House Hunting is Scary Part Trois (three)  

Posted by Heidi in ,

So, yes, that means if you haven’t read parts one and two, you should scroll down and do so, pronto.

About a week after the disaster at the “White House”, The Spouse and I were reading the newspaper, scoping out the homes for rent. I spotted a promising ad, dialed the number and talked to a very nice woman about her rental. I asked if she had a fence because of our dog (not Sugar, the sweet, beautiful hypo-allergenic dog, but Pal, the smartest, best dog who ever lived, part german shepherd part border collie, who needed to stay outside away from allergic moi). It was important to ask about the fence because in places other than California, there are actual homes without actual fences. Naturally, being a dog-lover (Colorado resident, an’ all) she expressed shock and dismay that I would even consider keeping my dog outside, especially since it was nearly October and the cold was coming (little did I know how cold). I attempted to defend myself. She merely hung up but not without first muttering “I feel sorry for your dog, lady”, reminiscent of the time our head moving guy muttered, “You need a bigger house, lady”, or was it, “You have too much stuff, lady”?

I placed a large red X over that ad and continued.

That was when we found it, the ad for the two bedroom home in the desired location and school district. We talked to the nice man (everyone is nice in Colorado. I really mean that. Except for the mean man who beat his dog. Unto death, I believe—see House Hunting is Like Ghost Hunting, Only Scarier) and convinced him to allow us to look at the house even though they had just (as in days ago) bought the place and it was not ready for viewing.

“Then, er, why did you place an ad in the paper to rent it out?” I dared to ask.

There was a bit of a silence. “That was a mistake. It wasn’t supposed to go in this soon.”

What he meant was that he didn’t expect to get a bite so soon. He hadn’t reckoned on me and The Spouse. We were a force to be reckoned with. For sure.

We went to the house, conveniently located right next door to the nice couple who had just bought it. We liked the house, we liked the couple, we liked the couple’s children and we liked the three foot high chain link fence that would keep our dog contained within the extremely large yard. We also liked the huge front yard complete with a driveway long enough for three cars deep. (I had no concept of what that might mean for me and a shovel.) What we did not like was the 70’s gold shag carpet. When I lifted up one corner of it (every corner, side and seam was extremely liftable) I saw that a gorgeous honey-gold wood floor lay beneath.

Since I have always wanted a wood floor I was very excited and immediately suggested permanently removing the carpet. The owner was a bit hesitant. He wanted to try cleaning the carpet first and see what happened. We agreed and signed the rental agreement, me smug in the sure knowledge that this carpet was unredeemable. I had no doubt Mr. Nice Landlord would soon come round to my way of thinking.

Moving day was about a week away and the phone calls between myself and Mr. NL were not promising. I got a lot of this and that, a lot of hemming and hawing, a lot of ifs and buts. I had no idea what we would find when we got the key; a wood floor, a nice, clean carpet or something that crawled out of the Black Lagoon.

We got the latter. (I bet you guessed right, huh? Leave me a comment at the end of this post if you did. That way we can celebrate. In cyber space.)

It was day one with the key, the rent meter was ticking, the moving van was coming in two days, and the once gold, ratty, old, smelly carpet was now a toxic hazard. It had been “cleaned” the day before (not professionally, I might add) and was still wetter than a correctly cleaned carpet had any right to be. It had, quite literally, been soaked, revealing nearly-bare spots, disintegrated padding and a smell akin to what the Creature (of said Black Lagoon) might use as after shave. (That is, if he dated. Was there a female creature of the Black Lagoon? A fan would know.) (Or Reed.)

I was panic-stricken! How could Mr. NL have done this himself rather than hire a professional? How could he have not called me when he saw that the situation was (clearly!) hopeless? Why wasn’t he answering his door, the one I was pounding on in my panic? (His car was there—he said later that he was out back feeding the dog—sure.) Didn’t he know that the BFF was counting the seconds until we were entirely and permanently gone from her abode?

I crawled back to my BFF and explained the situation. It was obvious Mr. NL wasn’t going to admit defeat. This meant no wood floors for me. Meanwhile, even if the current carpet was livable, it would never be dry in time, not before the moving van came, not even before winter set in and certainly not before my BFF started climbing the walls while her head rotated on her shoulders. So, she put me directly into her car and drove me to the nearest carpet establishment.

I guess we looked kind of grim, sorta determined, even mildly obsessed because the nice lady who waited on us asked, “Is this some kind of emergency?” The BFF and I looked at each other and broke into gales of nervous laughter. You know, the kind that sounds like weeping is soon to follow.

We (meaning myself and The Spouse) paid for beautiful new carpet for the entire house and arranged to have it installed the very next day. The guys who took out the old one were aghast at it’s state and almost didn’t want to be around it long enough to carry it outside. They said they would have to take it to a special dumping place since it was technically toxic waste, due to all the mold in hues of green, black and other indeterminate shades of ick. As for myself and my family, we at least got new carpet which we were privileged enough to use for the next 13.5 months.

And Mr. Nice Landlord? Come Christmas, he brought us a nice basket of oranges. He was just soooooooo nice. So nice he just couldn’t bring himself to tell me I wasn’t getting my wood floor. Or that the current carpet was ruined and he didn’t know what to do about it. Or that the rent was considered late on the 3rd, not the 4th until we were moving out and got dinged late fees. And way too nice to tell us he never intended to give us back a dime of our hefty deposit.

May there never be another landlord in my future. Amen.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

7 wise, witty and wonderful comments

You are way funny! I couldn't resist reading all 3 parts during my break at work, and was laughing my head off. I think I need to add you to my blog roll. It was weird to find out Roxanne is your cousin. I found her through blog surfing so I didn't know she is related to Holly either until you mentioned she's your cousin. Weird!Anyway I saw your nephew Sam in church Sunday (he's pals with my son) and I mentioned I stalk his aunt's blog, and he informed me that you will be having a book signing in February and I should go because it will be fun. And I thought, wow, what a great freelance press secretary/PR guy Heidi has on her team :-) I just thought you'd like to know what a good nephew you have :-)

August 27, 2008 at 2:14 PM

Sam, what do you want for a reward? The sky's the limit! I am hoping I have a book signing in February, I am still in negotiations with the bookstore owner . . .at least now you know whose blog roll you found me on. :D

August 27, 2008 at 3:02 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
August 28, 2008 at 12:56 AM

Ok I had a problem when I tried to post the first comment so hopefully this one works...I think you should bundle these into a humor article for a family/women's magazine because these house hunting posts are hilarious!

August 28, 2008 at 12:59 AM

Jen, thank you so much! That would be wonderful if it were so easy. Maybe I'll give it a try. Thanks for the encouragement!

August 28, 2008 at 6:59 AM

Oh my goodness, it would be hysterical if it weren't so tragically common. I know of what I speak because I think we are the only nice and caring (translate to (translated -naive, schmucks) out there. If there is a problem we fix it if there is a complaint we bend over backwards to make it better or go away altogether. Sigh Being a landlord is easy, being a good landlord is really challenging. It is not a job for the weak of heart or poor of wallet. Oh and if you ever move up to Utah we have such a deal for you.

August 28, 2008 at 6:39 PM

Oops! I didn't mean to trash ALL landlords. I am glad you guys are the good guys! Thanks for the reminder . . .

August 28, 2008 at 7:11 PM

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