Telling My Stories

A life lived outside

How I Expect to Save the World- Part 2

Posted by catkisser on December 1, 2010

So suddenly I found myself unable to pursue a career in nursing, disabled physically and unsure of my future other than it probably lay in New York rather than Ohio.  I was disabled in July of 2001, immediately after September 11’th I was able to drive to New York (driving was difficult but not impossible) and stayed with Marina and Laura on the Mountaintop.  This trip was to find “the” place to set up our dream.  The physical requirements of starting a trailer park and building a community building from scratch now pretty much out of the question for me, we expanded the search to existing properties.  We saw a listing for an entire complex in Palenville then owned by the 12 Tribes group and on a lark and basically as a break from the search, Marina and I went to look at it.  Directly across the street was an old Inn with a for sale sign on it.  Paint peeling, porch roof sagging at odd angles and the grounds completely grown over.  It called to me.  I hobbled over and went up on the porch and had the immediate sensation I just had come home.  I could feel the spirits of the place welcoming me.  But this was impossible!  There were three acres, the huge Inn and a smaller caretaker’s house in the back.  Marina didn’t want me to even call the real estate agent but I did.

The real estate agent didn’t want to bother to show the place either.  According to her, the owners did not really want to sell and had turned down multiple offers.  The price was 100 thousand, much much cheaper than I expected but much much more than we were looking to spend.  But it was perfect for the dream!  I had a flash and “saw” the third floor before we entered the first time and told Marina and Laura that it would look really bad with the plaster all falling down and peeling wallpaper on that plaster still up.  I told them not to pay that any mind, what we needed to know is how solid the house was, everything else could be fixed.  Having worked the bulk of my life in the construction trades, already having restored one hundred year old farmhouse and having helped friends restore Victorian houses in Columbus, I knew what to look for.  What I found surprised me.  Yes, the third floor roof had leaked and the entire third floor was as I had seen it in my mind’s eye but the floors were straight and level except where a prior porch had been converted to living space.  They did not creak at all.  Neither did the stairs.  I inspected the basement where I could see the rafters.  They were solid hickory, hard as a rock, totally free of any signs of rot and the second and first floors were messy but most of the walls covered with paneling and only needing paint.  All the doors hung true.  There were antique beds in all the bedrooms.  And it lacked central heating.  This was actually important as it made the place basically unable to be bank financed which meant the buyer would have to carry a mortgage.  This was how I had bought the hundred year old farmhouse in Ohio my family lived in after I restored it.

I went back to Ohio but stayed in touch with the real estate agent via email.  She told me that the seller would require we write up something about how we wanted to use the property and our plans for the Inn in particular.  It seemed a strange request but I did so.  I wrote that we wished to restore the Inn to as close to original as we could and use it as a womens housing collective, I left out references to transsexuals.  To my surprise, I quickly got an email back from the agent telling me the owner was interested in selling to us and how surprised she was at that.  Eventually we settled on 25 thousand down and the rest financed by Olindo, the seller.  Marina arranged a lawyer for our end out of Albany and the four of us set about raising our individual shares of the down payment.  I put up my trailer for sale and had a buyer by December.  Christmas of 2001 Marina and Laura came out to Ohio to help me move and by the first of January I was in the Catskills in their apartment on the Mountaintop because we could not take possession of the property until the 15’th.  All my belongings had to be offloaded into the caretakers house when we arrived.

You have to understand exactly how impossible this all was.  Only Katie had the credit to buy anything.  Me, I was disabled with only worker’s compensation for income.  And yet it happened.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: