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the challenge begins
tuesday, december 20, 2011


i was really hoping we'd have some more time before having to deal with the housing thing. we'd even discussed with the "landlord" (who we were informed wasn't really the landlord but the property manager for the landlords; yes, plural) having until january 10th to get completely caught up on rent. at the time he said he was fine with it. he also told us he was planning to retire from his position by the end of the year. he's done good with keeping a roof over our heads even when the landlords (originally known as his partners) wanted to boot us, and he's worked with us on payments so we've been paying at the end of the month instead of the beginning, which has helped a lot. because of those two things, i could almost forgive the bad qualities of his management, including the disaster the place has become because of half-assed or complete lack of repairs. there is no doubt in my mind that this place has contributed to increasing health issues for me and a cough that most of the animals seem to have developed. that being said, at least we never landed on the street, not even when things were at their worst for us financially a bit back and we didn't even have unemployment to help pay for anything. sometimes any housing is better than no housing at all.

so, as far as we knew, the 10th (give or take) of january was fine with him for clearing things so we would be caught up and could start paying on the first (and start counting down to our move out around tax time). we knew he was getting increasingly frustrated with his partners who did nothing and expected him to do everything for a number of properties they hold, but he told us he was staying on for our sakes. whether or not that's true, i have no idea, but i know he was tired of being the one to do everything for the properties. he's not a young man, and i'm sure he didn't expect "retirement" to consist of going all over the place to manage so much on his own. i really hoped he could hold on until we were out, but i can understand him not waiting. he's tired, and honestly, our luck has ever been bad. i am planning on doing everything i can to get the hell out come tax time, but that will be difficult if the return is less that $4000 (and even that will be a challenge, considering we have to pay off all our current utilities, pay deposits on the new utilities, pay pet deposits, plus all deposits associated with the new place).

then we received a letter from the manager/landlord asking us to be completely caught up (with $625 due) by the end of this month.

let me say first, i get it. he wants out, and he wants nothing left for him to deal with.

but, and there's big buts here, for one, this implies the rent for january would be due the first (since he'd be out and he wants everything in the clear with his partners when he goes, i have to assume they're not going to wait until the end of january for january rent even though we've been paying end of the month since a few months after we moved in), which means i'd have to come up with $1600 by the first. last month i managed to find $300 for rent. that was it. $1600 in 2 weeks is impossible. we have made arrangements to get $1600 around the 10th, i just can't come up with any of that money before then. it's impossible.

second, the letter almost gives the impression that he expects saxy to be working full time now that he's out of school. saxy would kind need a full time job for that to happen, and even if he had one, the impact of the increased hours wouldn't hit until the last check of the month. saxy's last day was the 17th. before that, he didn't have the time for full time. there's no way to get the extra hours to impact earlier than the end of the month, assuming he'd have extra hours, which he doesn't. saxy's next two weeks will result in smaller paychecks. yea, there's catering going on, but not as much as you would think for the weeks of christmas and new year's. even i was surprised at how little work there is right now.

finally, that he's been allowing us to pay at the end of the month, sometimes into the next month, for the previous month's rent is an implied contract (another woman who owns rental properties told me this). my only problem with that is that i don't know if his management extends to his partners. anyway, i can see him requiring the $625, but it still puts us in a bad place with people we aren't familiar with for january's rent.

in the end, there's nothing really i can do about the situation. i might be able to scrounge up another $300 by the end of the month, but no way I could come up with the entire $625 and not have utilities disconnected. and definitely no way i could come up with the entire $1600 to cover us until the end of january before the 10th. i'm very annoyed he sent us this letter despite us asking, and him agreeing to, for the 10th as the date to get everything caught up. what changed in the two or three days since we talked to him for him to push for it to be managed by the end of the month? the only thing i can think of is that his partners basically told him he couldn't resign until everything was caught up. and that doesn't bode well for us.

honestly, i'd move now (christmas week and all) if i could. i've seen some good deals on craigslist and am just hoping similar stuff will be around come march. but even with $500 move ins, we just do not have the funds now to cover everything we need to be able to bail. it's really frustrating in some ways: good housing deals are out there, take pets, etc etc, and a move would be so much better for our bottom line (not just in rent but also in lowering our utility costs), but we just don't have the means.

if we can muddle through this mess, we'd have at least until the end of january covered. we need to make it until march or april. it's so much easier to navigate two or three more shitty months than four. the difference seems small unless you're in that position, but trust me, it looks huge from here. i've been good at managing most our financial challenges, with only a few hiccups here and there (except the rent, which has been covered by others for a few months now; and we are ever so grateful for that help, but we don't expect it to continue—we know better than to rely on it), but this challenge scares me. one screw up and i have no idea where we'll land. and i really wish the "landlord" had just kept to the plan without this pressure, because in the end, there's nothing i can do about it. but it will be in the back of my mind, and i'll be worrying about receiving an eviction notice. not something i expected to have to deal with during christmas.

by the same token, i know wherever we land, we'll figure out a way to make it through. we always have, sometimes with help, sometimes completely on our own. like i said, challenges are nothing new to us. this is just one more. it just would have been nice to have an extra month to deal with it, an extra month for saxy to find another job to add to the catering. this is a bad time for a challenge to begin, but it is what it is, i guess. just have to stand up and meet it, right?

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word of the moment: stodging

when a chef works as an apprentice for the experience without being paid; to stuff full especially with food


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