4.21.2017

a good old-fashioned meltdown

I haven't used my blog to write a rant in years, but today feels like the right day to bring it back. I used to write them almost daily about my horrible nonprofit job years ago. Remember Passion for Fashion? She was a girl who tried to dress like Kim Kardashian and was as snooty as could be, and it was my responsibility to train her. I still get a chill down my spine when I think of her and her top-knot so tight it gave me a migraine.

All you people who only like to write about sunshine and fairies and unicorns? You might want to find another blog to read today, because I am unhinged. This is coming off an already terrible week involving cat vomit, broken toilets, and screaming babies. Honestly, I'm writing this so someday I can look back and see how far we've come. Because this has to end someday; it has to.

Our housing situation hasn't changed since I last wrote about it, whenever that was. Our realtor retired out of the blue, so we found another who came highly recommended by some friends of ours. She has been a NIGHTMARE. She's been deceitful, unhelpful, unavailable, and very rude. More than once she's belittled my decision to stay home with Gracie, and even laughed at me for wanting to attempt homeschool (at least for the early years). Gracie screams whenever she's around and I don't even blame her. We have the contact info for another realtor, but we haven't contacted him yet and I'm not completely sure why. Actually, I do know why. THE HOUSING MARKET IS ON CRACK. Houses selling in hours. Literally, hours. The produce guy and I almost hugged at the grocery store yesterday because our stories are identical. We've been house-hunting for over a year and have lost in some nasty bidding wars. He recently bid $30,000 OVER the asking price and STILL LOST. That's what's happening in my city right now. Yes, we have looked in surrounding areas, please don't ask.  Yes, we have done/tried/looked at everything you want to suggest, so please don't. It's not better anywhere within driving distance.

We've decided we don't want to buy at the top of the market. I am not about to spend $30k more on a house than it's really worth. James and I both feel deep down in our gut to lay low for awhile, so that's what we've done. I still check the listings every day, and even though our budget is not bad, there is NOTHING we would want. People are unloading their crap houses full of mold and 1960s carpet, and they know they can get away selling it as-is for far more than it's worth.

So, as you know, we're stuck in our townhouse where we've been for SIX. YEARS. Well, this exact one for almost 4, but this complex for 6. I bristle when people call it an apartment. I know it technically is, but our office refers to it as a townhouse, it has 2 stories, and saying that makes me feel less like I'm living in college housing. Can you tell I'm, grasping at straws here? This is my mental state over this mess. For an apartment (ugh) complex, it's actually really nice. The location is fantastic, we have a ridiculous amount of closets, a gorgeous wood-burning fireplace, vaulted ceilings, and plenty of space, and the management is very good about handling things. If this were a single family home, I might even buy it. Rent here is also insane at the moment, so we're paying almost double what we did in 2011. Not to mention, the neighbors.

I might as well introduce you to our neighbors--at least the ones I know. When I say "know," I mean "I've seen them." No one here is that friendly or outgoing, so I don't actually know anyone other than the guy and his fiance who let Gracie play with their dog. Our downstairs neighbor is the pot smoker. I hate him with the power of a thousand burning suns. I know it's unChristian to hate, but he is awful. He's made me so sick for months, and he gives me a death glare so intense that makes me wonder if he's about to physically assault me. I don't even feel safe around him. The day he moved in, he knocked on our door and introduced himself. He was SO nice and I thought maybe we would be friends. He looked past me, took one look at my mom holding Gracie, and I'm not kidding--he turned around and walked away without saying anything. That's the kind of person I'm dealing with. Our next door neighbors are two guys who have a cat. This was the only thing I knew about them until the other day, when suddenly one of them started playing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen on the piano. LOUDLY. If that wasn't weird enough, a saxophone soon joined in. I mean, WT to the actual F. The neighbors on our other side are a lesbian couple who have a one-eyed dog they push around in a stroller.

I really can't make any of this up.

The people who lived in the Christmas Saxophone apartment were kicked out a year ago after playing profane rap that woke Gracie many times. I got so mad at them one day I banged on the wall so hard, the shelf fell down and smashed my Grandma's Depression-era china. I don't know what it is about that apartment, excuse me, townhouse, that encourages loud music.

All of this leads me to this morning. The pot smoker has been driving me up the wall for months now. We call the non-emergency police every time we smell it. Sometimes they come and talk to him, and sometimes they say they can't smell it outside so they leave. We've just been trying to build a record. The police say it's the management's problem to take care of, and they say they can't legally do anything without the police involved. It's a catch-22, and we've been playing monkey in the middle with them for an eternity. We were told the other night that pot smoker is leaving. I have literally NEVER seen James so jazzed about something. I almost fell to the floor in tears. They said it will be awhile until he's gone, so I'll believe it when I see it, but at least I have HOPE.

And then this morning, we got a letter on our door that we're too noisy and in violation of our lease. A complaint has been filed that there is "yelling, stomping, and banging" noises coming from us. HI, HAVE YOU EVER MET A 2 YEAR OLD? Since we've had so many bad neighbors over the years (don't get me started on the TV explosion noises that wouldn't let me sleep a wink last winter), I try VERY hard to not be an obnoxious neighbor. I don't let Gracie bang on the walls, I try to be quiet, and I rarely even listen to music even though that's all I want to do. However, I have a two year old, and no matter what I do, she's going to throw tantrums, drop things, and just generally be loud. No matter how much I try, I can't silence her 24/7. It's impossible! She's virtually quiet from 7pm-7am, and she naps in the afternoon, and we're usually out of the house in the morning. When she's in bed, James and I are reading or quietly watching TV so we don't wake her. The other day I dropped a pot on the floor and considered a hand-written note of apology to my neighbors until I realized they were probably all at work. Due to the "stomping" complaint, we're 99% sure pot smoker is trying to exact revenge on us by getting us evicted too. No one else would be able to hear the NONEXISTENT stomping. She's been crying more than normal this week due to a tooth coming, but I am NOT going to apologize for that. No one is more tired of the teething than I am.

So this is where we are. We spent MONTHS begging the office and the police to do something about the illegal drugs being smoked that were affecting my health, the music next door, and that's to say nothing of the dog that barks 24/7 to the point that I've considered breaking in and shooting it. But my daughter throws a tantrum and now we're in trouble. I don't think anything will come of this and I'm not worried, but I am so tired of this. So tired of not being able to play music or let my daughter make normal 2 year old noises.  I want to replace our stained, gross living room rug, but who knows what the size of our next living room will be? We need to upgrade some furniture, but obviously we can't do that until we have a home and an idea of what will work. I WANT FLOWER BUSHES. I want to grow my own zucchini! I want TO PAINT A WALL GREY. All we want is a little home somewhere that belongs to us. We don't want anything fancy, just a home and a garden and maybe some chickens a la Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I JUST WANT SOME DAMN CHICKENS.  WHY IS THAT SO HARD?

I got so upset over that stupid letter that I took Gracie out for cookies. The store near us is closing next month, but their bakery is fantastic and basically across the street. For weeks I've been wanting to stop in for one more treat. We walked in, just to see an empty bakery and a sign that the bakery counter closed for good on April 17th. I'm not even going to lie--I cried real tears in the middle of that store. There's nothing more depressing than an empty bakery counter, especially given the reason I was there.

In the grand scheme of things, this is dumb. We have our health, a roof over our heads, and I even splurged on organic milk at the store this week. We're doing fine. But we've been stuck in this horrible holding pattern for an eternity and nothing is changing; if anything, it's getting worse.

So, future Michelle, if you're reading this and complaining because you don't want to get eggs from your backyard chickens or weed the garden, SHUT YOUR MOUTH AND GO STOMP ON THE FLOOR. Not one can hear you because it's yours and you OWN it. And you can't smell pot! Unless you've picked up a habit, in which case, we should chat.




17 comments:

  1. I don't even know what to say other than you are most definitely in my thoughts and prayers. ONE of those things you described would be enough to send me to the madhouse, let alone ALL those things.

    My very first thought when you mentioned the letter on your door, before I even finished that paragraph, was "I bet it's Mr. Pot Smoker trying to retaliate." Hopefully your apartment management is smarter than that, though.

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    1. By the way, my vote is that if it makes you feel even an ounce better, REPLACE YOUR RUG!! Sometimes sprucing up the space you're in can help so much (don't ask how I know). You can always try and find a place for it in a new house and if you can't, that's why God made Craigslist.

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  2. I'm so sorry, Michelle! That's enough to wear anyone out. I will continue to pray that your circumstances change soon. Don't give up-pray with BOLDNESS! God may not be able to honor your prayers until His specific timing, but when He does, it will be far beyond whatever you could ever imagine because of your faith!!! Love you all.

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    1. Thank you so much! This brought tears to me eyes.

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  3. I'm praying for you lady! The housing market everywhere is having these problems, at least around here it's like this too. I'm confident that in His timing God has big blessings in store for you guys! I wish there was more comfort in saying that, it just feels like a platitude people say when they don't really understand. Just know God does see you, He hears your prayers, and He KNOWS exactly what you're going through. In the meantime I hope you get a chance to gorge yourself on cookies, donuts, or some other tasty baked good!

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  4. That is really the WORST.

    So yeah, I'm going give advice even though you said not to. The way I see it, you can wait around for the market to hopefully sort itself out or you can be proactive. You really just need to build an underground bunker.

    Your other option is my personal favourite. Burn your complex down and let insurance party to rehouse you. It might increase the pot smell briefly, but I think the roaring fire will do wonders for your mood. Very hygge.

    (Side note: I'm curious, is there a two level townhouse below yours or is it more a single level? Because if it's two stories below as well I'm super jealous of your view and inevitable calf definition.)

    (Also, it's beer and pizza night here. You sound like you need both. See you at 8? I can also make cookies if necessary.)

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    1. That should obviously say pay, not party, but autocorrect knows what's up and clearly a celebration is necessary.

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  5. I'm so sorry you're dealing with all of those things. I've been in apartment complexes in the past with awful neighbors too, enough to send me over the edge and I know how completely soul crushing and hopeless it can feel. I don't have any advice but just wanted to let you know you're a good person and to hang in there.

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    1. High five, Alycia. You are awesome. Thank you!

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  6. Michelle, this whole thing made me so sad/mad on your behalf! First of all, how dare a neighbor write a letter complaining?! That is unbelievable and I don't even know what to say about it. You sound like you have an entire sitcom cast right there at your complex after hearing about some of your neighbors!! The one eyed dog in the stroller?! The Christmas musicians? I have zero wise words about finding a house, but I will pray hard that the perfect home comes along for you. You deserve it!!

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  7. Girl, this is exactly why I'm so glad I don't work as a property manager anymore. Your poor office staff is absolutely stuck, and they know you're good, and right, and they want to help you, but they literally CAN'T. There was nothing more I hated than when good residents went through this shit, and THEN I would still have to write them up for something stupid and petty, because someone got mad and retaliatory.

    The good news about the housing market is that it always goes in waves, and right after the peak of a housing boom, there is a huge lull. Hang in there, it's coming, and when it does, you and James will be in a fantastic position to scoop up the house you've been waiting for.

    Also, ditch the awful realtor. You don't need her. We found our realtor at an open house, because he got Ammon's need for a shop, our desire to fix up a house rather than buy turn-key, and because he didn't take himself too seriously. Your perfect realtor is out there too, and it's okay to ditch one who just isn't cutting it. They're responsible for helping you navigate one of the biggest financial transactions of your life: you should genuinely like them. Also, pick a mortgage lender the same way - if you don't like your loan processor, find one you do like. You should trust the person collecting that much personal information about you 20000000%.

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  8. Oh Michelle, I am so, so sorry that things are going this way. Hugs and prayers coming! And thank you, for being open about this struggle. Honestly, this is such a good smack in the face to me (much-needed) because I've been such a baby at times in our current house-hunt, and this is just a reminder that really, I just need to shut up about my complaining because all my petty concerns are nothing compared to actual horrors like what you're living through. I know that people talk about how God is in control and that there's a dawn coming, but saying that doesn't make the dark times any easier! Your housing market sounds ridiculous, and I have no clue why people are paying so much money for trash houses, that's the lamest thing ever! I also can't wrap my head around people complaining about you guys, because y'all sound like you'd be such cool neighbors to have.

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  9. I am so sorry you're dealing with all of this! Keeping you in thoughts and prayers!!

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  10. Ugh. I'm so sorry. Totally different problems, but in the same place mentally and it's no bueno.

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  11. I'm SO sorry. I can just imagine how shaking mad I would be if I got a letter like that. It's not fair at all. Actually, noise complaints from neighbors are my great fear--I remind the kids I take care of everyday about inside voice and no running, etc, but they're kids and they forget.
    I hope the pot-smoker is on his way out very soon. I like apartment life...but I understand some of the frustrations that come with it. Given that it's looking like it'll be a full year of serious leaking before my apt.'s leaking problem is resolved...I can understand the appeal of having your own house and the ability to make your own decisions. The housing market is crazy here, too, you'd probably have to be a millionaire to even have a little yard, and foreigners aren't allowed to buy houses/apartments at a level we could imagine affording, anyways (they only want those ultra-rich foreigners to stay, haha!). So...we're very grateful for an apartment that's affordable and has a nice landlady! Leaking is just a small thing.
    Keep having hope! There will be chickens someday! Just because it's this way now doesn't mean it always will be this way. And if you ever want to chat homeschool books and activities and early homeschool whatever--that's basically my life, and I love talking about it. And you can do it and it's a really cool way to live, too!

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  12. One of my best friends lives in Minneapolis, and they had a really difficult time finding a house because the market was nuts and they went through house after house only to be outbid, or one time she said they got a call about a house that was for sale and it sold in like 2 hours before they could even look at it. She was super stressed and really upset about it for a while. So you aren't alone, but I am sure that is so super frustrating and disheartening. In the meantime, consider moving to Oklahoma, where houses are for sale a lot and at good prices! ;)

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  13. oh girl, I just want to come hug you.

    And I feel you on the housing market garbage. Only our problem is that nothing is for sale in Midway. And if it is, it's so far out of our price range, it's not even in the realm of possibility. We do own our townhome, so at least we have that, but we will outgrow it really quickly when a baby enters the mix. (don't get excited, no baby plans yet. haha) Luckily our neighbors on both sides are nice and keep to themselves. One is an older lady who is a flight attendant who is gone most of the time (though she literally almost forced me to adopt a rogue cat last week and I was panicking) and the neighbors on the other side have no interest in any sort of relationship beyond saying hi when I come home from the gym and he's on the porch smoking. There have been a handful of times when we are woken up by him and his gf screaming at each other and then he slams the door shut and then starts pounding on it two seconds later yelling, "AMANDA! I NEED MY SHOES!! AMAAANNNNDA!!" but that's it.

    Mostly, I just want our own house we can have a yard to put the dog in so we don't have to go on a million walks, and a garage to park both our cars in. And if by chance our neighbor forces us to keep another cat, at least we'll have a discreet place to put a litter box.

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