Seattle Home Inspector's Blog



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Chapter 2,

"In the Attic"

     The buyer and the agent were chatting near the access opening when I popped my head back out of the attic.  I collected my tools and told them about the other opening and that I The Pajama Partyneeded to go back in and check it out.  They seemed more interested in the old trunks and the pulp novel, “Pajama Party.”

     Once back in the attic, I made my way back to the second access panel.  These screws were like new----there were no mangled slots, as if they had never been removed since the day they were installed----certainly they had never been painted.  They were also only about an inch and a half long and came out relatively easily with the right tools----didn’t need vice-grips after all.  

     With the cover out of the way I discovered there was another panel.  This panel slid up into a slot above it and I had to find something to prop it open. 

     A little ledge at the top of the opening under the panel provided a place where my screw driver could precariously support the heavy panel.  I had visions of Marie Antoinette.  Through the opening I could see the yellowed museum label and paper backing of a painting----the picture’s hanger-wire ran vertical in the opening. This must be inside a closet somewhere I thought.  I slid the picture to one side and I was fortunate that this was not one of 20 paintings stacked against the opening.  Just the one----lucky me.  Behind the painting there was a mountain of stuffed animals.  It reminded me of the closet ET hid in to elude discovery.  I was willing to bet that I would stick out like a sore thumb to anyone on the other side of this pile----then again maybe not.  Pushing the pile aside, I thought I heard voices and laughter----must be the buyer and the agent I figured. 

     The smell of pancakes and real maple syrup filled the air. 

     The closet light was on----I would not need my flashlight any longer.  I took my shoes off one at a time and stepped into the pile of stuffed animals as I left the attic behind.  The floor was carpeted.

     The oddest feeling came over me because none of the house so far had been carpeted.  I was entering a giant walk-in closet with louvered doors.  I looked out through the louvers to see two young children, a boy and a girl, lying on the floor playing a board game----Candyland.  Panic stricken, I stood up hard----cracking my skull on a sharp metal shelf support and then collapsed, bleeding, into the pile of stuffed animals.

     When I came to, a woman that I assumed to be the children’s mother was kneeling down beside me and holding an ice-pack on my head.  The children were huddled around her shoulders smiling wide curious smiles.

     “Where am I,” I asked, trying to feel the bump on my head under the cold ice-pack.

     “Next door,” she answered nonchalantly.

     At this point I was beginning to think that I had done something much worse than crack my skull.  I knew damn well there could be no “next door”----at least not directly attached to this house that I was inspecting. 

     Had “curiosity” actually finally killed the cat? 

     I knew that if I asked her the address of where we were, I could get to the bottom of where we actually were and all this “next door” baloney would go away.

     “What address are we at?” I asked her, wincing from the pain in my head.

     “3647 North South Street,” she answered without hesitating.

     While I had hoped for a simple answer to the confusion, this answer only made matters worse.  That was in fact the address of my inspection, so how could it also be her address?  I confessed to her that I didn’t understand how this could be.  She just said that she couldn’t explain it either but that she and her kids had lived there for several years.

     “But I don’t understand where “here” is,” I said trying to muster some sense of composure, when all I really wanted was an aspirin.  I was also grateful that I didn’t have to explain what I was doing in her closet.

     “I am here to inspect the house----and now I am here with you----and for the life of me I can’t figure out how this can possibly be,” I pleaded.

     “We know why you are here.  We have been listening to you through the walls since you got here----we even heard you up on the roof,” she said.

     “Listen lady, I know a lot about houses and I know damn well there simply is not room for this space I am in right now to fit inside the house I started inspecting this morning,” I declared.

     “Well that obviously cannot be so----because here we are,” she said with a sympathetic smile.

      Remembering hearing the laughter of the children I said, “If you have been here all along, why didn’t I hear you or the kids through the walls from the other side?” I was feeling confident again that I might still find a reasonable explanation.

     “Perhaps you were not listening,” she said.

     Ouch.  She certainly knew how to cut to the quick---as she pressed my coveted “powers of observation” button.  I decided to humor her and just go along for the ride for the time being----and see where this adventure would take me.  Sooner or later “curiosity” always kicks in----as reliable as death itself and perhaps why eventually curiosity does kill the cat.

(continued in a bit)



Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector



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Comment balloon 13 commentsCharles Buell • September 14 2010 10:30AM


Edmund Charles, have you been reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?

Posted by Kate Kate almost 10 years ago

Charles - You didn't perhaps encounter Rod Serling in that attic, did you? I suppose I'll have to await the next installment.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru ( almost 10 years ago

Charles S. Lewis?

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) almost 10 years ago

This sounds like pulp fiction to me.  At least I think that's what they call those books.  Hurry and get to the surprise ending. 

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 10 years ago

It's like reading a different story.  Well done, looking forward to part III!

Posted by Jason M. Keith, Equal Housing Lender (Caliber Home Loans) almost 10 years ago

A client and myself found some old porn,very old porn, in an attic. I don't know if it was from the 30s or 40s but you could have shown this on Saturday morning TV. How times have changed, it was so bland there was no Porn to it by today's standards...

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker! (Fathom Realty Washington LLC) almost 10 years ago

I was thinking the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, or Alice in Wonderland. 

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Is the bump on your head playing tricks with your mind?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Mr Charles,

This is all a bunch of bull-pucky.


Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

After a long difficult day in the field, this is what you offer up to us? More mystery and suspense? Well phooey on you Mr. Buell !!!   (Can't wait to read the final installment) !!!   :)

Posted by Jeffrey Jonas- Minnesota Home Inspector (Critical Eye Property Inspections / JRJ Consultants) almost 10 years ago

Kate, not me :)

John,,  beyond time and space----into another dimension?

Alan, I think that puts me in company I don't deserve

Barbara, hang in there another 10 hours or so

Jason, thanks----glad you are following along

Paul, you gotta love old fashioned porn :)

Gene, well I guess it could have that sort of feel to it-----but I promise no drugs involved :)

Jim, well that would be too normal :)

Nutsy well that is a heck of a lot better than squirrel pucky

Jeffrey, you may wish you stayed in the field :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 10 years ago

At this point I would have had to pinch myself to see if I was having one of my Inspection Hell dreams.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) almost 10 years ago

Excellent, and then Aslan came upon the scene and trounced the bad guys?

OK, ready for part three!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago