Yah, part deux, which means there is a part one so if you haven’t read that, scroll down a few posts to part one. Please. (Sadly, my blog-teacher moved before she could teach me how to do Mr.Linky)
Living with other people, even good, kindly people who want only the best for you, (what am I saying! Especially with the afore-said people) is not a good idea. One might even say it is an idea that stinketh and stinketh big. My best friend with whom I had been BFF since the age of four through thick and thin, high school and boyfriends as well as many moves that put us in different towns, states and even countries, was at the point where she was about as happy to see us as a case of a flesh-eating bacteria.
The kids were fighting, the nerves were grating, and genuine smiles (as opposed to the polite plastered-on variety) were as common as a two-headed cat. We needed to get out and get out fast, yada, yada, yada. However, I insisted we do our house-hunting on the sly. I didn’t want my BFF to know I was as anxious to be gone as she was to see the door hitting my backside on the way out. Permanently. For good. Like, forever. So, one afternoon we told her we were taking the kids and going for a little drive.
And drive we did, right to a house for rent, one in our price range and the chosen school district. We drove by and saw that it was good. We contacted the owner via phone and made an appointment to see the inside. Which we did. And it was all good. The next day, decision made, we ran the owner to earth and corralled him in a house he was renovating for future rental income. “Please can we sign the rental agreement right this very second!?”
He was hesitant. He was unsure. He was taking his time. Agonizing seconds passed.
“You know that the current renters don’t move out for a few days.”
“We don’t care!”
“If you want to move in the day after that, I can’t guarantee its condition.”
We weren’t worried. Hadn’t we just seen it? And it was good, all good, so very, very good. “That’s fine, just let us sign!”
He sighed and handed us the rental agreement. We signed, then went to a wonderful hotel and bought a gift certificate for a night of high living for my BFF and her husband. We bought a card and wrote a nice note about how much we appreciated their generosity, patience and forbearance. We even offered to watch their kids on their chosen night to use said gift certificate. Then, the night before we moved, we left the card outside their bedroom door after they had gone to bed because I really didn’t want to see my BFF’s face when she learned about our moving out. What if she felt rejected and I the author of such? Too sad for moi. Then again, maybe she would be glad and relieved and do a happy dance of such joy as to surpass human understanding. Even sadder. Nope, I just couldn’t look.
The next morning, everyone acted as if nothing unusual was happening. My BFF was out for a power walk, her husband was getting breakfast for the kids and nobody said word one about our move. We went about our own business the very same way. We had enlisted a few friends, the few we had made in the month or so we had lived in the state other than the ones upon whom we were intruding, and loaded our two rooms of possessions into a moving van. (The remainder of our household was in a storage bin, something which we would address later on that day. Or week. Or month. Hey, we had been doing without it for this long, why hurry?)
With great relief and anticipation, we drove up to the little white house on a sweep of green lawn. It was in the same town as my BFF but a different neighborhood, close enough for us to see each other should we ever again choose to (that is, if my face ever again became more welcome than said flesh-eating disease) but far enough away that we weren’t tripping all over each other at the grocery store, gas station or house of worship (this last, as per request of said BFF-thanks, I love you, too!)
Everyone grabbed something off of the truck and we entered what was to be our own place of residence in our new home state. We made a quick tour and discovered a number of disturbing circumstances.
1. There was glass all over the backyard, teeny tiny slivers of glass that looked like they had been broadcast like so much seed in a field—which this was. A field of tall weeds, the kind that discourage the retrieval of tiny shards of glass but which beckon to crazy-running-around-in-a-manic-fit boys, one of which we were most certainly possessed.
2. There was a lip of wood between the living room and the kitchen which made the removal of the ugly gross filthy refrigerator in order to replace it with our lovely new clean one next to impossible. At least it was beyond the limited skills of moi, The Spouse and the passel of teeny boppers at our beck and call.
3. Lastly, the newly-laid, plush, pure white carpet in the bathroom was now host to a ring of chocolate brown filth (only it wasn’t chocolate, or, that is, it might have been at some point) ringing the toilet. Oh, and it was poured along the sides of the toilet bowl like so much fondue. 'Nuff said.
Ever the heroine, I immediately targeted a problem I could quickly remedy. The living room carpet that had been nice and clean only three days before but now looked like it had been sanded with tiny wood shavings was just one vacuum-cleaning away from good-to-go. I hopped in my car to make the 15 minute drive back to the home of my BFF where I collected my vacuum cleaner. There was no sign of the dear family with whom we had been living. Hmmmm
I got back in the car for the 15 minute drive back to the new house. New home. New place of residence. You know what I mean.
Everything was gone. No moving van. No autos. No people. No couch and bed loafing about on the lawn. Being a bit slow on the uptake, I went to the front door and tried it. It was locked. I knocked but there was no response. It was as if I had pulled up to a house that looked exactly like the one we had rented but was somehow inexplicably different.
Loading the vacuum (which, like a dope, I had hauled up to the front door) into the van, I drove the 15 minutes back to the home of my BFF. (Did you know, it is only we Northern California types who measure distance by time increments rather than miles. Really, it’s true! If not, I would love to hear from whatever strange creature you might be.) I walked in the front door and behold! There sat The Spouse and my BFF sitting in the living room chatting as if nothing had happened.
“What happened!” I demanded of The Spouse.
“I called the landlord to tell him what state the house was in and instead of saying that he would take care of it, he yelled at me. That’s not the kind of landlord I want so I told him he could have his house back.”
I looked at my BFF. She looked at me. A message of wordless understanding passed between us, the kind that said “we are still BFF because it was all the fault of The Spouse and aren’t men stupid but you had better find a new house and fast or it’s kaput between us”.
The next day, my BFF returned the hotel gift certificate and bought a slow cooker and some other trinkets she had been wanting with the windfall. I never let on that I knew. After all, there are some things that are better left unsaid.
Next installment: Things get really tense when moldy carpet threatens to nix the next house on the list.
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