When Your House is More Famous Than You

My hail damaged house

If you live in Denver, you know that on Monday, May 8, we got an epic hailstorm with stones up to baseball size. It came late in the afternoon. I was at work, which got little more than heavy rain. As I had also not gotten a text message from the dog, I figured things were probably fine at home.

When I got halfway home I started to see signs that perhaps I should possibly revise my optimistic estimation. It might’ve been the piles of hailstones heaped like snowbanks along the side of the road, or the leaf covered vehicles that resembled mobile hedges.

As I got to my neighborhood, I caught a glimpse of my house through the rear view mirror, and saw lots of dark spots on the front of the house. The fog of optimism convinced me they were clumps of damp leaves from the plum tree. I continued toward the library to discover a lake where the road used to be. I avoided the lake, and started seeing additional evidence of an extended neighborhood-wide machine gun battle, and I again adjusted my aggressively crumbling wall of denial into a nice river of panic.

I skipped the library and went home.

The “black spots” on my house turned out to be my insulation peeking out from the nice new holes punched into my house’s crunchy exterior. The shutters were shattered and lying in bits. The flower box had fallen into a bush. The screens looked like ragged curtains. One window was broken. It looked like a bomb had gone off. My neighbor and her family were out in the yard staring at the carnage.

Our house was the one that drew everyone’s gaze. While the neighbors ostensibly assessed their own damage, they cast surreptitious glances at our house of horror, and pretended they weren’t staring.

In fact, one of these schadenfreude suggested we were already set for Halloween. I wondered if she read my column.

Every car that passes comes to a dead stop as they encounter our house on the corner. Faces mouth OMG (except they don’t use the initials) and some unabashedly whip out their cell phones to capture the dramatic storm aftermath. Within hours, pictures of my house were on the news, via Twitter and as part of the lead storm story.

As far as the lookie-loos were concerned as they snapped pictures of the house which caused their eyes to bug out and their jaws to drop, there was only this blasted house – they did not register the people standing outside it getting the mail or stapling plastic over the shattered windows.

Friends from all over sent email and Facebook messages telling me that my house was on the news. It was the picture with the headline on the front page of the 9news website for all of Tuesday.

And the worst part is that the house KNOWS it is the poster child of the disaster, and this information is going straight to its attic.

It’s started to realize that it is much more famous than me, its image having been retweeted many more times than any tweet I’ve ever made.  It’s even taking credit for KTCL’s storm meme with a house that *looks* like it.

A few days ago, we got a flyer from a siding and roofing company (not hired by us in any capacity), that had a picture of my house as half the advertisement. The flyer was not mailed to me, but was put in my mailbox. The house decided that meant it was now too popular to put up with me as a resident. It demanded that I improve my social media standing, or get out immediately. In exiting, it wants me to somehow guarantee that the next inhabitant be someone who has more than 75 twitter followers, and who is worthy of the house’s fame.

I really don’t need another source of anxiety, so I’m blocking that ungrateful structure from my social media feeds. Watch me pick new siding that makes it look fat.