Usual, customary and reasonable

Our story so far: We turned on the furnaces, flushed the toilet and requested a number of bids from contractors as we demolished the interior of the old Methodist church we intended to turn into our dream home.

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Nothing is certain but death and taxes, Benjamin Franklin once said. Of course, he lived before homes had indoor plumbing and electrical wiring.

But definitely taxes. They’re certain.

duct work
I can imagine a tongue flickering out of the open maw of this duct-work snake, but fortunately it was inanimate. We crushed it anyway to haul to the scrap heap.

It was another unseasonably warm day in January, and St. Johnny, the hired man, had just filled the back of the beat-up pickup with most of the basement ductwork. The HVAC guys had declared every bit of it was incorrectly positioned for the new layout and it would all have to be replaced (the Tequila Budget would take a big hit as we had not planned for that), so Tyler and I were headed to the scrap metal recyclers for a second time.

Just as we were about to pull away from the curb, the tax assessor showed up.

I felt a little sorry for him because as he introduced himself, he looked a bit skittish, as if he wasn’t always greeted warmly by homeowners. But for us, his timing was perfect since the church looked a fright near the end of demolition.

Some of our friends joked we should just continue to offer Sunday services in order to avoid paying property taxes—Tyler had a gift for gab and who minds sharing a bottle of wine with friends? Heck, we still had the collection plates. But, alas, that’s not how it works.

We ended up in the assessor’s queue to be paid a visit because the church had changed hands into private ownership and we had pulled a building permit. He explained our property would be valued at its sale price (a good thing for us) and its condition at the first of the year (as it was uninhabitable, that was also good for us, at least for the time being).

We invited him inside (I gathered from his response that this wasn’t what usually happened) but unlike our other visitors, we didn’t give him the dreams-and-quartz-countertops tour.

After he took a few exterior measurements, he was on his way. And so were we. Another day, another trip to the scrap yard.

One might think mail service is as inevitable as taxes, but no. At least not for a residence that formerly was a church. I don’t know how the Methodists received mail, but there was no mailbox. I stopped in at the post office no less than four times in eight weeks but I still had no answer about whether we would have a mailbox on the street or at the post office. Neither snow nor rain no heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, but I guess the volume of Christmas deliveries delays answers about mailbox location.

If I couldn’t get an answer during Phase One: Demo, Maybe I’d get an answer during Phase Two: Utilities.

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Tomorrow: I discover a black hole in our building plans. Read about it here.

2 thoughts on “Usual, customary and reasonable

  1. I don’t know why the Post Office couldn’t tell you that we always rented a box there! There has never been a receptacle on Booth Street. In fact home delivered mail (within the village limits) was relatively scarce. As a kid the only mailboxes I remember in town were a large grouping on Franklin Street.


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