This past month has been filled with drama and stress. It started when my landlord informed me that he was selling the house. It’s a two-family house and I felt sure that any new owner would keep the upstairs tenants and move into the first-floor apartment, my apartment, which has access to the backyard. That meant that I would have to move. I hate moving. I started to throw out all the things that weren’t “move-worthy.” Several garbage bags later, I realized that I was shoveling the tide. Half the stuff in my apartment wasn’t worth moving, but that still left a ton of stuff I would have to move.
First things first, I thought. I have to know where I’m going, and so I started looking for a new place to live. I love my location, and I know that’s the number one thing about real estate, location. So I didn’t want to move far away. I started walking the neighborhood looking for apartments to rent. I only found one. It was one block away on Duke Street. Duke Street. It’s an omen, I thought. I’ve often thought that if I lived on Duke Street, I could call myself the Earl of Duke, a play on the Gene Chandler song, The Duke of Earl. Awesome. I wasn’t dreading the move anymore. I had something to look forward to, so I made an appointment to look at the place.
The outside was cool, with an all brick sidewalk, like something from a hundred years ago, like something from The Wizard of Oz. I started singing “Follow the yellow brick road,” while I waited for the real estate agent to show up. Then Kendra showed up and gave me a tour of the apartment. It didn’t take long. It looked like one of those Manhattan apartments where they had sub-divided a closet to make two apartments. It was really tiny, but it had a balcony facing east. So, it had a few things going for it – It was on Duke Street, at the end of a yellow brick road, and it had a balcony. It also had a tub instead of just a shower. Now I could soak my arthritic hip in Epson salts instead of just spraying WD-40 on it. So, it was small, but it had four things going for it. I told the real-estate agent I would take it.
Not so fast. Would they take me? They wanted a tenant who earned 2.5 times the monthly rent. I don’t even have a job and I haven’t worked in years. “I am collecting Social Security, though,” I blurted out, hopefully.
Not enough. I have money in the bank, though, I pleaded. Now I really wanted the apartment.
“Okay, but you’ll have to fill out some forms and we’ll do a credit check, blah, blah, blah.”
I filled out the forms. Then I went back to my apartment. It looked like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, without the helium balloons. There was a steady stream of prospective buyers and real-estate agents walking through the house. I just went numb. Almost every one of the prospective buyers were young married couples, and they all looked like they would love to become landlords and have the upstairs tenants pay the bulk of their mortgage. I didn’t stand a chance of being able to stay in my apartment.
Even though I didn’t officially have the new apartment yet, I told my landlord that I was moving to Duke Street and I would live out my security deposit in the month of June. He tried to talk me into just paying the June rent and collecting the security deposit when I left. I figured he would then pull some crap and find a way to say that I left the place a mess and he was keeping the security deposit. I was sure this was a possibility, because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get rid of all my junk in just one month. I had accumulated a lot in five years. Odds were that I really was going to leave the place a mess. I also had a bunch of furniture that I bought over the years that wouldn’t fit in the new apartment, and I couldn’t even lift it to throw it out. So, to make sure I didn’t lose my security deposit, I insisted on using my security deposit for the last month’s rent, and he reluctantly agreed.
Then I got a brain flash. I called my old friend Joe Becker, who sold me all the furniture before his second-hand furniture store went out of business. He said he still had contacts. He would take any furniture I didn’t want to move, sell it, and split the money with me. Awesome sauce.
I still hadn’t heard back from the Duke Street apartment, but I was pretty sure that nobody else was interested in the apartment because it was so tiny. And I was feeling much better about the place because I now knew I didn’t have to worry about my excess furniture. I could just move clothes and household items in, and then buy smaller furniture with the money I would get from selling my big furniture.
I breathed a sigh of relief. I was finally looking forward to moving. So, I e-mailed the rental agent to see if they came to a final decision yet. No, not yet. They were still considering my application.
My phone buzzed. I had a message. It was my landlord. The house sold to someone who wants it as investment property and he wants all the tenants to stay. Did I want to stay?
Does a bear shit in the woods? Of course, I wanted to stay. I had tried to convince myself that moving would be okay, but I knew deep down inside that I really didn’t want to move, and I certainly didn’t want to downsize so drastically. I love my big roomy apartment and the private backyard, which I’ve nicknamed, The Social Butterfly Saloon.
I hustled over to his house and gave him a check for the June rent.
So, the bad news is, I’m not going to be the Earl of Duke. There’ll be no yellow brick road, no balcony facing the rising sun, or Epson soaks in the tub. But the good news is I’m staying right where I am, in a location I love, and I don’t have to try and get my proverbial 100 pounds of stuff into a 3-pound bag.
“Oh Auntie Em, there’s no place like home.”
There’s no place like home.
There’s no place like home.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,