Monday, May 25, 2015

Parsonage Flippers

The Captain has a reputation.

No, not that.

Okay, maybe that too.

The Captain and First Mate are known for flipping parsonages. 

Given a church-provided house in poor repair, we devote untold hours making improvements to the house while at the same time serving the congregation.

Even the nicer ones have needed some tender loving care along the way.

Our goal is to “Always leave it better than you found it.”

As opposed to a colleague we have just recently heard about that caused so much damage to his parsonage that the Trustees have decided to sell that house and buy a new one.


Little is beyond the combined capabilities of the Banana Wind’s Krewe.

Paint. Electrical. Plumbing. Tile. Hardwood. Sheet-rock. Trim. Lock-smithing.

So the Banana Winds is sailing again. We’ll be dropping anchor in our new port sometime next month.

Life as a Pastor/Captain is always interesting.

Now, it could be worse. Traditionally, in my denomination, a pastor moves out in the morning and the new pastor moves in after lunch.

Successfully maneuvering this dance can be maddening.

But the Krewe of Banana Winds has been fortunate again to have access to the new home port in advance of moving day. The house was previously rented instead of being occupied by another pastor, so we were able to remove the renters in advance of Moving Day and, thanks to a cooperative Trustee, we have access to the house already.

CAPTAIN’S NOTE: Miraculously, the renters were preparing to move to a new city at about the same time they were asked to move out.

God is good!

Which is a good thing. Although the carpets have now been professionally cleaned and a service was hired to do a deep-clean on the kitchen and bathrooms, there is still much work left to be done before we occupy the house.

Which brings us to this letter.

Dear Renters,

Good luck in your new location!

You have occupied our parsonage for three years. I hope you enjoyed your stay.

During you time here you painted every room in the house.

With semi-gloss paint.

Here’s the thing, dear Renters. While semi-gloss is incredibly “washable” – I understand, you have three young boys – it is way too shiny for most civil purposes.

Think “institutional”.
Jails. The military. Asylums.

I don’t mean to judge your choices or your tastes, but semi-gloss is harder than hell to paint over!

Semi-gloss paint also shows every imperfection in a wall.

And in this case, there are many.

By the way, what did happen in the bathroom? Did you lock an ocelot in there for a weekend?

And I can appreciate you not wanting your fine art falling off the walls, but did you really need to use auger-type anchors to hang your stuff?

Half-inch holes all over the house!

And dozens more smaller holes!

Down the hallway you apparently stapled something the entire length along one wall.

Staples leave holes too, my friends.

Twice as many.

And harder to find.

Did I mention this was paneling?

Yes, the hallway and den are paneled. Painted, but paneled.

So the holes are bigger.

And more obvious.

"A little spackle will fix that right up!"
In fact, after more than a day of scouring the walls looking for holes to patch, even more holes emerged as we began to paint.

After five days, we’re almost done with two rooms.

But let’s move on to another concern.

By chance, did you read the rental agreement?

It said “no pets”.

Yet you had a dog.

And from the smell, maybe a hamster too.

I’m guessing the mice are just a bonus.

Although the cleaning services have tried to mask kill the smell, we know the truth. As the horrendous deodorizers fade, we can smell your pets again.

You even tried to mask the smell with a mysterious cinnamon-flavored air freshener secreted in an air duct.

We found it.

Along with a dozen pencils, pens, and crayons dropped down said air vent.

What were you doing? Running your own preschool?

All of this is to say that during a period in which we should be packing, saying our good-byes, and learning more about our new churches, the Captain is spending every spare hour trying to make this new home livable.

I won’t even mention the “do-it-yourself” bidet we found in the master bathroom.


So although we were granted early access, due to the amount of work needed, our new home will be a work in progress.

We’re thinking new tile and hardwood floors.

Of course, before that, the Trustees will have to address the uneven floors.

Hopefully we can whip it into shape quickly and get on with real ministry.

And the next pastor who occupies this house will have the Captain to thank.