We’ve moved again. I think out of all the Amigos, I’ve succeeded in moving the most. This move was pretty smooth…considering I had the flu for ¾ of it. Paco and Pecos helped with the process, the three of us, and our limited physical prowess were able to move lots of heavy items, some of which went upstairs in a pretty small amount of time.

The house we just moved from was an interesting story.

We had just sold our home, and needed a rental. My wife’s mother who owns a property management firm, had a good place for us. It was an 1800 sq. ft. 4 bedroom house, in a nice neighborhood, good location, etc. The rent was $1100 a month, utilities included. That was a sweet deal. The deal was so good BEACAUSE the owner was trying to claim residency in the house, so he could sell it, and avoid paying considerable taxes on it. The deal seemed too good to be true, and I had weird feelings about moving into the house before we even decided it was a good idea.

The first thing that set me off was the fact he wouldn’t allow our dog to come. He was dead set against dogs, and Weimaraners even more. Apparently a Weimaraner pee’d on his mother at one some point in his life…and he’s had it out for them since. The end point was, no matter what…the dog had to go.

That wasn’t a fun process for me, I had to spend over $200 to GIVE my dog away to a good home. Plus the loss of time, money, and training that he had. This was the first “rift” with our agreement with out landlord…Walt.

Walt agreed ahead of time to pay the utilities, and being as he was trying to convince the world he was “living” in our house, the bills were in his name, and sent to our house. He also had a mail key to come get the bills, and collect rent when he wanted. He was always very good at collecting the rent, but failed to grab his bills. I noticed them stacking up, but figured, he had a plan, or something, because most people who were paying bills would want to get them or inquire about them at some point. I called him once to tell him, but that was it.

This came to be a problem.

We were having dinner guests one evening, and in the middle of preparations, the power went out. It had been raining off and on, so I assumed a car had hit a power poll, and the power was out everywhere. An hour passed, and I noticed a lot of our neighbors still had lights on…this was confusing. Finally, a light bulb in my head (where utility bills remain up to date) clicked on, and I wondered about those bills in the mailbox. I ran and grabbed the stack.

Sure enough, he’d forgotten to pay the bills long enough the city had shut the power off. I called Walt up to let him know, he’d forgotten to pay the bills, and we had no power.

One thing he did very well was make everything out to be someone else’s fault. He tried to blame the fact we didn’t tell him there were bills, for his not paying them. We told him one time. I brought up the fact he HAD a mail key, and was welcome to get them when he got his rent check. He said he wasn’t comfortable looking through our mail. Then why do you need a mail key? He got the power turned back on, but made sure we knew what it cost him to pay the deposit.

A few weeks passed and he called to tell us, he couldn’t believe we had the sprinklers going during the rain. He never told us how to work them, let alone where they were. That was the first I knew that they even worked. We turned them off.

A month passed and we had a message on our phone. We were apparently using too much electricity. Compared to the bills at his house ours were way too high. He was comparing his house, with our house because they were roughly the same Sq. Footage. The fault in his logic was.
A) They were in different cities.
B) We’re a family of 4. It’s just him and his wife.
C) They both work all day, there’s a good chance 3 of the 4 members of our family are home at any given point on any given day.
D) We have small children, we need to keep the house warmer than older people might be able to withstand.
E) Had he checked the averages for our house prior to us living there he’d have found they were only about $25 lower per month.

About this time Walt also decided to cancel using my wife’s mother as his property manager. Keep in mind he was about 3 months behind on paying her. I detect a pattern with this guy.

The next month we got a letter saying our rent was being increased by $200 a month because we were just unable to reduce our electricity useage, and we should try and be more conservative, or face further increases. $200 was MORE than our utilities had ever come to.

With that, we decided to put in our 30-day notice. He’s been calling us all the time since we turned in notice to “show the property.” This means our schedules are put off by him, and his schedule. Whatever, we’re done with that place.

When Kristen’s mom called him, as our property manager to verify that we lived there for our new landlord Walt answered his phone…”Hello this is Jeff.” He did it twice too, then when we got home, and used the same number…”Hello, Walt here…” Why would he be so childish?

We’re pretty concerned now that he’ll try every way he can to keep as much of the deposit as he can. I think he plans on getting his electricity deposit back out of ours. The problem is, I’m not sure he’s aware of all the rules regarding deposits, and how quickly they have to be returned to the renters. By law, if it isn’t returned within a set period of time ( I think 21 days)…you get it ALL back. We’re starting the clock the minute we turn in the keys. If his past practice of paying things on time is constant…we should get it all back.

The problems with living in this house were
1) It was BIG…took a lot to clean it up. It was nice, but a little too big.
2) IT was located on wetlands, which made the ground harder to drain…which meant having a swampy back yard nearly all the time, which made mowing difficult, and playing with the kids difficult too. It also made for lots of bugs, namely ants and spiders.
3) It had matte wall paint, which is you know anything about paint, is hard to clean…you can’t just wipe things off like with semi-gloss, or gloss. With kids that’s not fun.
4) The carpet was Berber from 50 years prior. It was old, matted, and felt like walking on fuzzy concrete. It was white, and got dirty constantly.

Things I liked about it;

1) The location. It was 5 minutes from the mall, and shopping, and 10 minutes from work. It had great freeway access, and was 4 minutes from my mom’s house for babysitting.
2) It was big, and made entertaining, and storing everything we had a lot easier.

Overall, I’m glad to be moving. Sure, I’m moving farther away from all those things I listed above, but the house has more character, and my kids love the stairs, and the “weird” shape of it. I’m lacking the storage I had in my other place, but that’s good…it’ll force us to narrow down our possessions, and have a garage sale. I’ll be able to get another dog, sure, not MY dog who is now NOT MY dog, but someone in Oregon’s, but a new dog.

But the thing I like BEST about this new house….

Walt isn’t ever going to call me again.