more dog shit.

We headed into June with a lot of uncertainty.  We had released Lippy in the spring, and gotten lots of press and lots of orders from distributors, but things seemed to tail off much more quickly than they did with Flying Suit and nurture, and I didn’t know why.  We had planned on a followup Footstone live recording from Sandy’s birthday party, but the party was snowed out and we had no backup plan.  Toast didn’t seem to be getting back together after the Kittywinder tour, and Gapeseed was working on another CD with Silver Girl.  Dots Will Echo were taking their time putting together their CD, and we had no plans to do anything else.

Professionally, my dayjob was in a constant state of flux due to my boss’ struggles with the company and my inability to get any time with management.  The original owner of the company had sold out to a management group that installed an experienced CEO, with the goal of taking the company public.  They installed layers of management above me, and adopted a very hierarchical structure that prevented me from having access to the people that I needed to talk to in order to get things done.  

Personally, our social life had tailed off considerably, since we were six months’ pregnant with our first baby – we didn’t feel comfortable going out to shows or parties together, because we weren’t sure what impact loud, thumping PA systems would have on the baby.  Plus, Sandy was uncomfortable, and not really able to stay in one place for long stretches at a time.  I didn’t like the idea of going out without her, so we mostly just stayed home and played rummy or watched the Yankees, who were having a pretty strong season.

The one thing we were looking forward to was closing on our house in the summer.  The sellers were having trouble with their building permits, but we thought we had worked it out in such a way that we’d buy the house, and then rent it back to them until they were ready to move in September or October.

I guess in hindsight, Sandy and I both knew that the deal was going to fall through.  It almost seemed shaky from the start, and the uncertainty surrounding how they were going to pack up and move to a new house within a few months, when they hadn’t even broken ground on the foundation by early June, made it obvious.  We just didn’t want to face the facts, I suppose.

What we were willing to do was sit around the dinner table and talk tough.  “They’d better not think they’re pushing us past October; the deal will be off,” we’d say.

We’d said it so many times, in fact, that I didn’t even have to consult Sandy when the phone call came.

“There’s a problem with the seller,” Angie told me that day.

I sighed.  “What now?”

“They still can’t get the building permit,” she explained.  “The rate things are going, they don’t know when they’ll be able to move out.  They still think they can do it in October, but it might be November.  It might be December.  It might be January.  They just don’t know.”

“Why the hell did they put their house on the market?” I asked, incredulously.  “What an irresponsible thing to do!”

“You can’t blame them for that,” she said.  “They had no idea their house would sell so quickly.”  She was right.  The house hadn’t been listed for very long at all when we looked at it.  We were among the first people to see it.

“So how about if we rent the house to them until October 1, then they go find an apartment or something?”

“I tried.  They don’t want to leave the house.  They have a little baby – they don’t want the baby in an apartment.”

We are going to have a baby!” I yelled.  “They put their house on the market, sold it to a pregnant couple, strung us on throughout the Spring, and now they’re trying to take advantage of us.  They know our situation.  They’re taking advantage.”

“Al, you’re shooting the messenger,” she replied in a calm, low voice.  “There’s no need for you to yell at me.”

“You’re right.  I’m sorry.”  I yelled at everybody, all the time.  It seemed as if I were perpetually aggravated.  

I gathered up my thoughts, quickly scanning my brain to see if there was something else we could do – some other bright idea that would allow us to move into this awesome, awesome house.  But there wasn’t.  

“Tell them the deal is off,” I said.

“You know, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, waiting until the winter to move in,” she began.

“The deal is off.”

And that was it. 

Sandy cried.  The situation sucked to begin with.  Add six months of pregnancy into the equation, and it was a nightmare.

When you buy a house, and come to the resolution that you’re going to move, you suddenly find everything in the world that’s wrong with the place you’re leaving.  Our kitchen floor was gross – carpet tiles that squished around under your feet.  We didn’t have enough living area.  Two bedrooms were not enough for us, a baby, and an office.  Our bathroom was old and outdated, and the water didn’t work properly.  We were crammed into a five-family house, next door to a three-family house, next door to two other multi-family houses, and we all shared a driveway.

Suddenly the apartment that we loved so much when we moved into it absolutely sucked in every conceivable way.

After that fiasco, I woke up one morning and turned on the shower.  Rusty, cold water came out.  That happened sometimes, but if you let the water run for long enough, it would eventually warm up and clear up.  But this time, it just stayed brown.

I had semi-long hair again.  I’m a restless sleeper.  When I woke up in the morning, my hair was every which way – even if I shower before I go to bed, I need to wash my hair again in the morning so that I don’t look like a muppet.  But I wasn’t about to go in that nasty, rusty water.

So I called in sick, and called the landlord, leaving him a voice mail to let him know that the water heater needed repair.

The entire day went by, and nobody ever came to fix the water heater.  That afternoon, I called again and left another voice mail.


The next morning, I tried the shower again – still rusty and cold.  We had gone two days without showers at that point – no way I could go to the office.  So I called in sick again, and left another voice mail with the landlord.

Again, the entire day went by, and nothing happened.  Rusty water came out of the shower, and also the sinks in the kitchen and bathroom.

Now, I was irritated.  Not only did I have to live in this shitty apartment until God knew when, but I had no clean water for showering, cooking, or drinking.  I was brushing my teeth in chunky, rusty water.  

On the third day, we once again woke up to no water.  I was out of my mind.  I dialed the phone and left another voice mail.

“This is Al from Apartment 4,” I raved, my voice escalating with each word.  “I’ve been calling you for three days.  We have no water in our apartment.   You are ignoring my phone calls.  Every month we write you a check to live in this place – we’ve never been late with a payment.  Every time something breaks, you take forever to fix it.  If I don’t hear from you THIS MORNING, I’m going to get a hotel room and I expect that you will pay the bill for us to stay in a hotel until you fix the damn water!”

I slammed down the phone and waited.

Later that morning, the phone rang.  It was the landlord’s daughter.

“I’m so sorry that we haven’t called you back,” she said. “Things have been hectic around here.  My father passed away three days ago, and I haven’t even thought to check his messages.  I’ll have a plumber come over this morning.”

The landlord hadn’t returned my calls because he was dead.

Not only was that an acceptable excuse, but I felt a little better because his June was off to a worse start than mine was.

~ by Al on August 29, 2009.

One Response to “more dog shit.”

  1. Oh crap. That’s straight out of a movie.

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