I would have had to laser level the entire pasture to even ride in it safely, and there were no riding spaces close by.

The R.E.A. is saving the best houses for last. We're looking at more Saturday and Sunday.

Mikey said...

Wishing you good luck in your search. Love seeing what's out there for sale. These places look good, but amazing that they would show a house with dog vomit!! Good heavens. And yep, now you see why I'm always rescuing something (and I try to stay home so I don't see that stuff as often). It's appalling the things you see down here. Wait till you see the horses with no shade year after year and watch them standing miserably in the hot sun when it's 116 out. Makes me want to punch people in the face.
Even vet's horses. That's so sad. You know, we bend over backwards to provide the best care for our animals and it burns me that other people don't.
I guess it is weird that we don't have "barns" down here, just shade, but it really is all you need. Blanket if the weather gets bad, but otherwise your traditional barn is a great place for rattlesnakes to hide here. That's why I never put one up, I live in fear of having a snake get in a stall and the horse not be able to get out. I do my "patrols" anyway, if I had a barn I'd have to live in it to ease my mind.
We're off to Gold Rush Days in Wickenburg. Rodeo and carnival. Can't wait to see more of what you're looking at.

Once Upon an Equine said...

I'm excited for you, that you are looking at properties. It may take awhile to find the right one, but you are on your way to getting out of that weird neighborhood of yours.

Ah yes, dog vomit on the carpet. I'm very familiar with that too. But it shouldn't smell bad if the homeowner cleaned it up properly. Maybe they let it set too long. That's a shame.

Sounds like you are having an adventure. Happy House Hunting.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

roflmbo!! I love that you're always able to find the humor in everything.

That race track was way cool! Can you imagine how fun that would be to exercise your horses? Add some trail obstacles along the track and you'd be able to enjoy some fun trail rides when you're not able to trailer out.
And you're right carpet can be yanked out and a professional can remove all those weird odors, just like they do after a house fire.
I wouldn't worry about the noise from the's too damn hot in Arizona to keep your windows open most of the year anyway!


Cut-N-Jump said...

OMG! I think I know which house, which vet you are talking about. How funny is that?

achieve1dream said...

Cute foal!

That's too bad about the traffic because that second place looked nice!!! Carpet can totally be ripped out. In fact since I have dogs I refuse to ever have carpet again lol.

Sorry it didn't go as well as you'd hoped.