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home freebies the odd things we inherit -- for better or for worse -- when we move into a new home
by Katy Balcer
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continued from page 2

Another co-worker of mine found one of her basement walls plastered with stickers of various erasí political candidatesÖ about as many as one might expect to find at the Republican National Convention. As she considers herself a strong liberal voter, the display will likely serve as, at most, a laughable conversation piece.

Then there are the discoveries that make you wonder if the previous inhabitants may have been trying to play a joke on the poor unsuspecting new homeowners. Alone in her empty new house, one of my cousins got the scare of her life when she noticed a figure standing alone in the dark in her basement. The previous owners had left behind a cardboard cutout of Humphrey Bogart. Bogey remained in the house when my cousin and her husband moved to their next home, but they did warn the new occupants of his presence before their move-in date.

In a similar vein, my friendís sister-in law felt her heart stop for a moment when, upon reaching up to check out some high shelves in her new home, she felt her fingertips brushed across a pile of disturbingly animal-shaped objects. Dead mice? No, just rubber lizards.

My own favorite inherited tidbit is an item fastened to a wall in my basement: a somewhat-rusted bottle-opener which reads, "7-Up--It Likes You." Great, stuff, huh? This doesnít even ring any bells as a slogan during my lifetime (granted, Iím only 26, but a lifetimeís a lifetime). The very nature of its utility suggests its age. Thereís also a Coca-Cola one in the garage. Canít say I use either one of Ďem, since I keep both my bottles and my portable bottle openers upstairs in my kitchen, but Iím still glad theyíre there. Not only do they remind me of the uniqueness and humanity of my home, but itís the odd bits that provide the most amusing and entertaining parts of the new house tour. Always.

You buy a house, you roll the dice. Every once in a while, they land cockeyed, and you laugh.


Katy Balcer sometimes finds it hard to think outside the box, 'cause she works in a cube. She's an editor, writer and resident of Ferndale, MI.

check out these related articles: 
confessions of a first-time homeowner | home alone | a room of my own |
 life in the "frathouse" 

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