So, we made the move. It was rough. The puffed up pile of "used car sales wouldn't have him" real estate agent said we'll get our entire deposit back. Said we left the place better than we found it. Which we did.
It's been 48 days, still no deposit. This is the guy who, at the first "landlord is selling" get-together, insisted that state law requires a deposit be returned within TEN days. Luckily, we knew he was lying even as it rolled off his tongue, so we're not too panicked yet. Yeah, he said that to keep us from making any "we won't leave" noises.
What an asshole.
While the law seems to say we should have had the deposit back within 45 days, the renter protection laws here only speak to landlords with more than a certain number of properties (I believe it's five). We emailed the landlord last week, and he has--can you guess? That's right, not answered. Because that's what Scott does. He doesn't answer. For weeks. My money is on this--he didn't keep the $1950 deposit set aside for refund. He threw it in with his cash and is now near-bankrupt and doesn't have it. The old place STILL hasn't sold. Remember how they told us we couldn't stay until it sold because "houses in this neighborhood don't last a week in this market?" Yeah, my ass. I knew that was a lie then. Not only is our old place still on the market (it went on the market July 1st--you do the math), but remember how they tried to palm it off on us? For "low 300s?"
The price has been reduced a number of times now. They're now asking 249K. In other words, they tried to rip us off for over fifty grand.
Next step is, I guess, to send a demand for our deposit via certified mail. And then, I guess, small claims. Which is incredibly scary because there is the chance that, even though we have the pristine walk-through in writing, even though the time period allowable for submitting deductions from the deposit is well gone by, we could wind up with a judge who decided he likes landlords more than he likes tenants. We could wind up with a judge who is an old golfing buddy of Scott's. He has a lot of them around here.
It is so unfair that he would do this to us. By his own reckoning, we were "the best tenants ever." By his agent's reckoning, we "left the place in better shape than it was at move-in."
Way to reinforce the "scuzzbucket slumlord/all landlords are thieves" stereotype, Scott.
So, other things have changed. Pretty big changes. Our boy, who has been homeschooled since day one, announced that he wanted to go to school. Understand, this is an abrupt about-face--every time I've suggested it, even as recently as last spring, he's shut me down with pleas to not make him. He sprung this on me a mere two weeks before the start of school, and made it clear how important it was to him. At first, I demurred, and he became very despondent, saying he understood, it was a stupid idea. Broke my heart. Understand, I have NO experience with the public school system, other than my own 30+ years ago. I scrambled, I hoop-jumped, and I got it done.
We decided on part-time, just a couple of classes. That way, if it turns out it's horrid and he hates it, it's not a huge deal. So it's a sort of "getting his feet wet" thing. He's got Guitar Ensemble and French. He seems to be enjoying it, and he's making friends. He joined the Gamer's Club, Drama Club, and the Planning Committee. Has get-togethers at a local burger joint and a sleep-over this weekend. He gets to have his picture in the yearbook, and was even issued a laptop.
He's excited. So are we. I hope it turns out to be all that he wants.
Silly as it will sound, the lack of yearbooks has always troubled me. Hubby and I both have all our yearbooks, and I've always been sad that our boy wouldn't have that. Now he will.
Haven't been to a doctor since January. I'm having a terrible time with my weight, and I just can't bring myself to deal with the constant, devastating disapproval from doctors. It's hit the point where I am just so humiliated and so completely overwhelmed with anxiety that not going is the only option I see. I know how stupid that is, I do. But I just can't. Walk in, first thing they do is throw you on the scale and an eyebrow cocks just a little. Stress so bad by the time they take the blood pressure that it feels like a full-blown anxiety attack is in the offing. Doctor finally comes in, and the disapproval is palpable. Is that disdain in her exotic eyes? Doesn't matter, because it feels like it. I'm almost in tears just typing this. So I don't go.
The new place, btw. You know all those horrendous, petty, obstructionist, self-righteous nightmare stories you've ever heard about home owners associations?
Yeah. First thing, first day, we ask the real estate agent if we can put in a gate so our dog doesn't run away. Yeah, fenced yard, no gate. He says we can't, HOA won't allow it. Yet we've driven around and some folks have gates. Some are nice matching gates, some are cheap, fake wrought iron that don't match at all, some are plastic baby gates, and some, like our next-door-neighbor's, are crappy white latticework leaned against the gate posts. So we took two solid boards, put them together, painted them to match the fence, and attached magnets to lightly keep the thing in place without it actually being attached. It took ONE day for a note to be taped to it, telling us that it's not approved, and giving us an application to the design board. Problem is, the design board application requires permission of all neighbors/OWNERS whose properties adjoin OR who can SEE the "addition." Yeah, not likely; these are all rentals, none of the OWNERS actually live here. Plus, plans, photos, proposed paint colors, and cost/construction proposals must be submitted in advance.
For a damned barrier to keep the dog in.
So we figured maybe it was too tall. So we disassembled it, removed the magnets, and just leaned it like the folks next door with the cheap, ugly latticework. We were taking it up when the dog came back in, but one evening we forgot. By 7 am the next morning, another note, nastier, telling us that the "partial barrier is unapproved." Again telling us we must submit an application. And then another nasty note, telling us that we cannot have bird feeders in any form. Which means I'm stuck for at least two years with no birds. Bastards. I cried while taking them down.
I was very upset, made my way to the website to read the HOA guidelines and there was no mention of bird feeders (though there was mention of bird baths, which was scary). But then I dug deeper, and discovered we're not in that particular HOA--we're in a SUB-HOA specifically for Condos. And it doesn't allow gates AT ALL. Because our front yards are considered part of the "open area." That's right--our front lawn is actually part of their open space. No wonder they MOW it.
So, in other words, their nosy-assed neighborhood narc is handing out design applications that will not be approved because we're in the Condo area.
Here are some pics of the new place--it's not as nice as the old, but it's also not awful. The carpet is a cheap Berber, which concerns me on the vacuuming front, and the master bedroom is a giant (19x19) loft-type set-up with no door. The stairs are murder on my knees (four flights of 8 stairs a pop to get to the bedroom), and the kitchen is minuscule (we had to leave most of our cooking stuff packed because there's just no room). But the blinds are nice, and the front yard is nice (even if we can't have a damned gate), and the stove is gas. The tubs are slightly larger, and being two floors up keeps the TV from driving me nutty at night. We don't know much about the neighbors (other than the chain-smokers across the way who throw loud parties and beat each other up), but those awful rat-children are no longer our neighbors, and that is everything. I can let our boy walk to school or Hapkido without worrying that those kids are going to ambush him.
So, all in all, it works out slightly to the better. And I will take that any day.
And finally? If you're reading this and you see an Amazon.com shopping spree for Christmas in your future, please consider using my Amazon link, which is the search widget below. This public school thing, with yearbooks, ensemble uniforms, daily lunches, etc., is pretty pricey. Christmas is coming, and every bit helps, especially with the landlord tugging us about on the deposit.
Today, some puddle of garbage came sliding across my Facebook feed. It was from (get this) "RIGHT WING NEWS."
Oh, yeah, there's a source you can trust.
It was being forwarded by one of the stupider people on my list. She's got a kind soul and an empty head. The phrase "bless her heart" leaps to mind whenever she posts anything political.
Today, it was this:
It was all I could do to resist going point-by-point. I DID resist, because people like this aren't looking for information, they're looking for inflammation. Specifically, inflammation that allows them to continue hating the black guy.
Yes, that is what it boils down to. If that's not YOUR problem with him, understand that you're being manipulated and lied to by groups who DO feel that way.
Move mostly set up. Got the utilities arranged, the truck reserved, and (hopefully) the ID and car registration handled so we can get our parking decals. We're cutting it super-close on that one. Cross your fingers. Because if the licenses and registration doesn't show up in time, the HOA will have our car towed.
Well, thanks to the generosity of hubby's old school pal, we're good to go. The gift (and it is a gift, not a loan) came out of the blue. Old friend said it was for "gas money for all those rides back in high school, plus interest."
Whew. After the devastating screwing we took from my half-sister Cory, I wasn't sure we were going to make it. Eternal gratitude, you know?
Gotta say, though, that moving out here is a markedly different affair. In Utah, a grand and some friends with a truck was enough to get you into a nicer place. No deposits for utilities, no hassling with HOAs. You just moved. Out here?
Holy COW! We're moving FIVE miles from our current place, and it's ALL new utility companies. All new utility companies and each one has a hefty deposit. That was an unforeseen expense. Plus, the landlord won't sign the new lease until the utilities are turned on. But the utilities refuse to turn on unless we can provide a copy of the signed lease. Which we can't until the utilities are turned on. Yes, Laurel and Hardy would be proud.
Add to that the parking situation there. Unlike in Utah (or our current place, to be fair), it was simple--here's your spot. New place? Two spots, BUT we must have two CARS in order to have them. One car? Only one decal, which means our guests can't use our spare spot. They WILL tow. Plus, we can't park there until we have the decal (fifty bucks!), and we can't have the decal until we can show our car's registration and our driver's licenses with THAT address. No, a change of address card won't do--they want a photocopy of the new licenses. That's forty bucks for the two of us.
Or eighty, if hubby messes up and they send new licenses with the OLD address. Which is exactly what happened.
The landlord has gone silent again. So has the real estate agent. The fear, of course, is that they're looking to make the move-out a mess so they can hang onto the deposit. Called the landlord and asked if the cleaning (doesn't need it, carpet was stained and dog-pill smelling when we moved in) and deflea/detick treatment (doesn't need it, we don't have fleas and ticks) company we chose was okay. No answer. Called (and emailed) to let them know our move-out date. No answer. Zero help.
And speaking of zero help, I don't think I'll be able to resist letting the real estate agent representing the landlord know what a dead-beat, lazy, uncaring, shmoozy, glad-handing, insincere creep he is. See, when the landlord announced that we were out, he promised his agent would definitely find us a new place. But when Skeezo (that's FRENCH, not MEXICAN!) came over, he made it very clear that he wouldn't. Told us, in no uncertain terms, that there was NO way ANY real estate agent would EVER represent us because of our credit, that we needed to "try Craigslist" because nothing with an MLS# would ever be open to us. He was VERY clear about this. Of course, he became very clear about this once we made it clear we weren't shopping for a mortgage. Conveniently, his wife is a mortgage broker. I'm sure that had nothing to do with it.
So we went into this disaster scared to death--not only did we not have the cash, but a guy who should have provided us with accurate information, a guy whose words should have been reliable, told us we didn't have a hope in hell of getting a nice place unless we stumbled across a private landlord on Craigslist.
Thing is, he lied. Flat out. First MLS listed property we viewed, the real estate agent practically begged to represent us. Even knowing what our credit is like. And the first property we applied for?
So, yeah. I won't go out of my way to slam the bastard, but when we're in the market to buy? We won't be buying from him. And should anyone ask for a recommend? The woman who got us into our new place gets the recommend. And Mr. "French, not Mexican?" I won't refrain from telling folks just what crap treatment we got from him. Just how lazy, uncaring, uninterested, and disingenuous he was.
You know, I don't begrudge rich folks their riches. I don't. I am a bit put off by the gratuitous extravagance I see, but hey, I'm sure someone could look at me today and find something wrong with my spending habits. However, when the following story came across my news feed, I admit, the bitterness rose up in a big way.
Why bitter? Because this isn't some busted up, broken down, run-into-the-ground hovel requiring a from-the-floorboards-up renovation. The place isn't in tatters. And that Wills and Kate paid for their own curtains? Doesn't really appease my sour heart.
We are in SUCH a bad way here, and we're about to drop an application fee and deposit on a place we almost certainly won't get. The hundred bucks is a throw-away--we'll never see that again, either way. And the deposit? If we don't get the place, we won't see that money refunded for weeks. That's weeks we don't have. And if we DO get it?
Well, we don't have the rent and truck money. We're operating on pure hope here. Hope that folks will come through for us. Because the alternative is us being utterly toast.
So hey, Prince William? Princess Kate? Do you think you could spare .001 % of your remodeling budget? That would be all we need and more. It would be enough so we could have someone help us with the heavier furniture, AND we could keep our boy's dog! So how 'bout it? Please? Pretty please? Just .001% would totally SAVE us, and you might be out one fancy brass spittoon.
So, I signed up for my first Twitter account yesterday. Figured it was time, there is now ZERO chance of anyone thinking I joined up just to be cool (wink). I signed up, chose my moniker, followed a couple of friends, and made one small, silly little tweet (said "guess this would be #myfirsthashtag."). Probably not too original, but also not offensive by any stretch. I sign on this morning to find THIS dangling over my now-SUSPENDED account:
Hey Krista XXXXXXX,
Twitter has automated systems that find and remove multiple automated spam accounts in bulk. Unfortunately, it looks like this account, @XXXXXXX, got caught up in one of these spam groups by mistake.
We apologize for this inconvenience. It’s possible your account posted an update that appeared to be spam, so please be careful what you tweet or retweet. You might also want to review our help page for hacked or compromised accounts://support.twitter.com/entries/68916. You will need to change your behavior to continue using Twitter. Repeat violations of the Twitter Rules may result in the permanent suspension of your account.
And that's that. No more Twitter for me, I guess, because I have done the idiot "CAPTCHA" thing a dozen times to "recover" my account, but each time my page comes back up with the "been suspended" banner and I still cannot use the account. So blow up, Twitter. You're mean.
Feeling bitter. Been seeing all the uproar about the handsome, wildly tattooed felon, Jeremy Meeks? The one up on weapons and gang charges? The scary guy with the Esquire face? Well, thus far, women across the country have donated over 100,000 bucks to spring him (his bail is a million).
ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS to spring a member of the Crips gang. A guy with a rap sheet replete with charges from gun offenses to identity theft, grand theft of a person (that's a step down from robbery) to drug charges. $100,000 dollars raised to spring a dangerous felon because he's easy on the eyes (and he is), but here we are, scared to death we're going to wind up homeless. Yes, a little bitter.
Because that somehow inspires charity and giving more than this:
I don't understand. All I know is this--the guy up there stole, lied, and poses a clear threat to people. And Charlie? None of those things, but if we can't find a place, we may lose him. Which would break my heart, break hubby's, too. And it would shatter our boy.
We have found another place. It's smaller than this, and the neighborhood's a bit dodgier, but it's certainly good enough. No yard, and I'll miss my gardening, but we really can't be picky right now. Fact is, it's a roof, and it's not a terrible one. The rent is only 100 a month more than here, and, while 1600 a month is steep, it's not steep for the DC area. In fact, it's practically low-budget.
The scary part? 100 dollar non-refundable application fee, and having to tender the deposit in advance. If they turn us down (which they might, our credit is in the solidly "fair" category, despite no delinquencies, no late payments, no judgments, and a pristine rental history), that's weeks with that money tied up and inaccessible, plus the hit to the credit score for the inquiry, and we're out the 100 bucks permanently. We are NOT where we can afford this, so the risk is terrifying.
Sadly, we're almost certainly going to lose it unless we throw caution to the wind and post the deposit and application fee without having the money to move in. We'll lose it like the little house in Old Town; this is going to get snapped up by someone else before we have the money in hand. Right now, we have the money for the deposit. In a week, we hope to have enough for the pet deposit and the truck. Which still leaves us down 1850. So here I go again--please. Please, anything you can spare. If you've ever said to yourself "I wish there was something I could do," you CAN. Ten bucks would be something. It would help us. If every person who reads my blog in a month gave a few bucks, we'd be that much closer. If every person who reads my blog SHARED our link?
You'd be saving us. Quite literally.
So please. Please help, please share.
Just a note--we made our goal, the donation campaign has ended!
So, the move we can't afford and don't know where we're going is screaming headlong toward us. I'm packing, even though I don't know where we're going and I don't know how we'll pay for it. Our dear friends J & C lent us a grand, and oh, I can't tell you how amazing that is or how grateful we are. We thought we were good, because a relative stepped up and offered three thousand.
You read that correctly. Three grand. She offered, she wasn't asked. She understood that it would take us a while to pay back. She said that if you can't help family, what's the point? I cried my eyes out in gratitude, felt part of this crushing weight lift. It was the most amazing thing.
That was May 28th. She said she'd have it to us the following Monday or Tuesday. I last heard from her June 4th, and she was still very upbeat and reassuring. Multiple Facebook messages, a post, plus text messages, and nothing. Fifteen days of silence. She's stopped even signing onto Facebook, and has not read even one of my messages since the 4th. I don't want to believe that she's left us hanging, but I'm not sure what else to think. In the meantime, the clock is ticking, and we're watching the few places we can get go to other people because we don't have the money to put down the deposit and rent.
And what if she does come through? What if this is just a hiccup, and, because she knows we don't absolutely have to be out until the end of next month, she figures there's no huge rush? What if she IS going to come through? I want to believe that. I love her, and I don't want to think that anything has gone wrong. But the lack of communication is scary and I don't know what to think. But what I DO know is this: we are running out of time, and every day that passes is another apartment or house that rents to someone else.
Plus my Mom offered up 800. Again, that was weeks ago, and no show. But my mom turns 80 next month, and sometimes she makes offers when she can't follow through because she really WANTS to be able to. I love her, and I understand that. My Mom is almost 80. Which makes me almost 50, and this is where I am.
At this point, my stomach is so bad that I am actually worried that the ulcer is going to go totally south. I can't sleep more than a couple of hours, and I find myself gasping and sighing every time my mind goes there. Which is often. And our boy? Oh, he is beyond panic-stricken. He knows we may wind up far away from his friends at class. He knows we may wind up in a place so tiny and so scary that our stuff all goes into storage and we wind up not being able to go outside for walks. And he knows there's the very real risk of losing our dog. Charlie. Oh, man, just typing that has me crying.
And so, the crowd-funding page I set up back in May but never went live with? Well, here it is. I didn't go live with it because it looked like we were covered--between J&C and my relatives, plus what we can save, we'd have it. But now we clearly don't have it, and we're not sure what to do other than this. I mean, we are stuck, we have to be out.
So here's the page. Anything helps. Five bucks. If every friend on facebook gave five bucks, we'd be okay. We're not looking to get rich here, we're not looking to take advantage. We're looking to survive, to have a place to land when this is over. Anything helps.
We made our goal! Donations disabled!
We made our goal! Donations disabled!
This is embarrassing beyond words. And the terror that my relative DOES mean to come through, but will see this on Facebook and withdraw the offer? Indescribable. But if we keep waiting, what if she can't come through? What if something has happened and she's unable? And we let all this time pass? That's where I can't stop going--what if we just keep waiting and it turns out something's happened and she can't help? Every day is a day closer to the deadline, and every day we wait is a day lost.
We didn't see this coming. It's not an eviction, the landlord is giving us a glowing reference. Says we're the "best" tenants he's ever had. But he has to sell, and that means we have to go. Being great tenants who always pay on time doesn't really count for anything in this situation. Please help. Please share. And please, no mention on my Facebook wall. Not yet, anyway.