Tag Archives: conversations

let sleeping dragons lie Pt IV, rubble

So apparently my email to Linda hit a nerve. I wasn’t originally going to post her reply but… the more I read it, the more it needs to be shared. I think you’ll agree.

I went to bed around midnight last night, and I was done. Done with all of it.

The flicker of lightning woke me up around 3:30, and then I noticed my phone blinking a notification at me. It was an email. From Linda. Time-stamped 3:04 am. Well! That’s quite a time to be sending an email. Let’s see what it says. (Note: I have redacted some details to protect her family, as I don’t have evidence that they were involved in the illegal aspects of this shitshow.)

“You are correct.  I have no experience as a landlord nor have I as a tenant.  My intention for buying was to move in and share with family.  Several of my [family] live in Cincinnati and work at [places] nearby.  My [family] who lives [nearby] found the place.  We bought it very quickly without investigating. Since you had a lease, [family] was recovering from surgery, and my [family] and my place in [other state] hadn’t sold yet, I found that along with having the building,  I was to becoming a landlord by default.  And still did not have my own place in Cincinnati.  It was bad experience.  Thank you for taking the time to educate me.  I’ve learned I don’t want to be a landlord.”

Let’s unpack this gem, shall we?

First off: Who enters a legal contract with another person and goes, “huh, I know nothing about this, I’ll just wing it?” How… how dumb do you have to be?  I mean, the whole situation sounds like poorly thought-through and even more poorly executed mess, but really, winging a legal contract? Really?

Second: That’s a lot of excuses – a lot of excuses – I count five excuses and five irrelevant “life is hard” complaints masquerading as extenuating circumstances, correct me if I’m wrong – with not even an acknowledgement of any responsibility on her part whatsoever.

Third: No apology. Nothing even in the same galaxy as an apology. Not even a half-assed one. Not “Sorry you went through this,” or “Sorry this turned out the way it did.” Nothing.

I cannot even imagine the hubris it took to hit Send. Seriously though, you end up in legal jeopardy due to your own willful neglect, I decline to take you to court over it, you can’t even admit you had any responsibility in the matter, and don’t even attempt to apologize? Wow. I can’t quite decide if she’s too ashamed to let it go without attempting justification or too proud to admit she fucked up big. Could go either way, but judging by the snide and condescending tone, I’d bet on the latter.

But, the moral of the story stands. Don’t rent from Linda Wilson (Wilson Booth LLC). She’s already proven she’s a horrific landlord. She’s just built a pile of evidence against her as a person, as well.

Good riddance.

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let sleeping dragons lie Pt III, burn

Landlord‘s name is Linda Wilson. She is neglectful, uncommunicative, and unfit to be a landlord. Do not rent from her.

Right about when I had enough alcohol to calm me down Linda responded to my email last night, approaching midnight, destroying any chances I had of sleeping. It began:

“Dear Liz,

I assumed you decided to forego your deposit. [Yes, she actually typed that.]  I know you were working at cleaning but with the heat I thought you had given up. I took pictures which I will attach so you can see what all still needed to be done.  I hired someone to help.  She worked for over 15 hours at $20 an hour.  I paid her $300.  I will have a copy of the receipt made for you if you like.”

She then sent me a series of photos. The only actual cause against me were boxes left in the basement and some items on the porch, both of which I verbally cleared with her in the preceding weeks. Every other picture was of dust. Literally. Dusty windowsills, a cobweb in a corner.

She claimed “it was a big job” and offered me $150.

I could drag her into small claims court, dispute every charge she made against my deposit, and win almost all of them. And boy is that tempting, after all the shit she’s tried to pull. But the thought of dealing with her for that much longer… I couldn’t abide it. I accepted the offer, and I drafted an email laying out my case against her and why she is unfit to be a landlord. She dropped off the check this afternoon, and as soon as I deposited it, I sent the email.

—————

Linda,

Thank you for dropping off the check. Speaking as your now former tenant, I advise you to brush up on Ohio’s laws regarding the landlord-tenant relationship before leasing out the apartment again. I don’t know if you’ve ever been a landlord before but it’s painfully clear you don’t know what you’re doing. The only reason I haven’t taken you to small claims court is that I sincerely never want to deal with you again. But I could have, and was sorely tempted to. Here’s why.

According to statute in every state, the security deposit cannot be used to cover anything that is considered “normal wear and tear,” including dust. You had a legitimate case with the boxes. The bathroom would have been arguable. None of the other photos indicated any “damage” or excessive dirt that would have been considered neglectful on my part. These would not stand up in small claims court.

Relatedly, you seemed to think the boxes in the driveway were somehow something you could charge me for, on no grounds whatsoever. They were trash, as should have been patently obvious by the fact that they were sitting next to four full trash bins. They go out with those bins on the next trash day. There’s no legal basis to charge a tenant for something because you’re annoyed trash day happens after they turned in the keys.

Most importantly, I could take you to court solely on the basis of your email’s first line: “I assumed you decided to forego your deposit.” Again, I don’t know on what planet you think that’s legal or even reasonable. I gave you my forwarding address when I moved out, therefore within 30 days you had to either 1. return it to me or 2. provide me with an itemized list of why you were not. Those are your only options. You don’t get to decide to keep the deposit and not tell the tenant. That’s both incredibly slimy and ILLEGAL.

FURTHERMORE – and this is important – the only reason I’m forced to settle is because I contacted you yesterday, 7/26, instead of today, 7/27, which prompted you to send me your complaints. I have heard not a single word from you since I handed in my keys 30 days ago. Had I waited until Wednesday, the 30th day, you would legally owe me the entire deposit, plus interest, plus the prorated days, simply because you did not contact me. Read that again: Had I waited until Wednesday, the 30th day, you would legally owe me the entire deposit, plus interest, plus the prorated days, simply because you did not contact me. The only reason you get to keep ANY of my deposit is because I contacted you 24 hours too early.

I am kicking myself for that, but I am absolutely furious with you. You have failed to communicate with me at every stage. I thought you would have learned after you called me at the airport to yell at me for not being able to read your mind, but I was apparently mistaken. I wonder if you would have figured it out if you legally owed me the entire deposit because of your own neglect to contact me. You also seem to think you can charge a tenant because you’re annoyed at them, on no legal ground whatsoever. For your sake, I hope you get your act together before your next tenant has grounds to sue you. I am not optimistic. I am telling all my friends not to rent from you.

Good riddance.

Liz Remizowski

—————

Her name is Linda Wilson. Do not rent from her.

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let sleeping dragons lie Pt II, flashback

While we’re waiting for Landlord* to get her act together, I thought I’d share the airport incident referenced in Part I.

It was a Wednesday in early June. I had secured a place to live and was starting to pack. My neighbor was just about moved out from downstairs – we had been commiserating about the moving process for a few weeks. That morning, we met outside the apartment one last time. She said she had officially informed Landlord she was out, but Landlord told Neighbor to give me the keys and she’d pick them up. This seemed highly odd to me, and in retrospect should have been a red flag, but I took the key and wished her well. I sat it with my spare key on my bookshelf, figuring I’d be giving them back to Landlord all at the same time.

That afternoon, at 2:43, Landlord texts me.

Landlord: I am on my way over to get Neighbor’s key. Thanks
Me: (are you fucking serious? no notice? I’m literally on my way out the door to work.) I’ll be here another 5 mins, I have to leave for work
Landlord: Two minutes

I stood outside on the landing. Soon Landlord pulled in the driveway and I went down to hand her Neighbor’s key through her open passenger-side window. She gave me the most condescending smile I’ve ever seen and asked how the moving was going. I told her, “It’s going,” and when it became clear she had nothing else to say I turned around and got in my car. I was already angry with her at her unprofessionalism in handling this move and her condescension was not helping.

Meantime, I was also preparing to fly the next day to NY for a week to attend my cousin’s wedding and visit family. That night, I realized I would be gone for the only recyclable-pickup day left in June before I was scheduled to move out, so Thursday morning I shot Landlord a text:

Me: I’ll be out of state this afternoon returning 18 June- since Neighbor is gone, would it be possible for someone to put out the trash/recycle bins this Monday? Sorry about this, but it’s the last recycle day before I plan to move out
Landlord: Sure be glad to
Me: Thank you! I’ll let you know an official date as soon as I finalize with the movers
Landlord: [thumbs-up emoji, and another emoji my phone won’t process] (again with the unprofessionalism)

Good, got that taken care of. Now for my car. While Neighbor lived at our house, she had always parked in the narrow stone-walled driveway, and I in front of the house on the street. But since she had officially left I decided to park in the driveway while I was gone instead of paying for parking at the airport or leaving it on a side street.

I got a ride to CVG, got through TSA, and grabbed a table with an outlet in the food court. I finalized a date with the movers, then settled down with a podcast on my lappy and plenty of time to spare. After about half an hour, the phone rings. It’s not a number I recognize, but something tells me to answer. It’s Landlord.

Landlord: Hi, Liz?
Me: Yes?
Landlord: It’s Landlord.
Me: (I’ve got a bad feeling about this.) Hi, what’s up?
Landlord: Is that your car parked in the driveway?
Me: (oh no) Yes…
Landlord: Could you move it? I need access to the garage.
Me: (welp) Uh… I’m at the airport right now.
Landlord: (clearly not anticipating this answer) Oh…
Me: Yeah, I’m gonna be gone for a week. I told you that this morning.
Landlord: (getting angry) But you always park on the street!
Me: …because Neighbor parked in the driveway. That was our arrangement. Now that she’s gone, I parked there, since it is part of the property.
Landlord: (accusatory) You know I’m moving in downstairs, right?
Me: (don’t you dare with that tone) Sure, but you didn’t tell me when. I had no idea you were planning to move stuff in this week.
Landlord: I need access to the driveway for the moving truck!
Me: (and this is my problem, how?) You never said anything to me. We’ve spoken twice in the last 24 hours, I informed you I was going to be gone, you confirmed that you knew I’d be gone, and you never mentioned it. If you had told me, I could have moved it to a side street or to the airport. But you said nothing.
Landlord: (seeing this is her fault, grasping) Well… do you have a friend who has a key who can move it?
Me: No, I have the only key.
Landlord: (exasperated sigh) So you’re telling me I have to cancel the moving truck and rent storage space for my stuff for a week?
Me: (oh for fuck’s sake) I GUESS SO. I don’t know what you want me to tell you! You didn’t tell me you needed driveway access and now there’s nothing I can do. Maybe you should have communicated better.
Landlord: (at the end of her rope) I’m really frustrated!
Me: (at the end of MY rope) Yeah? Well frankly SO AM I. You call me up at the airport to yell at me for not reading your mind. You knew I was leaving for a week and you said nothing.
Landlord: I have to cancel the moving truck.
Me: (yep, you do) Again, I don’t know what you want me to do about it. You never mentioned it to me.
Landlord: Alright well… goodbye.

Un. Believable.

I was somewhat concerned she would try to move my car, since she obviously doesn’t think anything even halfway through. But she didn’t, either because she realized it would be several kinds of illegal or gave up because it would be too difficult. I thought this episode would teach her to communicate better, but as we can see from yesterday’s post, it did not. I did take some satisfaction (schadenfreude, admittedly) when she later informed me she couldn’t open the garage door anyway, because when RPM’s guys tried to fix it under the previous owner, they jammed it shut. There’s no way to open the garage door without destroying it.

*Oh yes, I’m releasing her full name in the next post. As soon as the check clears.

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conspiracy, in theory

The twins are slowly but steadily improving, despite having given up the Blow Pops practicing chart – practicing is still too much work, even if it means free candy. Now instead I give them letter grades on each piece: an A+ earns them a sucker. And I am not a lenient grader.

They have progressed enough that they are now getting acquainted with accidentals. As to be expected, Smash kind of gets it but has no patience or interest in really understanding what’s going on. His main interest is doing well enough to earn candy. For Clever, candy is a bonus (and awesome, obviously) and something to hold over his brother, but not his primary motivator. I can’t say he genuinely enjoys piano, but he’s certainly more interested than his brother and he’s quick to understand. So last night during his lesson, after we worked through a song in C position but with E always flatted, I thought this would be a good time to give him a peek ahead into the world of major and minor. He apparently had other ideas.

Me: There’s a question at the bottom of the page. “Which note is flatted throughout?”
Clever: Which note…. wait, what?
Me: What note always has a flat?
Clever: Ummmm…. A. No, G.
Me: What clef are we in?
Clever: OH! Um… E. E flat.
Me: Yes, good. Write that in.

He takes the pencil and writes “E” on the answer line. Then he keeps writing. This is not surprising; both he and Smash like to write and draw weird things on the music whenever they get hold of the pencil. Usually having to do with “Bobby,” their imaginary friend/alter ego (I have not been able to pin down which, exactly. “Bobby” can also apply to other people, such as me. For some reason). So I let him finish. He pulls his hand away and I see a triangle with… an eye in it? Is that…?

Me: What is that?
Clever: (matter-of-factly) Illuminati.
Me: Okay then.  …why, exactly?
Clever: Wait.

He keeps drawing. I can’t quite see around his hand. There’s a shape, with some letters? And now he’s writing. This ought to be good. I wait until he pulls his hand away, and…

There’s a rectangle with some letters in it, and some words. And before I can piece it all together:

any ideas?

illuminati eating butter

Clever: Butter.
Me: Butter?
Clever: Illuminati eating butter.

I couldn’t get any more information from him. Every time I asked a question he just repeated it as if it were a very simple and basic truth. I didn’t ask him if it had anything to do with “Bobby” – I’m honestly not sure I want to know the answer. But there it is, whatever it is. Illuminati eating butter.

(By the way, if anyone has any ideas/conspiracy theories, throw them my way. This one’s a puzzler.)

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damn nature, you scary

I was at Cincinnati Nature Center this morning hiking a few trails. Saw lots of wildlife including two deer. Between trails I decide to stop at one of their two bird blinds.

For those of you who don’t know what a bird blind is, let me explain. At its most basic, it’s a wooden wall with viewing slots in it. You can see the birds but they don’t notice you. The ones at CNC are actually small wooden buildings, like long sheds. There’s an open doorway and one long viewing slot along the opposite wall (about a 4″ gap, you can stick part of your forearm through it), several wooden benches, and that’s it. It’s a very basic structure, but comfortable and shielded from the elements.

I sit down for some bird viewing. I count almost ten species within a few minutes. Chickadees, cardinals, nuthatches, titmice, downy woodpeckers. Then one of the tufted titmice scares the crap out of me – flies through the viewing slot and out the door of the blind, missing me by not more than two feet. Now I know titmice are clever and curious and and cheeky, but this is obviously unusual. He somehow knew I was there and purposely got my attention. I notice he landed in the trees just outside the blind and as I turn back to the gap he starts yammering in his loud raucous distress call. Alright, something is agitating him. But he’s on the wrong side of the blind for that, all the birds are on my side. Then I hear a second one join him. They’re fighting? No, I don’t hear fighting sounds, just yelling. This doesn’t add up. So I stick my head out the door.

They’re both very close to the door; one flies higher up as I poke my head out but the other just hops to a different branch. I figure it’s over, whatever it is. But as soon as I go back inside he hops closer to the door and starts yammering again. What the hell? He’s right by the door.

This time I actually leave the structure, walk a few paces, looking around. He stops yelling. I turn toward him – he’s sitting in a tree between me and the blind, about five feet away, eye level, looking right at me. Alright, what’s up? Then I see a piece of black garden hose by the doorway start to move – no, no, that’s… not a hose. That’s a snake. Aha – I’m guessing this is what titmouse is yelling about?

The snake lifts its head up, about a foot. This is… not a small snake. Then starts slowly slithering into the blind. And keeps slithering… holy shit this snake is big. I’d say about six feet, conservatively. The titmouse flies away. Yeah, that’s definitely what titmouse is yelling about. Hey, big dumb human, there’s a giant snake! Seriously he’s right there! Right behind you! Watch your back! Thanks buddy! Good call!

snakeI snap a quick picture of the snake on the floor of the blind and start assessing the situation. He’s a medium sized snake, dark colored, almost black, with some kind of pattern on him, can’t see it too well in the shade. Triangular head, white belly. Being in Ohio not Australia, I figure statistics are on my side for him being not poisonous. Judging by the bulge in his middle, he’s eaten a small bird or rodent within a day or two. I follow him inside the structure staying back a little bit. I’m super curious, but he’s a snake. I’m not dumb.

He slithers along the back wall and up onto one of the benches. He’s slowly headed toward me. I move into the blind to see him better and give myself more room to maneuver. He doubles back toward the support beam he used to get on the bench. I hear something new… that’s not a bird sound. Is that… rattling? I get a little closer to see his tail. There’s a slight notch about half an inch from the tip, and sure enough it’s a tiny version of a rattle. As I’m watching, the snake slides his tail against the back wall, using it as a soundboard, amplifying the rattling. Welp. This human attended Zoo Camp and knows when she’s being threatened. Though likely not poisonous, he is a snake, and he is rattling at me. I don’t need to be told twice.

Okay, so now what? I’m in a dark bird blind, with a six-foot rattlesnake, and though I’m not scared, there are families with children everywhere. I hang in the doorway of the blind, hoping to see an official of some kind, keeping an eye on the snake which has crawled up the support beam and is now hiding itself in the eaves. The first humans to come by are a family of four; dad, mom, and two young boys:

Mom: Come on guys, let’s go see the birds!
Me: Uh, just so you know, there’s a big snake in here, probably a rattler.
Youngest son: COOL! (he heads straight for me, standing in the doorway)
Mom: (catching him) No, not cool. Thanks for telling us!
Me: Have you seen any employees or officials around? They should probably know.
Dad: No, but we can call them, here, I’ll look up the number.

Dad gets on the phone with the main desk, giving them the blind’s location and situation while I point out the snake to mom and the kids. I thank them and give them the location of the other bird blind. Dad says they’re sending someone over. I hang around for another few minutes waiting just in case I need to warn someone else with small children. The snake has meanwhile completely concealed himself in the eaves, probably curled up for a nap.

Eventually two park employees come, a man and a woman. He looks excited – he says he’s got his snake stick with him. Now I’ve seen snake sticks – they’re those mechanical grabby arms, or at the very least a long forked stick. This guy had a 6″ twig. I didn’t know what exactly he was planning to do with that against a 6′ snake, but I’m not the professional here. I point him up to the rafters. He stands on a bench and flashlights his phone to get a look. Yep, he’s in there! Probably curling up for some sleep. We all take a few pictures of the snake who is now wondering what the crap all these humans are doing, it’s naptime, go away.

titmouse

titmouse

The guy thanks me for calling him and explains that it’s a black rat snake, which can get to be eight feet long – not technically a rattler, but uses its little rattle to imitate one and will actually use dead leaves as an amplifier. I tell him about it rattling against the wall which we all agree is very cool. I have the woman text me her pictures because my phone’s camera wouldn’t focus in the dark. I thought they might post a sign or something, but they don’t. The snake is harmless unless provoked, just big and scary looking. I come back two hours later to see if the snake is still there. He is; curled up sleeping in a different cubby hole up in the eaves. I hope he doesn’t scare the crap out of some poor unsuspecting birder when he finally comes down – hopefully that brave little titmouse will be there to warn them too.

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“son ate”

So I’m trying to convince Hare that ‘winging it’ is insufficient and he actually has to read the notes on the page when he interrupts:

HareOH! Today we learned about these things in music class!

He draws a picture on top of the page: an eighth note without the head filled in. So I ask him:

Me: Do you know what those are?
Hare: I don’t remember, but they’re really fast.
Me: They’re called eighth notes.
Hare: OH YEAH! Don’t they go like this? (plays one key, a single time, as fast as he can)

Sidenote: if I had a dollar for every time a kid asked if that’s how you play an eighth note, I could retire by now. I have no idea where they get this notion.

Me: There are two eighth notes for every quarter note. Here, let me show you.

I draw him quarter-two eighths-quarter-quarter and play it for him, counting out loud, so he gets the idea. He does it himself.

Hare: But what about this one? (referring to the one he drew)
Me: Well, they have to be filled in, you don’t see open noteheads on eighth notes.
Hare: But they look like this.

Not understanding what he’s talking about, I pull out my Brahms score. Wall-to-wall eighth notes.

Me: Here, look at this. All these are eighth notes.
Hare: Whoa! That’s so many! But what do you do when you see all of these together?
Me: Oh, that’s just six of them stuck together. You know how bar lines make it easier to read? Barring eighth notes in bigger groups help you read them faster.
Hare: (scouring score) THERE! That’s what I was talking about! (points to a single eighth note – with a flag!)
Me: Ah, yes! when there’s only one of them, they look like that. But if there’s more than one, they join them together.
Hare: Can you play this for me?
Me: No, I’m not playing it for you.
Hare: Why not?!
Me: Well, first, I’d need a violinist…
Hare: There’s a violinist here! (referring to another teacher at the studio)
Me: Well, I don’t know if he knows it, and I’m not going to ask him. And on top of that, this piece is ten minutes long.
Hare: TEN MINUTES?
Me: Yeah. And that’s only the first movement. It’s like… the first chapter.
Hare: Well how many are there?
Me: Three.
Hare: SO THE WHOLE THING LASTS 30 MINUTES?
Me: Roughly.
Hare: You play for 30 minutes?
Me: Yes, regularly.
Hare: Wow, I’m gonna look it up! Is it on YouTube?
Me: Yes.
Hare: Okay. “Son Ate.” That’s how I’m gonna remember it. S-O-N-A-T-E. Son ate. (the score was German). (Very clever! But…)
Me: As much as that’s a great idea, you actually can’t look it up like that.
Hare: But why!? That’s the name of the song! (Yeah, song.)
Me: Yeah, but that’s a generic title. If you typed that into YouTube you wouldn’t find it. That would be like going to the library and asking for “book”.
Hare: (laughing) Okay okay I get it. So what do I look up?
Me: (writing a sticky note) Just type this in exactly: “Brahms Sonata Op. 78” and you’ll find it no problem. It’s incredibly pretty.
Hare: Okay I will!

I hope he actually listens to it.

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bologna

So I’m at Kroger, in line at the deli picking up some bologna and cheese when this man, probably about 40, walks up and asks nobody in particular:

Man: Do they have mortadella here?
Me: I think so, I’ve seen it here before.
Deli lady: I don’t see any in the case, I’ll go open a new one.
Man: Oh, thank you, so much. I’ll take a pound.

I am impressed with this guy.

Me: I haven’t had mortadella in years, not since I left New York. And I haven’t seen anyone else order it!
Man: Oh it’s so good, isn’t it?
Me: Yeah, I know.
Man: So what are you getting?
Me: Just some bologna today.
Man: (his face brightens) You know, we always forget about the simple things, like bologna!
Me: I know! I grew up in an Italian and Polish neighborhood, so I got the real stuff. And this is as close to that as I’ve found.
Man: Oh really? What are you getting? Which bologna?
Me: The regular one, not the all-beef, just the plain old cheap stuff. It’s as close to homemade out in the smokehouse as I’ve had.
Man: I’ll have to get half a pound of that!
Me: And if you like garlic…
Man: I LOVE garlic…
Me: you’ll have to try their garlic bologna. It’s not kidding around.
Man: I will definitely do that! Ah, the simple things. (Another man who I presume to be his partner comes by with some baguettes; he mentions the addition of bologna to the order and they are both pleased at the idea.) So what are you going to do with yours? Sandwiches?
Me: Sometimes I do sandwiches but I’m actually going to fry it up with some eggs…
Man: I LOVE IT FRIED! Fried bologna is the best. We had these friends in Russia who just loved it that way. We got hooked!
Me: Yeah, I grew up on the stuff, learned it from my dad.
Man: So good and so simple! Ah, perfect.

By that point the woman handed me my bologna and cheese. So I wished the man well as he ordered his own bologna. We were both smiling. Seriously, how can you not? Boar’s Head makes some seriously good bologna.

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