A bed and barkfest

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Idiocy as regards real estate abounds in the O’Grady genes.

My paternal granda abandoned first County Clare in Ireland, then Canada, for Bogalusa, Louisiana, and later Perry, Florida. One of his sons, my father, bought land outside Ash Fork, Arizona, based on an ad in TV Guide. If you want to see what the End Days will look like, I’ll give you directions.

Herself and I have purchased property outside Weirdcliffe, Colorado, a town with no stop lights, more cows than people, and more rattlesnakes than cows. And we have owned no fewer than three houses right here in Bibleburg.

I’d say that last pretty much proves my thesis.

Which brings me to the House Back East, otherwise known as the Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Crooked House.®

It was the home of our beloved next-door neighbors Marv’ and Judy, with whom we shared a common driveway, garage, political philosophy, sense of humor, the occasional meal and not nearly enough time. When Marv’ died, and Judy decided it was time to move back to Chicago to be with family, we agreed that rather than share a driveway and a garage with strangers who might not appreciate our politics, humor and cookery, we should buy her house. And so we did.

It seemed smarter than playing the market. We made a bundle when we sold the Weirdcliffe place with its 43 mountain acres, and immediately sank it into the market, which promptly transformed said bundle into a flaming bag of fiscal poop on our retirement porch, from which we had hoped to tell generations of snotnoses yet unborn to get the fuck off our lawn.

So, yeah. With the market still tottering about like a drunken O’Grady from County Clare, we thought more property would be the ticket. But what to do with it?

Rent it long-term? No, thanks. Mom and Dad tried that on a small scale and quickly grew weary of tenants skipping on overdue bills, setting kitchens ablaze and generally acting the fool, which they could get a-plenty from their eldest child in their own home.

Turn it into office space for Your Humble Narrator? That would be swell if I earned enough to justify more space than it takes to make shit up for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, or review bicycles for Adventure Cyclist, a task that occurs mostly on the open road.

Aha! How about short-term rental? We’ve enjoyed renting vacation houses in California and Hawaii, and for reasons that elude me at the moment there may very well be people who wish to visit scenic oligarchical Bibleburg, if only to tell friends and family, “It was every bit as bad as you’ve heard.”

Well, to be fair, there are worse places than Bibleburg, and I have lived in most of them. The Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Crooked House® is minutes from Monument Valley Park, your jumping-off point for cyclo-cross-bike-friendly, off-road bike rides to Fountain on the south end, Greenland on the north end, and any number of places to the west that are not presently on fire.

Palmer Park, 730 acres of pure joy enclosing some 30 miles of trails, is about a 10-minute ride from here.

Group road rides leave at 10 a.m. weekends from Acacia Park downtown, a short leg-stretching spin away. Saturday’s ride is strictly for the insane, but Sunday’s goes to the U.S. Air Force Academy, which has the best roads in the Pikes Peak region. All  of them are uphill in both directions.

Dogtooth Coffee, the official java supplier to Mad Dog Media, is but a block to the south. Patty Jewett Golf Course is a chip shot to the east. Grog, groceries and other goodies are likewise within easy reach just a few moments north at the Bon Shopping Center, home to the fabled Safeway of the Living Dead. Organic vittles may be found a short drive west at Mountain Mama Natural Foods. And as it happens, the best liquor store in town is on the way there — Coaltrain Wine & Spirits.

The house itself, you ask? It’s tiny, like ours, under 1,200 square feet, with hardwood floors. One bathroom and two bedrooms, only one of which has a bed at present, a queen size. The second bedroom is part office at the moment and will eventually get a full-size bed. Soon there will be a love seat in the living room that folds out to a single bed. The largely unfinished basement hosts the furnace, washer and dryer.

The small kitchen has a gas range/stove combo, refrigerator, sink and no dishwasher. It adjoins the living room, which at present has a four-seater table, a giant ugly-ass hutch of dubious lineage, a minimalist Sony stereo and a rocker with footstool. Expect a few comfy chairs, a table, and perhaps an TV/DVD-player combo to be added directly, along with an Airport Express extension to the DogNet across the driveway. Oh, yeah, and there is a lockable shed for bikes in the fenced back yard. Pets are welcome.

We haven’t settled on a daily rental charge, but it will be reasonable and include free wireless Innertubes. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to either Care & Share, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region or Bike Clinic Too.

The biggest downside is that there are crazy people next door, but since you’re visiting this website you’re hardly in a position to be judgmental about that sort of thing.

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35 Responses to “A bed and barkfest”

  1. Andy Bohlmann Says:

    I know, rent to downhillers!

  2. bromasi Says:

    What! no elevator for your cars.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    Ok, what’s the going rate?

  4. Timmy Mac Says:

    Goddammit, you’ve achieved the impossible and made me nostalgic for Colorado Springs.

  5. Andy Bohlmann Says:

    Rent it to Lance after he pays his new lawyer bills.

  6. Debby in Crestone Says:

    Sounds like fun. Maybe I can stay with you guys some time. I have fond memories of those Acacia Park rides. Glad to hear they’re still going on.

    +1 to the nostalgic comment above!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Debby, whenever you feel like heading this way, give us a holler. Some friends are going to test-drive the place next weekend and we’ll make adjustments based on what they have to say.

      One other plus: I have plenty of tools in the garage, so any bikey types can travel light if they’re staying next door. Even better, John Crandall of Old Town Bike Shop is a neighbor, and actually knows how to use the tools.

      • Steve O Says:

        Oops. Just saw this. Already booked. Cool.

        Long story … But readers digest version … Hope’s half-brothers live down in Trinidad, but hit the Springs for Promise Keeper or Focus on Everyone Else’s Family events. Right now, we’re trying to play nice, for Hope’s sake. Even if each encounter requires hitting the brain eraser afterwords.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Steve, not to worry. You ever need a bolt hole in Bibleburg we’ve got you covered.

      • khal spencer Says:

        We just have to make sure Patrick checks the place for radioactivity when we leave…

  7. brokenlinkjournalism Says:

    Sounds like an interesting place to stay. I might have to take you up on this O’G as you do make all of the rides there sound interesting. And well worth a visit, even if the neighbors sound iffy.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Monsieur Darlow, we’d be honored. Pick a time when it ain’t high-90s. I rode the mountain bike in Palmer Park today and felt like an old rooster on a rotisserie.

  8. Derek Says:

    Living here myself and seeing how wonderful it can look through your tinted lenses, I think maybe you should look into writing for some of those travel rags.

  9. Steve O Says:

    How soon ya taking guests? We might be down your way last weekend in June.

  10. Boz Says:

    What a great way to keep rabble out of the neighborhood. I’ll be lucky to have a neighborhood, what with the city washing into Lake Superior today. 8+ inches of rain and more coming. Roads gone, homes and business’ under water, an incredible mess. Guess I should have built an ark instead of a deck. A white water raft would be fun right now, just jump in at the curb and head down hill toward the big lake. Fun!!!

  11. Doug N Says:

    Does the toilet in this house flow in both directions as well?

  12. Larry T. Says:

    Dog Haus rentals…whooda thunk it? What will the Bibleburg regulators think of this scheme? No passport? Reminds me that awhile back stats were only 11% of “muricans had one. Same percentage who had a corkscrew in their house….one of our Italian friends was puzzled by this, asking “how do the other 89% of the people open their bottles of wine?” Less than a month before I have to return to the land of the Big Gulp and Big Mac…I’ll enjoy the hell out of our Legendary Climbs tour, our final trip of the season..a new, lower climbing gear should see to that.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Larry, my lack of a passport stems from a combination of factors.

      First, I hate air travel the way Republicans hate common sense.

      Second, as a cartoonist who (at one time, anyway) was contracted to crank out 40-odd color cartoons for publication per annum I need access to a scanner, and them suckers is hard to stuff in a backpack.

      And finally, as an editor, I was most valuable to The Powers That Be when I was parked right here in Bibleburg, with semi-reliable access to the Innertubes and my copies of Webster’s New World College Dictionary, The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual, and various other reference books, all of which I kept within easy reach, right next to the flagon of brain eraser. We keep a half-dozen corkscrews on hand just in case, God keep us and preserve us from all harm, one should fail.

      As to the rental: Who knows? We assumed the loan based on it being a rental property of some sort, and I’d rather have friends, friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends staying there short-term than total strangers. The city fathers here are too busy trying to strip the last gobbets of flesh from the public bones to spend much time fretting about me and mine.

      That sort of thing sure does make Italy look good, though. Shoot, maybe I need a passport after all.

  13. Libby Says:

    What a grand project for you and the neighborhood. Good luck with it!

  14. David R Says:

    LOL Larry…

  15. Larry T. Says:

    Are you going to Lost Wages for Interbike this year? I’ll REALLY get back into the ‘murican swing of things not too long after returning to the US of A.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yup, back to Lost Wages again this year, with the Adventure Cyclist crew. Can you imagine how hot it’s likely to be out there, given that we’re shattering heat records already? Best bring the asbestos chamois and slip a fire extinguisher into that second bottle cage.

  16. David R Says:

    Larry, I plan on getting there this year. I’ll drop you an email and we can catch up. It would be great to sit down with our host here and John Crandall for a glass (or two) of wine after the show.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      By all means, ladies and germs, let’s try to hook up at the show. Always nice to see a friendly face. For some reason various industry types find my presence undesirable.

  17. BenS Says:

    Wow a B&B as buffer state. Kinda of like Canada to keep the Inuit away from our thermostats and the Siberians from our shopping malls.

    Next are you branching out into POG’s guided self-supported tours of the end days?

    Good idea keeping the potential loonies one more lot line away. Good luck and if I’m the Trans Am route next year (if I remain non-voluntarily retired) sounds like a good spot for a couple of recovery days.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Jeezo, Ben, still on the dole? You slacker. President Romney will fix your little red wagon.

      Contemplating the TransAm? You’re a better man than I, sir. We’ll save a place for you at the House Back East.

  18. Tom Says:

    Let your wife write the ad for VRBO.com… And, if you refer to the footstool as an ‘ottoman’, you can get another $5 a week and possibly piss off a bunch of Turks as well!

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