I wonder, is it my payment for doing a good deed or is it just that somewhere along the line, maybe when I was a kid, (I was a really bratty kid and lied a lot to my parents) I earned up some really bad karma. Or maybe, it is that bad things, sometimes really bad things, happen to good people. I don’t know. My right wing fundamentalist evangelical Christian friends might say it is because I’m being punished by God for not attending church every week, tithing, and being a faithful servant. Well, as for not attending church, tithing and being faithful they’d be completely accurate. I’m just not sure that’s how God rolls though. I mean, think about it, when Jesus walked the earth he hung with some of the lowest of the low according to society and the religious elite of the day. Rahab, a harlot, was used to save some godly peeps and, well, I kinda think God tends to look past the mess in our lives right into our very inner being and that is where he deals with us on an individual basis. I think the outer stuff, the yuck that I am dealing with now, is just life. It is also the result of me being a naive person, when I should not have been. It is also the result of me simply making some very foolish choices. Hindsight is always 20/20.
But about the next bad thing that has happened in my life. The thing that makes me wonder what kind of evil karma I built up throughout my life only to have it be dumped out on me this year has to do with the rental. I’ve only alluded to it. Here’s most of the story.
Last year, I made the decision to go through bankruptcy (actually a smart decision given all the details which I will not disclose here). In the process, I decided to surrender my home. This was also a smart financial decision when you run the numbers, again, something I won’t bore you with here. This was not a case of me being angry at the bank for whatever reason. I just wanted to make a fresh start financially and the home was more financial and physical burden than I was going to be able to deal with. However, the entire process has ended up taking far longer than expected (over a year and counting). I knew it would take some time and I was not able to stay in the house and risk a move during the middle of the school year. I have three school age kids and my own career would not have been able to accommodate such a transition at such a time. I was getting legal heat from the Evil Ex and needed to make sure my daughter was enrolled in a good school and that she was doing well and liked it. I decided to move to a nearby town and in September we found a place to rent and settled it. And that, was going to be that…or so I thought.
I was approached by a friend….(you can see this coming, can’t you?)…who mentioned that her son and two friends were looking for a place to rent temporarily and would I be interested. Well, no, not really. I mean, I really had no desire to be a landlord or make the place a rental; I just wanted out. But this was a friend I have known and worked with for 14 years. Her kids and my kids grew up together, went to school together and our kids are now graduating together. This woman has impeccable character and is a top notch quality person. Her son is also. The friends came highly recommended. So, I did a bit of research, wrote up a rental agreement, we all signed it, they paid their move in money and I moved out. I left the place in pretty decent shape. It wasn’t perfect. I had some stuff in the garage still to move out, but the place was, for all intents and purposes, a clean and homey dwelling. The friends of the friend’s son turned out to be disastrous.
Things started being a problem almost right away. I’d drive by the place and see that it wasn’t being maintained, then the rent began to come in partial payments. Two months in and I was working on evicting them. Fortunately, they ended up getting out within the 30 days after being served the rental termination notice. Then I got another renter in, who was actually, at first, responsible and timely in her payments. She got some roommates to help share the rent and utility expenses and all was golden. That lasted about two months and things began falling apart. There were violations of the rental agreement, which I followed up and she attempted (though not satisfactorily) to remedy and I gave her a 30-day notice of termination of the rental agreement (we have a month-to-month). Rent was not paid completely last month and rent didn’t appear at all on the first. I went by to collect on the first, no response. I went by the next day. The house looks deserted, but the door is wide open. No answer when I ring the bell. I try contacting my tenant with no response. I drive by the house the next day, the door is closed, otherwise there is still no sign of life. The dog does not bark when I go to the door. This goes on for a week and I’m beginning to think they’ve abandoned the house. Finally, I get in touch with the tenant, over a week after the missed payment and the termination notice. She confirms that she received the notice. She also confirms that they have indeed abandoned the place, with the intent to come back for her stuff by the end of the month; the others have already gotten all their things out. In a phone conversation, I express my concern about the security of the home if no one is living there. She agrees that she will get her stuff moved out within the week and move the rest of her stuff to the garage. I gave her till the end of the month to get her stuff out of the garage. In exchange I get the possession of my home and I won’t go after her for the late rent. Her week to move her stuff ended yesterday. Today, after my radiation treatment, I went over to the house to check things out.
This is the scene that greeted me when I drove up to the home:
I just had a really bad feeling about this. I immediately texted my tenant asking about all the stuff and she actually texted back saying she’d had a garage sale and this was the leftovers. On the mattress, there is a sign that reads, “Free. Please take.”
This is what the living room looked like when I entered:
Those are the window blinds that were in great condition when I moved out…now all broken and scattered on the floor. The big black stain in the middle of the carpet was not there when I moved out. You can’t see it well from here, but there is also smoke damage on the fireplace brick. Nice. Here’s the other side of the living room:
It gets better, before we head back to the bedrooms, let’s check out the kitchen.
The back slider was left open. Check out the grass in the back yard. We left them a lawn mower. It sure looks like they made good use of it. Here are views of each side of the kitchen:
And some food for any guests that might stop by:
I just can’t fathom how people can operate like this. They were in violation of their rental agreement for trash being left around. I gave her the appropriate amount of time according to state law to correct the problem. An attempt was made, but it was nowhere near satisfactory. Look what they left behind in terms of trash:
The thing that really irks me about this is that for the entire time I was renting this house to both sets of tenants, I paid for the garbage service which included a recycling bin and a yard debris container. What kind of mentality is it that thinks that it is okay to live in squalor like this let alone leave it for someone else to pick up? But let’s just do a quick tour of the rest of the home. My skin is beginning to crawl and I’m glancing around for the rubber gloves and sanitizer.
Part of the rental agreement stipulated no smoking in the house or garage. Apparently, the rules don’t apply to these folks.
Those aren’t just carpet stains you see in that picture with the pillow in the corner. That is dog poop on the carpet.
Of course, no rental trashing by tenants is complete without some damage to the walls. This hole is about a foot long from top to bottom.
That wasn’t the only hole either, but it was definitely the largest one. In all there were three holes in walls, and a wall had been repainted a hideous purple-blue color. The wall was previously white. Other damage to the home included damage to lighting fixtures:
Broken glass on the floor:
This sign is visibly displayed in my office. I have occasion to use it, every now and then. Today was one of those days.
After freaking out about my cat and hitting the panic button by rushing to the 24-hour emergency vet, and then spending $159 to get the cat evaluated and injected with antibiotics, I realized the following day that I actually have a very good friend who studied two years of veterinary science. Great. She informed me that she would have been glad to look at my cat even late at night to let me know if what I was dealing with was urgent or whether it could wait.
Too bad I don’t have the bang head here sign at home.
It was probably a good thing that we took the cat in anyway, just for the antibiotic shot. I just think I probably didn’t need to go rushing down there at midnight. Oh well.
I was able to sell a few unused items this weekend and make some money. Enough, to get us through the week for gas and groceries. Part of what I sold was a piano that I’d left at my house (which I’ve been renting out) which my children used to plunk around on. In spite of not having formal lessons, they managed to kind of pick it up here and there. My second oldest especially worked hard at learning and spent a lot of time on that piano. It was hard to let that piece go. I wonder if maybe I will regret selling that.
Last night, I invited a friend over that I haven’t seen in a long, long time. We used to work together, but then she transferred to another division of the company and though we kept in contact via Facebook, we’d not had a chance to get together until last night. Due to finances being what they are, we decided to meet up at my place rather than go out somewhere for drinks. The Hesitant Boyfriend waited on us hand and foot. Thanks to selling the piano, we had a few dollars to spend on food for the evening. He bought a cheap bottle of red wine, the large size, which I proceeded to drink a significant portion of. This was after having 4 beers. It was a great evening, what I can remember of it. I hope to do it again soon sans the beer and wine, because it was 10 o’clock this morning before I could even move and it was afternoon before I felt solid enough to even workout. Yes, I did workout. Yes, it was painful.
There’s a reason I don’t drink wine, red or otherwise. It gives me a headache. It makes me feel icky for the entire day afterward, even if I only have one glass. I know this. I drank it anyway.
Another bang head here moment.
And I thought the reason my head hurt was due to the wine.