Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I have a house now. I found a new rental to share with Jaimes. It's okay, not great. But it will work for him to teach dance, for me to do massage, and for us to both live in reasonable comfort for a while.

It's not the house I wanted. There was another house, not even a block away, that I fell in love with last week. I talked to the landlady, filled out an application, and even put a deposit down. Everything was looking good.

Then, Monday night, she called me to turn me down.

Earlier in the day on Monday, she had called my current landlord, who was busy with something, and couldn't really talk at that moment. Added to that, he was slightly taken by surprise, as I haven't given any notice yet. (I'm not planning on moving out for a while, and was thinking I might keep this room for a few months concurrently. Chris has a friend getting out of the military fairly soon who wants the room, so to keep from screwing Chris and Jake on rent in the meanwhile I was strongly considering keeping it until his friend got out, or at the very least taking the initiative to find a subletter for that period. Chris and Jake want to maintain the lease even after I leave, so there was no reason to give full notice to the landlord.)

So anyway, this woman, the potential new landlady, was a little put off by that, and wanted something more. To appease her, I told her I would look up the name and number for the landlord I had before I moved to the U-District, a few years back, on Capitol Hill, and I would sort things out with the current landlord as well.

I looked up the number for the old landlord, tried to call him to warn him she might call, but got a machine and left a message.

I also talked to my current landlord and sorted things out with him, and he wanted very much to talk to her again and give her a good reference for me. He had called back on his own but hadn't been able to reach her.

This done, I called the potential landlady back, gave her the number for the old landlord, and told her that I had sorted things out with the current landlord and he wanted to speak with her again. She thanked me and we hung up.

So a few hours later, she called back again. This time, she was super-condescending. She said that if she ever wanted someone for computer work, she would hire me, but she couldn't ever imagine renting to me. Over and over again, she told me that I am young. That maybe I'll grow out of it. She hit on the "you are young" thing like 6 times.

"I'm 28!," I thought to myself. "What is her problem?" I was confused and upset - this was my dream house, and I had practically moved in in my mind, and here she was ripping me down - but I remained polite and responsive for the duration of the conversation.

She said, "Let me give you some advice. Before you give out references, you should check with people to see what they will say." I told her that I had, had she even tried calling my current landlord again? He had wanted to talk to her when he had bandwidth, and he had good things to say - but she responded that she hadn't, and she wasn't interested in doing so.

"What??? Where was all of this coming from?," I thought. "My current landlord is happy with me. My old landlord was happy with me, as far as I knew - granted I hadn't been able to speak with him directly that day, but we had a good relationship when I left Capitol Hill." She wasn't telling me anything concrete about what swung her opinion so drastically this way - for all I know, it was simply because I hadn't given notice to my current landlord.

I asked if there's any chance she would call my current landlord a second time, or reconsider, and she said no. She told me that she's going to take the house off the market for now, that the current tenants are changing their time frame a bit, and she'll just wait until May to rent it to take the pressure off herself. That was pretty much the end of the conversation.

I cried a little bit afterwards, because it was pretty hurtful.

Then I went back to looking up places and tracking down landlords, starting again at square one. What else could I do?

That same night, I visited another place which wasn't ideal, but could work. That landlady took very strongly to me, and for whatever reason, really, really wanted to rent to me specifically over others who were interested in the place. I told her I was interested, and we agreed to talk again the next day.

As an aside, that night while I was looking through places, I noticed that the landlady who turned me down had posted her house for rent again, but with the rent cut by $100/mo. Ouch. Not only does she specifically not want me, but she's so desperate to rent it out that she's dropping the price to get anyone else she can.


Back to the new place - I slept on everything that night, and in the morning I woke up feeling that although it could work, it wouldn't be good long term. It's on the verge of too-small as is, it would definitely be too small once the baby is born, and she was adamant about a year lease so that would lock is in for the first half-year after the birth. So when she called again I told her that while I was interested, I couldn't do it.

But she wanted me so much that she offered different lease terms that worked better for me. Enough so that yesterday I signed with her for a short term lease, just for the summer. It will be fine for that long, to get us by, and we'll have more time to find something that really works. It will also be good for her, as it will put the rental on schedule for her to find a student renter in the fall when school is starting up.


This morning...

The old landlord from Capitol Hill called me. I didn't answer the phone the first time, but he called three times - must be important? - so I went to see who it was and answered. He said that some woman had called him a few days ago and asked about me, but he didn't catch the first name and he confused me with some other girl who had also lived there, same last name but spelled a little differently. Some Janet Kruger, who had been a disaster, and had mistakenly given me a poor reference because he misunderstood who she was asking about. (I think he had just gotten my original phone message and realized the mistake.)

So everything makes a little more sense now, but I still feel really rotten about the whole thing, and about how rude this potential landlady was on Monday.

He asked me if I'd like him to call her and explain. I said yes. Because, even though it won't make a difference now, part of me hopes she hears from him and feels a little twinge of guilt for being so rude. Nasty woman.

Really, everything conspiring the way it did, I think the universe was trying to tell me that this was not the place to be. Better trouble now than after the lease is signed, you know? But it's not what I wanted to hear.

As you have probably noted from the tone of this post, I am still worrying the wound a bit. I liked that house. I was hurt at how she treated me.

Oh well, life goes on. So must I.

Anyways, I have a different house now. And it's not a perfect house, not exactly everything we were hoping for, but it's good, and it will serve us well for five months.

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