Thursday, October 19, 2006

Patrick's Folly

This is the picture of a once-prominent home in my town...The house became known as "Hasting's Folly" as it nearly bankrupt the owner in his obsession to build it.

I may be the reincarnation of Mr. Hastings.

Something happens when you marry yourself to an old home. Common sense flies out the window.

Money becomes irrelevent. The "Costco Rule" of never being able to leave the store without spending at least $100.00 applies ten-fold to that god-forsaken hell hole--Home Depot. Like your last diet, you tell yourself this time you're going to be good and watch the purchases. But your willpower always lessens and instead of looking through the cabinets to find your stash of Oreos, you are instead cruising the pages of Restoration Hardware, Rejuvination, and the black hole of Ebay. You convince yourself that after six years of sleeping with caulk in your hair and paint in your ears that you deserve it...and out comes the cash. Starting Monday, though, you'll be good...sure you will, you lying bastard.

You become hell-bent on getting it done...and you don't know if it is because you love the home and you want her to have everything, or she is some kinda whore that demands your last cent if you have any intention of sleeping with her tonight. It gets to the point where you can't distinquish between the two--You start to feel like the Faye Dunaway character in the movie "Chinatown."

Jack Nicholson: Who is she? And don't give me that crap about your Lover because you don't have a Lover.

You: I'll tell you. I'll tell you the truth.

Jack Nicholson: Good. What's her name?

You: Patrick's Folly.

Jack Nicholson: Who?

You: She's my Whore. (Jack Nicholson slaps you).

Jack Nicholson: I said I want the truth.

You: She's my Lover. (Another slap) She's my Whore. (Another slap) My Lover, my whore. (Two more slaps.)

Jack Nicholson: I said I want the truth!

You: She's my Lover and my Whore!

I understand you, Mr. Hastings. I understand the obsession to finish, to do it right, and to get it done. I hope I can do it without losing everything...including my marbles, which are obviously rolling out of my cranium as a I write....


P.S. In case my wife is reading this--Honey, everything is fine, really. This was a exaggeration of sorts. We're fine--really. Now, if I can just find my Oreos.

P.S.S. Here's the rest of the Hasting's story in case you are interested...quoted verbatim from the Benicia Historical Museum website.

This 3 1/2 story, 40 room mansion cost over $85,000 to build and another $265,000 to furnish. There were 21 bedrooms but only 3 bathrooms, 88 doors and 85 windows all topped by a 15 foot tower. He installed speaking tubes and call bells and the "Harvey Method" hot water radiators for heating. A gas engine pumped water from a 50,000 gallon cistern in the cellar which was fed by a spring 10,000 feet away and a tank on the roof held another 2,000 gallons. The house was insulated by two inches of sand between double flooring and wall laths which made it almost sound proof and draft free. There were marble floors, onyx and marble fireplace mantels. The kitchen tables, counters and drain boards were all marble-topped. The walls of the library, games room and billiard room were beautifully paneled and the staircase alone cost $8,500.

The Hasting's family consisted of only his wife and five children so the real reason for Mr. Hastings to build such a castle was to upstage his rival, Lansing B. Mizner. In the 1870's, he had gotten into an argument with Mr. Mizner and Mr. Goodyear and swore to show them up. Interestingly enough Mr. Mizner never got around to building his mansion. This didn't matter to Mr. Hasting's who was obsessed and ended up spending his entire fortune on the house causing it to be known as "Hasting's Folly".

It was a boys dormitory for a short time for the convent school and finally closed then torn down in 1937.


Blogger Felicia said...

50K gallons is a heckovalotta baths! Well, as long as they "enjoyed the process."

By the way, it's called the "Target paradox" in this house...can't get out of that store for under $100. And I need to make a trip to Home Depot to morrow and am scared that I'll get distracted by the bargains in the garden center. Plants (and currently bulbs) are my crack!

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Maryam in Marrakech said...

That's so sad. It looks like it was just amazing. No italianate mansions here in Morocco...Rats.

1:57 AM  

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