And here’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for – or at least the moment I’ve been waiting for – the last post (probably) from the house I’ve been renting for the last four years. I moved in basically sigh unseen. My furniture was about 24 hours behind me and it met all the major criteria. Basically it was available immediately and it had a fence. If I had to describe it in a word, I’d say the house as been “serviceable.” I’ve had my troubles with the place, but it’s been a good enough roof over my head and I’m sure next week when I drive past it I’ll look at it a little more fondly that it probably deserves. Sitting here now with boxes piled on every flat surface is not exactly bittersweet – I’m enormously pleased to be leaving – but there have definitely been a few moments of nostalgia this morning. There won’t be time for that tomorrow.
If I’m honest I’m still finding it a little hard to believe I’m a homeowner again. The reality hasn’t quite sunk in yet, although it got a little more real yesterday when two trucks and a trailer’s worth of “stuff” were deposited. George the Russian Tortoise has even taken up residence already so I’ll make at least one trip down this afternoon there to see how he made it through the night. I know it will feel a lot more like mine tomorrow evening when the furniture is basically in place and the dogs are threatening to trip me at every turn. At the moment, even with a few of my odds and ends there, it still feels like a big empty house – someone else’s big empty house. I keep expecting the old owner to wander down the hall and ask what the hell I’m doing in his house.
It feels a little like I’ve been in some stage of moving since I pulled up stakes in Memphis. In fact there are still boxes taped shut from that move that will get loaded on the truck tomorrow. That probably explains a bit about why I’ve never felt entirely settled here. We’re about to resolve that issue… and I can’t wait to get this all behind me so I can get out of a “moving” mode and into a “living” mode.
A quarter mile from house I stopped this afternoon to help a guy pull two dogs off his collie. I could tell just rolling up on it that his pup was getting worked over and he either had the good sense or lacked the stones to do more than yell and flail his arms like a eight year old girl. Of course my critique of him isn’t the point.
I saw one of those two loose dogs yesterday afternoon running the neighborhood. What I didn’t see yesterday was the foot of broken cord on her collar, telling me that she wasn’t just a dump and run, but she is probably from somewhere relatively local. Fortunately, she was docile and let me chase her off without putting up a fight. The male was more aggressive. He had the collie pinned and tried turning on me as soon as I got my hands on his collar. Now I didn’t have any intention of getting bit myself and God knows I wasn’t going to let go, but I’m not proud of saying I rang his bell with a size twelve Doc Marten under the chin. Wild as he was, I still feel bad about that. At least it stunned him long enough to reconsider his options. He backed off and let the guy to retrieve his dog.
It was obvious from the look of them that they belong to someone. They weren’t thin, but from the look of things, the female of the pair had a litter waiting for her somewhere. She was bold enough to come over for a nuzzle, but wouldn’t let me get close enough to wrangle her before running off. I hope these two find their way home sooner rather than later. I don’t really know what else is to be done, but I’ll give animal control a call tomorrow during business hours so maybe they’ll stand a chance of getting picked up rather than flattened.
With all that said, I think everyone reading this knows I’m as big an animal lover as you’re likely to find. I love furry critters far more than I love people. I don’t blame them for being loose or aggressive. I blame the owner – the asshat who obviously left at least one strong 50-pound dog tied out at the end of a piece of cheap paracord. I hope those two find their way home even if that’s to people who don’t deserve them, because if they make it to this side of the hill and try to tangle up with either of the two that live here, I won’t be anywhere near as dainty as the guy with the collie.
The transition from homeowner to tenent hasn’t been what I would call smooth. As a homeowner, I probably established what most would consider slightly exagerated expectations for service and reliability. When things broke, they went to the top of my list of things to fix, I either went to Lowe’s for the appropriate equipment and supplies or called in the trades to get the job done. As a tenant, obviously the process is a little different. I call the property manager and leave a voicemail. I wait a day. Then I call again and follow up with an email. Then I wait a day. Then I call again and usually manage to talk to him on this third attempt where he says “oh yeah, I’m working on that. I’ll be over tomorrow.” And then we wait some more.
As it stands as of this morning, I’m waiting on six different things to happen: 1) The former tenant’s junked Ford Expedition is still sitting in the driveway. That was supposed to be moved out sometime around June 6th; 2) The 19 inch television sitting on the deck that the property manager says he wants to take to his hunting camp. It’s been rained on three times in the last two weeks. Yeah, that will probably still be sitting there a month from now; 3) The wire dog run was supposed to go at the same time he picked up the Expedition; 4) The garbage disposal went out early this week. He still hasn’t acknowledged the messages I’ve sent about that; and 5) The $100 washing machine that he said had been rebuilt will do everything a washing machine is supposed to do… except drain the water once the tub is filled. I left a voicemail about that yesterday, but when I drove by the manager’s place on my way to the laundromat yesterday afternoon his truck and boat were gone, so there’s not much chance he was paying attention to that; 6) The moldy wall has been nicely cut and hauled away – but that leaves the small matter of having a large part of the basement I can’t do anything with until, you know, it has actual walls again.
The actual owner lives in Germany now, so once I dig up his address Monday morning I’ll get a message off to him. I’ve tried being the good neighbor, but since that doesn’t seem to get results worth a tinker’s damn, I’ll have to start being the sonofabitch neighbor who beats on the letter of the lease. This should be fun.