The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

They Should Call Me ‘Sherlock Homes’

Sunday, directly after the house where we didn’t almost get murdered by the teenagers in the garage (but it totally seemed like we were going to), I showed another large, vacant, Gilbert house to the same family. You’d think after being completely freaked out by randos just chilling in a house we’re trying to see, it would be hard to weird us out again, but no, The Universe is super talented at serving up the oddities of life on a platter for those of us paying attention. Also I’m like a goddamn lightening rod for weird (which I enjoy about me, so it’s OK).

So this final house was kind of strange from even the front yard. I was preoccupied with getting the front door open and wondering if this time I should make everyone stay together in a group while touring, but my clients immediately picked up on the fact that it looked like the front yard was landscaped together with the house next door. There was actually a pavered path that led from the front door of each house to the other.

This picture is taken from the house next door.

Because they’re hilarious and awesome, my clients immediately made a Big Love, sister-wives joke. You know, because Bill Paxton had the three houses all next to each other and their backyards were all one big backyard, so he could come and go from each house as he pleased.*

I laughed, but I didn’t really think there was anything strange going on. Maybe the owners had been friends and got some kind of two-for-one discount on the front yard landscaping.

In the backyard, though, the evidence mounted for some kind of ‘group yard’ shenanigans. There was a little decorative wooden bridge that ended two feet from what seemed to be a hastily constructed wall between the yards:

It’s not weird to have a path just abruptly end at a wall, right? Seems completely intentional.

I had to admit it seemed like something odd was up. But I’m generally a skeptic about almost everything (except aliens. I totally believe in those. And unicorns.), so I figured we were probably reading into it a little much.

BUT THEN, because I cannot help but be seduced by a good mystery, I went home after the showing and pulled up the tax records. Just to put the whole thing to rest once and for all. That’s when I got lost down a rabbit hole for a totally ridiculous amount of time. Check this shit out:

House A is the house that was for sale.

House B is the house next door.

In 1995 House A was built new by Victoria and Hinrich Allen (names have been altered because this is like the most obnoxious invasion of privacy and speculative craziness you’ve ever seen).

In 1995 House B was built new by Margaret and Harold Fortwind.

In 2003 Harold Fortwind was removed from the title of House B, leaving Margaret Fortwind the sole owner on title.

In 2006 Hinrich Allen was removed from the title of House A, and the deed was quit claimed to Victoria Allen-Fortwind. (!!! I’m sorry… what? She took the neighbor’s last name as hyphenated?)

In 2007 Victoria Allen-Fortwind was added to the title of House B, so the title was held with Margaret Fortwind and Victoria Allen-Fortwind. (Uh… so… what just happened now?)

In 2008 Victoria Allen-Fortwind was taken back off the title of House B, so the title was held once again only by Margaret Fortwind.

In 2009 Victoria Allen-Fortwind dropped the ‘-Fortwind’ from the title of House A again, so the title was once again only held by Victoria Allen.

In 2010, House A went to foreclosure and seems to have sat empty until 2012 when it was purchased by an investor who added paint, carpet and granite counters and now has the house listed for sale.

So clearly what we have with these two houses is not actually a sister-wife situation, right? It’s obvious Vicky and Peg were housewives and next door neighbors who fell in love while swapping recipes and raising funds for the PTA together. And Peg’s husband, Harold, had an anger problem and he found out about Vicky and Peg’s affair, so Peg ended up killing him one night, almost out of self-defense, but not completely. Vicky helped her cover it up, but then they still had Hinrich to deal with. He took a little longer because they didn’t want it to look suspicious with both of their husbands dying so close to each other, but they eventually ended up poisoning him and making it look like a stroke. But poor Hinrich was actually not a terrible guy, Vicky just didn’t love him anymore. So she always kind of regretted murdering the poor sap. Peg and Vicky lived happily together for a short time, but eventually the guilt ate away at Vicky and she started drinking and stopped making payments on her house. Eventually her family stepped in and sent her to rehab and she lost the house. She moved to Florida to try to forget the whole ordeal. Peg walled up the yard and trolls the neighborhood functions for housewives who remind her of her only true love.

That must be what happened, right? It’s the only explanation.**

*For the record, I think sister-wives kind of make some sense. If I had cancer I would totally be all over picking one out to join our family. I’d much rather die and leave my family with a suitable replacement already trained and vetted than with just an Elizabeth-sized hole. I’m not saying Jason couldn’t handle things, but for reals, who’s going to wash all the laundry and leave it in piles in the master bedroom? Who would take all the pictures of everything we do and leave them completely unorganized in any manner in boxes and files on the computer? And for chrissake, who’s going to drink all the wine? I’m just saying it makes sense to have a back-up for just in case.

**Last night after I got completely entranced by this dramatic story I actually started Googling these peoples’ names looking for evidence of the torrid lesbian affair I was sure had taken place. Instead, I found out that Vicky is actually a 56 year old anesthesiologist and Peg is her 84 year old mother. So probably Vicky and her parents bought next door to each other and then Harold, her father, died, and Vicky got divorced from Hinrich and there was some wackiness with putting different people on title for tax reasons. And then I had to take a hot shower to wash the stalkery nutjob off myself.

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