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She’s a piggy housekeeper


We went over to the home of a widow, the one whose husband recently died of Stage 4 brain cancer. He was our friend; she, not so much. But she’s selling the house and moving (violating the rule of “don’t make major decisions within one year of the death of a spouse”), so she has plants she needed to get rid of.

When we walked in, the place was worse than usual. A decade before our friend died, it was common for there to be stacks of things sitting around, and for bugs to be crawling the counters eating the food that she left out. This time it was worse. Empty mini-liquor bottles were scattered on the floor, dirt and dustballs littered the floors, there were more stacks of stuff than usual, and there was more rotting food on the counters. I thought I had walked into a fraternity house.

She has a middle-aged niece staying with her for a few weeks, so maybe the niece is the one who drinks. I don’t know. But the place was a pigsty. We never remove our shoes in her house, because it’s so dirty already, but this time I wished we had brought wellies. I know the widow is depressed, and she’s trying to move out, but the mess was appalling even by her normally low standards of cleanliness. We quickly went outside to muck around in the dirt in the yard; it was much cleaner out there.

She’s moving into a deed-restricted, covenant-controlled community, where all the houses look the same and all the yards are maintained for you (thanks to enormous monthly Home Owner’s Association fees). But I know that her piggy lifestyle is going to make enemies of her neighbors immediately. She’s already asked for a variance to build a pool cage and keep thousands of orchids out there. When her neighbors see the amount of dirt that will generate, they will start complaining.

I give it perhaps two years before the HOA in her new neighborhood harasses her into moving out of her new home. Then she’ll have to find somewhere else to be piggy.

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