Nearly all of the times that Steven and I were friends, he was also our tenant, of sorts. He lived in a detached building on our property. That extra dimension to a relationship can sometimes pose challenges. In spite of any humorous stories that follow, please hear me that Steven was a joy to share a property with, and the fact that he lived “with” us is one of the great blessings for our family. Still, there were times…… 🙂
As I’ve written in a different blogpost, Steven took immaculate care of everything he owned. https://ericdent.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/blogpost-2-in-honor-of-dr-steven-bourquin/ In short, his car and clothing were always perfect. Likewise, he expected this his housing would be well maintained. That was always our intention, but life sometimes conspires so that intentions aren’t always fulfilled. Dan Kenney has already written one of the best stories of how when Steven was suffering from a severe case of gout, and needing crutches to get around, had a major toilet overflow problem that caused him to lose his balance on a flooded, polluted floor and knock the sink off the wall in what ended up being a comedy routine better than anything on I Love Lucy. https://coach4aday.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/a-friend-of-a-friend-eric-dent-and-amy-dent-march-9/
I’ve also written about Steven was able to analyze the human condition through movies and TV shows. https://ericdent.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/blogpost-6-in-honor-of-dr-steven-bourquin/ You probably need to know the sitcom One Day at a Time to appreciate the following, but Steven’s nickname for Amy was “Schneider.” On the show, Schneider played the role of an apartment maintenance man who often provided special help to the three women who lived together. In our case, the genders were reversed as Amy knows more about property maintenance than Steven did, and way more than I do.
For a few years, Steven and I carpooled together (meaning he drove every day because he liked that control 🙂 ) and on occasion he would ask for some maintenance to be done. I would always reply, “You have to call Schneider.” There is a great “rest of the story” to the incident Dan chronicled. In a few hours, you can’t replace a sink and solve the plumbing problem that caused Steven to slip around in the sewage from the toilet. We always teased him about how he really needed to change his diet, but the plumbing problem turned out to be a massive root that had somehow found its way into the pipes and was actually growing splendidly in the back of the toilet.
So, until the situation could be resolved, Steven had to use the bathroom at our house. Fortunately, there was a complete bathroom inside the garage. Steven had our garage code and could come and go in and out of the garage and house any time he wanted.
One night, Amy was making her security rounds and noticed a garage bay door was open. If it had opened recently, the garage door light would have still been on. She noticed light through the crack in the bathroom door and quickly deduced that Steven was in there. She called out “Goodnight John boy” (a reference to an even older show The Waltons) and began laughing uproariously, as Amy is wont to do. Steven was very modest about such matters and replied “Geez, why don’t you just let all the kids know that I am out here.” Unbeknownst to Steven, Amy’s laughter drew the attention of the kids who had raced to the scene to see what the matter was. Amy replied, “don’t worry they all know. They are standing right behind me.” Everyone had a great laugh about that situation.
Another periodic maintenance request had to do with bugs. Steven hated to see even a single bug. I told him that we paid for a regular exterminator, but if he found a random bug here or there, it was really up to him to buy a can of Raid and take care of it. The stereotype is that a big, strong man like Steven wouldn’t be bothered by bugs. Still, our daughter Julia, who was about 11 at the time, will attest that Steven once called her over to rid his room of a spider.
Then there was the unfortunate matter of the dead cat. Steven had a garage attached to his apartment, which was perfect for storing his BMW. I remember him mentioning a stray cat that had been around and I believe Steven was giving it food. Some time much later, he smelled something horrible in his garage. He searched for the source of the stench, and tragically, came upon the partially decomposed body of the cat. Disposing of the cat was also outside of his comfort zone and since Schneider wasn’t home, he called my oldest son, Anthony, who was probably about 14 at the time.
We all loved doing these small favors for Steven because he was incredibly generous in sharing his love with all of us, his friends and tenants. 🙂