Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Who doesn't like getting “lucky?”


Part of the way that Merriam Webster defines “luck” is: “the accidental way things happen without being planned.”

People talk about luck, whether it  is about being “lucky” or about being “unlucky.”  I find the whole notion of luck fascinating from a psychological point of view, because luck can be used to either “excuse” the way things happen, or it can be used to give “meaning” to otherwise unexplainable events.  With things that don't matter this is probably OK, but when we use “luck,” whether it is good luck or bad luck, to explain away predicaments we find ourselves in, it can make us seem less responsible for those predicaments.

For example it is probably not luck that makes us run out of gas.  That has more likely due to poor planning, forgetfulness or not paying attention.

While for all intents and purposes, it seems that luck is what determines who our parents will be, one can make a strong case for the fact that we simply can’t comprehend the forces that got our parents into bed with each other.  The results of which is of course “us.”  This is SO MUCH in the spirit of the way Merriam Webster defines “luck” and yet it more likely has more to do with hormones and alcohol.

Please don’t ask me to explain how this discussion came from what I saw at a recent inspection—but we should all feel lucky about the way the human brain can work.

I routinely stick my camera where I should not  at times.  Sticking it inside laundry chutes is one such place.  I typically am not going to be able to get my head, and my arm, and my flashlight all in there at the same time, so sticking my camera in there, and snapping a couple of pictures, works pretty well. 

“What are you looking for in the laundry chute,” you ask?

I am basically just interested in the general condition of the chase—just like anything else in the home.  Does it have a metal liner, is the liner damaged, does it actually go anywhere, has someone run wiring or plumbing in the chase?  Basically it is a place that I physically can’t get into and I don’t want to be “unlucky” and have someone ask me, after they move in, why I didn’t find the dead cat in the laundry chute.  What laundry chute?  You found a laundry chute?  More questions I don’t want to have to ask!

Back to luck.  I just have a couple of questions to ask. 

Looking down inside the laundry chute

How much luck was involved for the knot, on the end of the draw string on this pair of shorts, to be snared by the small hole in the corner of the metal liner of this laundry chute?

Lucky shorts 

How many times would you have to throw the shorts down the chute to get this to happen on purpose?

This surely has to be as close to the true spirit of luck as one can get.


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle


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16 commentsCharles Buell • July 21 2014 12:21PM
Who doesn't like getting “lucky? ”
Part of the way that Merriam Webster defines “luck” is: “the accidental way things happen without being planned. ” People talk about luck, whether it is about being “lucky” or about being “unlucky. ” I find the whole notion of luck… more
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