as if things weren’t bad enough for owners of the big house on the urban prairie, i got a phone call from roy jr. saying things were not going well. quick review, roy sr. is suffering from dementia, roy sr.’s house has just burned down, roy sr did not have homeowners insurance, roy sr.’s son aka roy jr.’s brother who was suffering from schizophrenia died in the fire, and was very likely to have to have set the fire. roy jr. had just finished sinking 17,000 dollars in to the place to get it ready to rent, and as of now it’s pretty much a mold infested, smoke damaged, burnt out shell of a house. pretty much worthless. oh, and roy sr. lost his dentures in the fire too, so those have to be replaced.
so when roy said he was not doing well i was a little worried, since this is from a man who has remained upbeat even in the face of all this tragedy, even going so far as to discuss the merits of his custom van he used to have. the airbrushed pictures of the rocky mountains on the side, the moon roof, the plush interior, and most importantly the built in bong. he described winter rides with 16 people in the back cruising around, with an ounce of weed stuffed in that bong.
one of my friends that had come by to look at the house i think had really drive home the point that the mold in the basement was a big problem. this particular friend has no filter on his mouth, and walked around saying things like ” fuck, man, are you trying to sell this fuckin shit?” ” shit, you couldn’t even give it away” “this fuckin’ mold is gonna take 10 fuckin years off yr life”. roy would race behind him trying to deny that it was a real problem, but in that sort of disbelieving tone where you don’t want to believe but you know that what the person is saying has great potential to be true . this same scenario was played out as he and roy looked at each part of the house, “shit, man, this fuckin electrical fucked all ta hell” “what the fuck, that fucking boiler, is fucked” “your ought to pay somebody to take this piece of shit off yr hands” but it was the mold that was really focused on. roy took it to heart that something had to be done.
the next day he went to the house, broke out the basement windows (all the windows in the house had been painted shut by roy sr.) and drilled holes in the plywood that was covering them. he had finished most of them and was working on the next to last one when it happened. he threw out his back, in a bad way. roy jr. said he blacked out, had hallucinations, and experienced the most excruciating pain of his life, and i’m pretty certain that roy jr. is no stranger to pain. he went to the hospital where they ran CAT scans and took x-rays and all that stuff, and sent him home with pain medication that made him feel terribly nauseous.
i felt terrible about it, and yet there was nothing that i could do, and i felt terrible that he had been doing this work essentially on my behalf. i felt even worse having been advised that if i wanted the house i shouldn’t really offer anything, and that i might still be doing him a favor by taking it off his hands. that i was looking at having to sink in 25,000 dollars just to make it in livable condition.