Let's Call This Post "Thoughts After Three Coke Zeroes"

I really hate confrontation.

But, not in the same way normal people don't like confrontation. I don't like it because I'm afraid I won't win. It's not that I'm afraid that I'll hurt someone's feelings or burn a bridge or say things I can't take back. I'm afraid they might not walk away haggard going "damn, she's good". (Being married to me doesn't only empty your bank account! It also comes with the added benefit of my furrowed brow in your face saying things like "Nice try, buddy. Why don't you save that one for your next wife.")

Anyway. My stomach is in knots right now because I mailed our 30 day notice last Friday and I am just waiting for that phone to ring. The owners are not going to be pleased. Even though we have every right to leave, I'm afraid they'll threaten to sue us for breaking our lease.

I really don't like being in this position. Renting someone else's house. Taking care of their plants, their plumbing, their floors and windows and walls.

It's like very, very expensive house-sitting.

This is the perfect time to interject a story. (A story within a story! Like Russian nesting dolls!) So, my 10 year old nephew - who lives in the Bay Area and, bless his heart, has parents who made wise investments which have allowed them to have a house and also a vacation home - was visiting when we first sold our house and rented this one. I'm pretty sure this was his first exposure to a renter. At least in it's natural habitat.

My nephew was sitting in the kitchen where my mom and I fixed him breakfast and when I left the room he eyed the cereal I had served him and whispered to my mom "Do they own these spoons?".

Don't you just want to spread him on toast and eat him?

Anywho. The renting after owning thing is a little pride-swallowing. Especially because we're in an area where I think renters walk around with big question marks over their heads. Everyone wants to know their "story". "What happened?" the neighbors ask cringing, "Was it a short sale? Foreclosure? Did you get one of those fancy adjustable loans?".

The truth is, what happened to us last year was a precursor to what was about to happen to the entire country. And I'm still very proud of us that we went about it the way we did. We didn't walk away. We didn't give up. We fought tooth and nail to get our house sold and get the banks every dime we could.

But, we've already discussed that now haven't we?

I also feel the need to explain that we are in a much better position now financially. We're slowly recovering, but seeing as Chris and I are both still in real estate, I think coupon clipping is our new normal. And I admit I am still having some trouble wrapping my brain around that.

Although, I have discovered THE secret to cutting your grocery bill by 70%, people. If you're serious email me and I will share the website but I'm not going to just hand out this gold, ok? And if you shop where I shop then I'm a little worried about telling you because IsweartoGod if we both go for the last 4 boxes of Cheerios I will rip that Buy 4 Get 1 Free coupon from your hand so fast, you have no idea. Nothing personal. Coupons have become somewhat of my dirty little secret around here.

And I do mean dirty since Chris keeps asking me when I'm going to be "1/2 off".

Anyway, about the house. So. Remember how much I loved this house when we moved in? Well, it was really the view I loved. The house itself, it quickly became evident, is in major disrepair. In 12 months, guess how many floods we've had? Five! In one year! And guess who cares even less than you probably do? Oddly enough, the owners!

Five major leaks have forced me to call the owners, who promptly show up, slap some glue on the pipes and head back to their million dollar home with a smile. And the language barrier is so not helping (they're Chinese). Every time I greet them it's with clenched teeth and an unhappy face.

"Another leak" I'll say all piss and vinegar.

They grin back.

"A-noth-er leak" I'll repeat slowly a tad less pissy now.

And by the time I repeat myself five times so that they finally start nodding and saying "Oh, yes! Another leak! Yes!" I find myself grinning and my own head bobbing enthusiastically along with them. As if to say yes, yes! This leak is the best one yet! Do you have more, you think?

So, they may be surprised to get our 30 day notice and find that flood water doesn't, ahem, float my boat after all. I'm sure there will be some not so nice words. I just really am hoping they're not in my language.

The upside is we did find a new house - smaller, cheaper, cuter, drier - and I'm hoping for YET ANOTHER new beginning there. I'll have 2 jobs instead of 3 (slacker!) and my own office to write (am going to be super blogger updater!). Plus, the floors are hardwood that awakens a special place in my heart. A place where brown tile and crappy linoleum have been hanging out and eating all the snacks.

So, yes, yet another move is on the horizon, but this one feels so right. A fresh start. And who isn't in the mood for some more moving boxes jokes? Those never get old.

Speaking of old. And moving. I'm going to see The Mean Moms tomorrow night at Back To School Night. (That's right, I said it.)

Or what I'm sure will be referred to as "Back To Hell Night". Or "How We Manage To Ignore Lena Even Though She's Sitting In a Tiny Classroom With Us Night". Or "How Loud Can We Laugh With the Teacher While Glancing at Lena To Make Sure She Notices Night". I'm maybe considering bringing my camera to take some not so flattering pictures.

It should provide excellent blog fodder at best. And a restraining order at worst. But, what else is new?


jonniker said...

Renting after owning BLOWS. BLOWS. Well, except that I still own, I just rent to someone else. In the midst of it now -- on our second rental in less than a year, in fact. Good times.

And my God, good luck.

DaisyCake said...

please do bring your camera. Do it for your faithful readers!

(I'm so glad I never deleted your blog from my Google Reader! Surprise! Cheeky Lotus is back!)

Kristin said...

Lena, Your back! Can we finally have coffee? I am the one with the permanent Starbucks cup and the big glasses to hide my eyes... oh wait, maybe that's Rachel Zoe...

Also, well done on the whole house nightmare last year... looking at the shit that is going on right now, you have every right to be proud of making that situation work.

Jay said...

As a perpetual renter, I can relate. And as the husband of punch-pulling woman, I can doubly relate to Chris. Maybe he can be my friend!

Emily said...

yay for moving! i mean, :/

Y said...

I meant it when I said I don't know how I lived my life without you as my friend. And these women have you there, every day, close enough to go have coffee with! Or to learn about keyboarding! And they act like they're too good for you? THEY'RE EFFING CRAZY. And dumb.

I love you.

Penny said...

YAY Lena is back! I say tear those snotty bitches to hell tonight! And of course take pictures ;)

La Petite Chic said...

As someone who's home is currently valued at less than we owe (curse the DC metro area housing market), I've become a coupon clipper too. Please do share your secret!

DianaCLT said...

Just share your secret with us, already! Although..I think I know what it already is and just haven't gotten involved with it yet. ;)

The first place that DH and I rented was a nightmare. Oh sure, they got rid of the previous renters and patched up the numerous holes in the walls before we moved in. Oh sure, I threw away that crack pipe I found in that little cabinet over the stove. And it really IS a nice area. But---the flooding! ACK! It was a 2-story townhome, and literally flooded at both levels - numerous times! We had water coming up from the ground, through the carpet and tile in the bottom floor dining room and kitchen. And water coming down from the sky, saturating the walls and ceiling of our guest room. This was one of those years where Southern California actually got TOO MUCH rain. Did I mention we were preparing to wed? Oh yeah. And the mold was that REALLY unhealthy black mold? And that I had a severe lung infection that 5 different antibiotics couldn't knock out for 4 months? So bad, that I couldn't even walk up the stairs without stopping to rest? I swear, it was sheer willpower that got me healthy again. When my doctor said he wasn't sure I ought to go on my *honeymoon,* I'd had enough - I willed myself well! And then we got our 17 rolls of film developed (pre-digital camera era). And the ground floor flooded again, destroying pics and negatives that I'd (stupidly) stored in a box on the dining room floor. Ugh. Just thinking about it, 9 1/2 years after the fact, depresses me. I need a drink. Anyone want to join me? Yes, I know it's 9:26...I'll wait 'til a more suitable hour (when DH is home to watch the kids, too)...but the invitation is out there!

Lena said...

dianaclt - OMG. We have mold too! I'm a-scared.

DianaCLT said...

Lena! THAT (the mold) is your "out!" If they try to hold your security deposit or accuse you of breaking your lease, tell them you expect a full refund because of the mold! It is a health and safety hazard! Do any of you have asthma or breathing problems, or have you since this nightmare began?? Seriously! We got a full refund. And honestly - our landlord was lucky, because we spent sooooo much money on all of my doctor visits, prescriptions (that didn't work), etc!!! Good luck! Fingers are crossed for you!!! It's a totally legitimate reason to GET OUT!!! :-D

Linsey said...

I am renting and I HATE it! I need to feel like it is mine. It is hard to feel "home".

Please oh PLEASE sneak in some pics of the "mean Moms".

The Over-Thinker said...

Best of luck with the bitches and the move!! Do you have any pictures of the new place? I love being an internet voyeur. (Speaking of restraining orders...)

Samurai Beetle said...

I'd like to be renting again. I bought my condo 3 years ago and now I'm stuck in Florida. Really stuck, I can't sell it or I'll lose alot of money. I hate being stuck. Renting gives so much flexibility.

samantha said...

Hey! I'm so glad you are back!! I went through my own financial meltdown along side of you last year. I was a lurker to be sure (I think I may have commented a time or two about kid stuff) but I felt so comforted knowing that someone else who was smart and thoughtful, someone who had made plans carefully crafted out of hopes and dreams was dealing with this unexpected crap too. I'm now encouraging two sets of friends though the same situation and I have to say WHEW!!!! I'm sooo glad I got through it before the flood gates opened.
I think of your story often when I talk to them and actually heard my self telling one of them I had a friend...meaning you... who went through this at the same time last year and not to feel bad it happens to the best of us. It's funny. You don't even know I exist, I don't even have my own blog (working on it) yet I acidentally referred to you as a friend. Welcome back and belated thanks for all of your emotional support last year. You made my own breakdown a little easier to get through. I'm grateful.

Melissa said...

Lena, so glad your back. I thought I'd check to see if you've been blogging and what a surprise! I really enjoy your blog.

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