Saturday, February 4, 2012

John Boy's Home

I met John Boy this week.

 Actually his name is Culpepper but he looks, speaks and acts a bit like John Boy Walton. I met him because he is newly engaged to the daughter of a client.  Last week Grant called and said,

" Fishy! Our Kellen is getting married. We have approved of the young man of her choosing but we are not too thrilled with his home."

" Hi Grant. Nice to hear from you. Congratulations to your precious Kellen. What's wrong with his home?"

" Our Kellen cannot live there! It could be a nice starter home but at the moment it is a disgrace. It smells. It's filthy. It needs just about everything."

" Did I understand you to say you approve of Kellen  bringing into the family a man with a disgraceful, smelly, filthy home but despite these facts  he is a fine choice?

" Yes.  The thing is when he came to Big University to earn his education his sister came too. Their folks bought a smallish house with the plan to enclose the single carport into a suite for Sis, then fill the other 3 bedrooms with Culpepper and his friends. The idea was to let the renters pay for the cost of the house. It has mostly worked well for their family.  But, the house has been a sort of Frat House for  the past seven years, the front yard has been the parking lot to residents and guests so it is a right mess."

" Wait! I am stuck on the idea this family planned to have their daughter be the only girl in a Frat House!"

" No! They would only permit her  to come to BigU if Culpepper  would promise to be her vigilant protector. The idea was she would have her suite on one end of the house and six "fine young men" would be on the other end.  Culpepper would have control of who the other housemates would be and was charged with choosing wisely. "

" So it was these wisely chosen roommates who trashed the house into it's current state?"

" Exactly so. Truthfully any home used to house 7 college students will suffer consequences"

" True.  How many live there now?"

" Culpepper  has been buying this home from his parents since he graduated four years ago. He moved into the Carport Suite and had 6 renters in the other three bedrooms Now he is down to just the one boarder, often the boarders girlfriend and, there is Sterling"

" Sterling?"

" A very large, young, male, entire, Weimaraner  who spluges the walls"
plays with LOGS for toys! 

" What did you say? "

" Well apparently male dogs who are not fixed have output  with movement.  The lower walls of this house are just disgusting. And, they smell.  This has got to be taken care of. Is there some sort of highly washable paint?  We do not want our Kellen to have a decrease in her standards because of her marriage to Culpepper.  The house needs painting, new flooring, replacement windows all the bathrooms and the Kitchen need to be remodeled.

The issue is this; Culpepper is confident and proud.  He and his parents " fixed up the place" when they bought it from retired Professor Methuselah so they are not understanding the need for improvements.  He is a bit touchy or defensive about our wealth.  He declined all our offers for help in revitalizing his home from Frat House to a place you could proudly bring your new bride from a fine family. We did  convince Culpepper at least the Master Suite should be freshened up a bit. He agreed so one weekend he  and  Kellen went forth  like newlyweds on HGTV.  They  purchased some hideous orange and lime green bedding at Bed, Bath and Horrors  then went to Wowe's for paints to match the bedding.  They worked themselves into exhaustion only to produce a dreadful, garish mess of the entire  suite."

" When you say "suite" is that the converted carport  for Sister?"

" Yes. We stopped by with take out as planned on their big  painting weekend. When we arrived Kellen was crying and Culpepper looked deflated. That room was a  right big mess.  I felt so sorry for them!   I offered on the spot to hire a painter and just duplicate the room you designed for Kellen at our lake house.  Culpepper was too tired to resist. We took advantage a bit and gave Kellen  the bedroom furniture too. We were afraid Culpepper would say she could not have it but before  he could dissent  Kellen was hugging us and crying her thank yous."

" Wow Grant, what a wonderful gift."

" Thank you. But when you see this house you will understand it was a decision more selfish than generous.I just would not be able to sleep  thinking of our Kellen living in garrish squalor.  I want to give  a FishyDesigns  consult to these kids as an engagement present. They need a plan to avoid anymore design tragedies. The wedding is in June, this last roommate moves out in May so there will be quite a rush to get things in order for them before Kellen goes to live there. We really need to plan everything now. Their schedules are so different they are rarely off on the same days but could you plan on meeting with them on a Sunday afternoon? "

The appointment was scheduled.

 On the day, Grant was delayed, so I met with Kellen ,Culpepper and Sterling. The house is an ordinary 3/2 brick ranch with an enclosed single carport space and a shed like laundry room off the Kitchen. The original hardwood floors are in serious need of refinishing. Instead Culpepper has decided to put down a floating laminate floor to withstand the effects of Weimaraner toenails and to carpet all bedrooms.   Neither are good decisions. He  would like to change the conventional floor plan to an "open concept" floor plan for more ease of entertaining. Culpepper  is a high school coach and middle school shop teacher. He also works with the youth at his church. It is very important to him  this home  be  "open" to his youth ministry. This calling  is his mission, his purpose and as such all elements of his life are centered on  meeting  or supporting this dedication.  He has structured his life to advance this purpose and has chosen a  mate to support him in this mission above all other things.

 Kellen is a newly graduated nurse.  A smart, capable, cardiac intensive care nurse. She is  22 years young, starry eyed, easy going and generous of nature.  She smiles and laughs at  every syllable Culpepper speaks.


When we were surveying the Kitchen, Culpepper , exerting control, stated precisely why there was no possibility of upgrading the Kitchen. He carefully explained, in school teacher to the daft mode, why no changes to the current layout could be accomplished or would be tolerated. I listened to every single issue he vocalized then mentioned  there were, in fact, numerous options which could be implemented  for reasonable sums and in a relatively brief time which respected all of his key issues but could still net significant improvements.

His response was, "  I have studied this issue and made decisions. I am a shop teacher so I understand these things as a professional. I will not be looking at any options for my Kitchen."

Dear God!

Did I mention the Kitchen has white  melamine cabinetry , laminate countertops and vinyl flooring?
Not to mention it stinks and had Sterling "output" on all the walls and was claustrophobic for one never mind for two? While I was wondering why in the name of logic Kellen wanted to hitch her wagon to this particular future she stepped forward and  in the sweetest  liquid steel  voice ever heard said this,

" Ms. Fishy, please help us. I cannot cook in this Kitchen and,  we have appetites."

Good Night John Boy.
Game Over.


Jenny said...

please say this is part one of many posts about this house/project and couple!

In sooo many ways it reminds me of our house when we first moved in... 23 years ago. How bad was my house? So bad that even in a crazy market where people were bidding up the price, people walked OUT of my house because it was so full of vinyl flooring, carved carpet and the outside was light blue vinyl.

What happens next?

fishy said...

it will be interesting to see if this moves forward. My commitment is to create a "Master Plan" for these young people to implement as budget allows. They may, or may not, do some or all of the plan.

So what was the tipping point for you and Mr. Boxer to choose your house? Clearly it was a fine decision because 23 years later, you are still there. Was it the neighborhood? The challenge? The budget? Surely not the carved carpets or the blue vinyl siding? What is the exterior material now?

Pam said...

I can't wait to hear more of this story! And it reminds me that we never did hear (I don't think) how the story ended with the couple up the road from you! I suppose you could say the kitchen has a certain retro charm.

But, of course, it would be a pet named STERLING that is part of the problem!

Aunty Belle said...

Good luck on this hitchin' stickin'--a cardiac nurse who doan have minimum level sanitary standards stays in a situation with Sterling fouling the walls an' who knows what all else?

moi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
moi said...

If you go forward with your plan, may I suggest you write at the top of your list: GET THAT DAMN DOG NEUTERED!

I'm with Aunty. There's a level of bossy idiocy about this man and starry-eyed ignorance to the woman that is sending up all kinds of red flags to me in the marital bliss department.

fishy said...

He is a handsome, good natured dog who needs some exercise and some discipline. To tell you the truth,
I have wondered about the tendency for folks to name their silver gray animals Sterling. Why not Christofle or Sheffield or even Oneida?

I thought I did a follow up on the folks up the hill. They are fine, Preacherman is taking credit for being a stand up guy. I reckon the 20 year gap doesn't count.

The thing is they belong to one of those evangelical churches where the man has ownership of his wife.

Grant even told me they were worried Kellen would be unable to completely "reliquish" to a husband because of her streak of unbridled "independence". This "faith" gives me the heebie jeebies something awful.


I would like for Kellen to have a lovely home.

Nothing wrong with your instincts.
I suspect you, nor Aunty, nor I are the type to ever "relinguish" all independence and decision making in order to be a "respectful and appropriate" wife.
I actually have a hard, hard time keeping my mouth shut on this subject. I even will admit I find training young couples to this creed is NOT religion but could rightly be called by another name.

To be fair, I know lots of couples who belong to this mega church (they have ten thousand members) and they all swear they are divinely happy since their
"conversions". No one has ever mentioned what the man is to "relinquish".

Grant has said she is worried about Kellen having to turn over her paychecks to Culpepper since Culpepper seems to be a bit "tight". She fears this might challenge Kellen's faith. I of course think the entire scenario challenges sanity.

I have made a suggestion for the upper portion of their deep backyard to be fenced appropriately for a large dog. Sterling just does not get enough exercise, spending hours at a time in a crate. It is a very large crate, handmade by Culpepper but that dog needs to run. He also needs manners and he needs to be neutered if they are not going to give him sufficient exercise.

Anonymous said...

Ohmygoodness! John Boy may be qualified to be a shop teacher, but not qualified to be a homeowner or dog owner. An adult dog hosing down the walls is a real problem!!! All male dogs don't do this. And he is letting it happen? Husband material??? They approve!?

First part of the repaint needs to be the real, knock you out shellac based Kilz - lots of it. It can seal in a lot of sins. Paint ought to be oil based to stand up to that dog. Even that may not. Latex won't for long. And whatever dribbles on the floor is sure to soak in.

I used to be in the biz of home repairs. Did a lot of designer directed paint and wallpaper jobs. Renter damage was a big part of what I did. Throw enough money at it and you can clean up a lot, but pet urine? Eww.

Oh boy, Fishy,I sure hope you can help that young woman out! She really does need help.

Bets on the marriage - I would not wager good money. Maybe that "independent streak" will save her before June...Wow!

Pam said...

Our Sterling may be silver gray but he is named after an english race car driver, stirling moss

Aunty Belle said...

git me a gig at that mega church--I'll preach 'em a sermon they ain't likely to fergit (nope, Aunty doan hold wif' no preacher wimmen, but since their group do, I ain't violatin' their creed)

drives me batty when they take a sliver of the scripture an' build a whole new (unbiblical) gospel.

That "wives be submissive" thang comes wif' a male prerequisite:

"Husbands love yore wives as Christ loved the Church."

Aunty's dictum: a husband slack on the above requirement ain't got no claim on the wife's submissiveness.

Ain't John-Boy read Proverbs 31? The WIFE keeps the purse, buys the field, directs the household.

Buzz Kill said...

You would think a shop teacher would be semi-handy in doing repairs around the house. We toyed with the idea of getting a house for The Boy while he attends college as a way to defray housing costs and as a short-term real estate investment. My biggest concern was that The Boy would be living in it (and that he might change schools). We may revisit this again next year because he's very happy with the school and showing a little more maturity.

And I don't understand people with destructive cats and dogs. It's whay I don't have one.