Monday, July 26, 2010

We're going to start charging admission.

So on Saturday we had driven up about a third of the long private drive to our new house when we saw the black pickup truck with a license plate reading "Darlene" blocking the driveway. It had stopped on one of the particularly steep sections. There were two middle aged women and three teenage girls standing around the truck. One woman was on a cell phone beside the driver's door while the others appeared to be holding on to a mattress and bed frame, which were perilously close to sliding out the back of the truck bed. A box frame had already slid out and was lying on the driveway.

My first thought was, "Oh my God, they've broken into our house and are stealing our mattress!" But that didn't make much sense as the truck was headed up the driveway. Clearly they must have stolen the mattress from someone else's house and they were now taking it up to our house. That didn't make much sense either, but neither did the real story behind this scenario.

Steve got out of our Subaru and walked up to the truck. I could see him talking to the women, who were gesturing up to the house. There were some smiles, some head shaking, some sheepish shrugs. They began unloading the mattress and the bed frame, then putting everything back into the truck bed in a way that would minimize anything sliding out the back again. After a few minutes Steve came back down to our vehicle with a rather bewildered smile on his face.

"We've got to start charging admission to our driveway," he said. "They wanted to see the house because they almost bought it."

While this may seem odd, unfortunately it's not an isolated incident. This is not the first time we've had people who "almost bought the house" stop by unannounced and uninvited. We first met Crazy Log Cabin Lady through a letter she sent us, but later this spring she stopped by with her in-laws in tow to walk around our yard. "I wanted to show my relatives where they were going to live!" she chirped. "Oh, there's the playhouse I promised my grandkids!" Crazy Log Cabin Lady didn't seem in the least bit embarrassed, but we could tell that her in-laws were mortified by her behavior and clearly wanted to leave as soon as they could.

Steve grabbed some tie-down straps from the back of the Subaru and secured the mattress, box spring, and bed frame to the pick up. I watched in disbelief as the whole gaggle of visitors trooped up to the top of the driveway while my husband did this work for them. Steve then walked up towards our house. One of the women came back, hopped into the truck, and slowly drove it up the rest of the driveway in fits and starts....there was a lot of black smoke from the back wheels, suggesting that the truck was finding the driveway a little difficult with that load in the back.

I got into the driver's seat of the Subaru and drove up to the house, where to my disbelief there was *another* strange car parked in front of our driveway. How many people had come to our house? Exactly why were they there? And why would they think it was okay to come over to someone else's house uninvited just because they had wanted to buy it?

One woman and the girls were standing around the car, talking to each other, while the other was still talking on her cell phone agitatedly. I got out of our car and walked past them without saying a word as I wasn't altogether certain exactly what I would say to them once I got started. I could hear the woman on the cell phone say something about "....but I'm okay and everyone else is okay, I'm really shook up but I'm okay." A few minutes later the women got into the pickup and the car and drove off with the girls. Steve came inside and told me the rest of the story.

Apparently the woman driving the pickup had invited the woman in the car to come up to see our house, which the woman in the truck had wanted to buy but her offer was rejected. The woman in the car drove up to the house and saw my car parked out front, but not her friend's truck. The woman in the car turned around and headed back down the driveway when she saw her friend driving the pickup truck up our driveway. The woman in the truck was having trouble making it up the hill and the bed frame and mattress set, which they had bought at a yard sale, was starting to slip out the back because they had only a short piece of twine to tie it down in the first place. The woman in the truck wasn't able to back down the driveway without 1) running over the box frame lying in our driveway and 2) risk having the mattress and the rest of the bed frame sliding out and then running over it, too. So the woman in the car put her car in reverse, popped the clutch, and immediately backed smack into a dead tree stump beside our driveway. As you might imagine, the rear tail light and back quarter panel didn't fare too well upon meeting the tree stump, but at least the stump kept her from pitching backwards down the very steep slope into the ravine on that side.

Our house seems to attract its fair share of nut jobs "who almost bought the place." I can understand driving by a house on a street to see what the new owners might have done to it, or if it might still be available, but that's entirely different than driving up a long private driveway to gawk at what might have been. I'm a firm believer in letting things go. It doesn't pay to dwell on things that didn't work out, as sooner or later you're bound to hit a tree stump.

And Darlene, if you come back again I'm going to introduce you to Crazy Log Cabin Lady. I think you two will get along just splendidly.


e said...

You guys thinking of building a big gate? Or putting up a trespassers will be shot sign?

Tree Dellinger said...

Oh, I don't know if a no trespassing sign would really work. Most of the driveways seem to have them and I'm not convinced people really pay much attention. I suspect people really put up the signs for legal purposes. "Yes, your honor, I did shoot the guy in front of my house but the property is clearly marked 'No Trespassing'."

I like my friend's suggestion of putting up a sign that reads, "The house has sold. It's time to let it go." Or maybe one that says, "Beware of stump."

mindy.brinson said...

Wow, I thought it was just us... not the sneaking onto your property part, but the getting "sneaked up on". And no, "No trespassing" signs do not work, and all of ours were actually torn down a few times. The only thing that seemed to work was letting the gravel drive get so bad that you needed to be a Rally Driver to get to the house without losing an axle. Now that we have fixed it again, I expect to see the interlopers return... sigh.