Some of you, dear readers, have seen me livid. Red-in-the-face, teeth bared, I’ll-show-you-my-second-amendment-right angry. In these moments it is especially important to maintain self-control. Proverbs says that a loud woman who delights in airing her opinion all the time is foolish. I love a good verbal take-down as much as the next girl, but I’ve tried to practice the discipline of self-control and restraint. With that caveat, I must say that I’ve had an hour to cool down before writing this. Tonight I hit the breaking point. That point where the blood pounding in your ears sounded like the racking of a shot-gun. That breathe in through your nose and out through the mouth type of losing it. The point where a woman can’t handle it anymore and someone somewhere is going to share the burden. Some poor fool will end up backed into a corner, fully understanding her offense and stuttering out an, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know.” With a composed smile I will answer, “Well, now you do.” Anyone can scream and pitch a fit. My Momma taught me how to “Julia Sugarbaker”.
Now, the detailed back story of events that brought me to this point would take so long that it would rival “How I Met Your Mother.” So here are the bullet points, many of which have been sprayed throughout a few blogs of months past.
When we arrived to this house a year and a half ago, my amazing husband discovered a trashed house.It was not suitable for children level trashed. He went to the management company who refused to return the deposit (we had driven across the country) but ultimately, Hubby got part of the carpet replaced, new paint on every wall, holes in the walls repaired, etc. all while receiving house hold goods. Cosmetically, the home was lovely when my mother and I arrived after a 26 hour drive with a teething, screaming baby. The only little problem was a roof leak that was dripping into our closet. Needless to say, my man had endured a hellish 72 hours and almost single-handedly flipped a house. My man is amazing.
I would love to see a record of the phone calls I have made to the maintenance line of my rental property. 3 estimates on the roof alone resulted in nothing; it took over a year to get simple shingles replaced after the roof was struck by lightning last August. The hole could be seen from the neighbor’s yard. I’ve been without a properly working dishwasher nearly half of our stay here. Washing bottles by hand during the early months of mothering a premature, special needs baby was NOT therapeutic. In fact, that dishwasher had a few tears in it from time to time.
Exactly a year ago this weekend, 8 of my in-laws, my 1 year old and my pregnant self experienced the joy of July without AC. That poor AC repairman was scared to death. Throughout the winter we also couldn’t keep the boys’ rooms warm due to roof holes and the lack of register returns. Space heaters and blankets sufficed as we were told the solution was to pay more in gas bills and just leave the bedroom doors open. This resulted in memos from doctors to help us break the lease and try to move on post. That’s another mess, but 8 months of working that system resulted in a line about equality, not serving our rank, etc.
So now my husband looks out over deployment orders which legally allow us to break the lease. If I remain in this home, the lease will be up during his absence and I will have to move (paying out of pocket) to a new home with two kids and no man. Off we went in search of a house close to post. We found several- one was about to be ours when someone offered to buy. Another offered an earlier move-in. Several others were run by slum lords and were covered in cockroaches. Our house search had more false starts than the 2010 Aggie football season. Ready to give up, we finally found an amazing house beyond our housing allowance and longer story short, the owners dropped the rent price so we could be the tenants. God provided above and beyond my hopes! He is awesome like that. The move in date was set and we began to pack the house. That’s what I’ve been doing instead of blogging; moving 1/3 of our belongings into boxes and then into the garage.
That’s when we were told that the owner of this house-who we couldn’t reach in Hawaii for over a year to get large repairs authorized- wants to sell. “Panicked” by all the repairs that need to be done, she insists on seeing the home. No problem. I even offered to let her tour with a manager while we take pre-tour leave to Texas. NO. Not okay. She wanted to come in more than once with her OWN realtor. Well, she’s not coming in here when I’m gone.
Now, I have never met or talked to the owner. All communication is being done through the property managers. It’s a horrid game of middle school telephone from the 7th circle of Dante’s vacation home. This owner asked to come in on the fourth of July because hey, no one is working and it shouldn’t be a problem. I said she could come on July 3 with the property management agents who were taking pictures of all the repairs she refused to authorize . No, she wants to use a different realtor. Seriously. I had been more than accommodating. With a sweet smile I politely declined. Furthermore, I put in writing that NO ONE was authorized to enter this home other than the poor battered property manager agent under any circumstances. The alarm would be on and I hear the cops respond very quickly to home invasion calls around here.
July 4, 9:00 am. I received a call from the new property manager that the soldier who owns the house we hope to move into in 3 WEEKS had a heat injury during a course and now didn’t know about his PCS plans. Stand by for news on Monday. (It’s Monday. He hasn’t called yet.)
July 5, 1:00pm. A senior employee of this home’s property manager called to ‘get the straight story’ and tell me how panicked the owner is and that she was very put out that she couldn’t come by on July 4. (I make no apologies for declaring my independence, Ma’am. I’ll give you my list of grievances.) Could she PLEASE come by at any time in the next week? Sure. Right after peace is declared in the Middle East and Ireland has one denomination. Then I realized something horrific…this woman would come by the house unassisted. I explained that I have 5 days left before traveling across the country and 4 of those involve appointments for Secondborn. I gave him 1 date with a two hour window. He quickly called back later to comply.After all, he didn’t want to risk angering this crazy, unreasonable woman who CALLED him all the time.
So here we are, the eve of my meeting this woman. It was an appointment day. I packed 3 closets and did laundry, sprayed for bugs, and generally kept my sons alive and healthy. I made calls about a storage unit I may need if we can’t find a new home option in the one free week we will have left. We are literally on back-up-plan 9 and the house isn’t packed. I still need to straighten the house for the 10:00 tour tomorrow…and I can’t wait to get a good look at this ‘panicky’ woman.
That brings us to tonight. Exactly 9 minutes after I put the two-year-old in bed and heard silence from his room, the doorbell rang. I put down my mop, and felt annoyed that someone rang the bell over the sign on the door that clearly said, “Baby sleeping”. A look through the window showed young man who was on the phone. By now Hubby was in ‘intruder alert’ mode and cautiously went through the inquisition.
“Hi, I’m here to pressure wash the house for (The Owner)”. She made an appointment for me to come tonight.”
My jaw dropped. “There is no Mrs. (Owner) here. We didn’t order anything. Let me call maintenance to see if this is authorized.”
As I called the agent on duty I explained and gave her my address. “Oh! I know that address! We’ve been talking about your situation at the office.” Oh, I’m so glad. As the conversation continued I finally said, “I really can’t be friendly or patient about this anymore. I’ve reached my limit- and I’m a Texan!”
It turned out nothing was ordered through the property manager. She had done this on her own. At this point Hubby, who had walked around the house with this young man, poked his head in to say that the owner was who was on the phone! She had said, “Oh, I didn’t get ahold of the tenants, so you can do an estimate and come back another time.” Good save, there.
Now, I am sure this young man is hard working and a lovely person with a great singing voice, but I am not about to allow him to pressure wash the house IN THE RAIN, next to my sleeping son’s window at 8:00pm. NO SIR. I LIVE HERE. I pay rent. I have endured enough trying to get cracked tiles repaired so my kids can play safely, a roof fixed so they don’t get colds, a dishwasher repaired so I can play with them instead of washing their plates by hand, and they myriad of other things that comes with renting. You can fix this house on your own time. For another three weeks, I live here.
I have no idea where I will be living in 2 months or how I will make it a home for my sons while Dad is away. 3 back-up plans are ready to move as soon as we have any info. I have a serious case of the Scarlet O’Haras. “What shall I do? Where shall I go?”
Well, thanks to Hubby’s late homecoming this evening and his willingness to order Chinese take-out, I’m not going to have to eat a dirty turnip to prevent starvation. All the emotion of this upheaval has brewed for too long and I’ve hit my limit. When that happens, sometimes the best thing to do is imagine knocking someone’s lights out, having a good laugh, and then deal with it as gracefully as possible.
Interestingly enough, in less than 12 hours the property management agent and this woman will be standing at my door.
Pray for us all.
“In your anger, do not sin.”
Stand by for the rest of the story.