MOVarazzi

Monday, February 4, 2013

900. How Trespassing, Going to Parties, and Accosting Strangers Finally Paid Off

I am really good at trespassing.  If trespassing were a language, I would be a native speaker.  If trespassing were a sport, I would turn pro.  If trespassing were a “Help Wanted” sign, I would totally get the job.  And be promoted.  And get a raise.

Yeah, I am that good. 
It’s not like I trespass accidentally.  Oh, no.  It is very intentional.  I trespass when I see new houses being built.  I lift up the yellow “No Trespassing” tape like it’s a dare.  I brazenly walk in where no woman without construction boots and a tattoo has walked before.  And then I ask the workers if I can have a “quick look around” and they always say yes.  It helps to smile a lot, like you won the jackpot of their niceness.  And it helps to pretend you don’t understand Spanish when they say they are calling the police. 

I walk around the new house and study the floorplan.  I get a little drunk on sawdust fumes.  I marvel that they put the fireplace over there, blocking the view.  Sometimes I take notes. 
Today was different.  I semi-knocked on the door (because, come on, I was actually already opening it … it was only a fake courtesy knock) and lo and behold: 

The owner. 
“Can I help you?” he said sweetly. 

“Yes!” I said, pretending not to be surprised (why the hell was the owner at home in his own house when there were important things missing—things like windows and electricity and floors?).  “My name is MOV, and I live close by.  I would love a tour of your beautiful house!” 
I have to admit that it was a reach to call it a “beautiful house.”  It was more like a “beautiful stack of 2 by 4's.” 

“Sure!” he gushed.  “I am the owner AND the architect and I would love to give you a tour!”
Twenty minutes later, he was giving me his business card.  “MOV, my wife and I will be done with this project in April, so if you are planning any work on your house, give me a call!” 

As I drove home, I flashed back to that neighborhood party we went to at Christmas time.  A charming man I had never met started telling me and The Husband all about his latest project:  a gorgeous house on our very street.  He was an architect.  We got his card. 
Several months before that when I was coordinating our PTA’s local home tour, I hopped out of my car and knocked on a stranger’s door because her house (from the outside) seemed a perfect candidate for our tour.  Guess what?  Not only was she the owner, but she was the architect and her husband was the builder. 

Bingo. 
Just now I walk in my house, up to the study, and I sit down at my desk.  I fan out three business cards of architects whose work I love. 

And (coincidentally?) The Husband and I are currently discussing adding on a family room and new master bedroom to the back of our house. 
Most people might use Google to find a good local architect.  Trespassing, going to parties, and accosting strangers in their own home seems to work for me. 

MOV

24 comments:

  1. I do the same thing, only with realtors. They give me the low-down on fixer-uppers...the 5th of which we just purchased. Clearly we are clinically insane.

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    1. ahhhhhh, connections. I need those.

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  2. I am a Realtor and I used to be in the new homes division. There are many "absolutes" in the world but you point out one of them in this post.... "praising a builder or an architect makes them weak in the knees and they respond like a puppy just given a new bone.

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    1. don't we all like to be praised? (chocolate gifts are a close second though)

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  3. This just reminded me... I have a reeeaally good trespassing story! (I mean, doesn't everyone? NO? Just us? Oh.) That might have to be my next blog post. Unfortunately, mine involved more screaming and running away, and less savvy social networking. You definitely have supernatural trespassing skills.

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    1. I so wanna read your trespassing story, Haley! I'll bet it is funnier than mine.

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  4. Love it! I would never be so "brazen" as to trespass like this, but it sounds like a very doable thing to do, especially if one is looking for a bit of remodeling :)

    betty

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    1. betty, the key is to act like you belong. No one has ever questioned me.

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  5. Movers Out Vandalizing, you are brazen. You can write a whole book about this.

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  6. Brilliant! While I don't need an architect or builder, I'll have to ponder this strategy for other services we may need, like a plumber...

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    1. ooooooooh, good strategy. I like it.

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  7. I LOVEEEEEEE wandering around new construction. When I was a kid they didn't have all that DANGER DANGER tape up, we just played in the new construction.

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  8. Honestly, I'd rather meet people face to face than find them over the internet, especially if it was for some massive undertaking like remodeling. That way you see their work, their abilities and ascetic. I think I need to start trespassing. I wonder if the folks next door with the chickens would mind very much if I came over to take a gander at their hen house.

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    1. just take the chickens a gift. chocolate always works. or birdseed.

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  9. You go when there's someone there? We go after they leave for the day or on the weekend. It's so much fun to walk through and try to figure out which room is which.

    When we were kids our parents sometimes took us through old abandoned houses out in the country. Kind of scary as the floorboards didn't look so sturdy. We'd find interesting things, like very old newspapers inside the walls. Never found gold or anything valuable, though.

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    1. ah, the secret is out: go on a Sunday while everyone is still sleeping.

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  10. That's totally how to do it! We designed and built our house (I know, ANOTHER architect), and we certainly had people "pop over" for a tour while we were under construction:)

    Jessica

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    1. Love it! cannot wait to start my project, hopefully by summer. :)

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  11. I just learned that if the house has already completed construction and the residents are all moved in the police look at it more as breaking and entering than trespassing. FYI.

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    1. Oh, I so wish you had not told me that. It is kind of a game changer.

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  12. That is the coolest story ever! Mainly because as I was reading it, it just sounded more like my sister or a friend picking up the phone to call me and tell me about the cool thing that just happened. It was that kind of a post. - If that makes sense. - Anyway. I loved it. :)

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    1. thanks, MiMi! that is what I strive for, so your sweet comment made my day. :)

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