Fortunately, we’re likeable

June 19, 2009

I just found out last night that our current landlord, the one who has been charging us full rent for living in a leaky duplex, told our future landlord that she has reservations about N’s character and that she can’t recommend us as tenants.  Her concerns about character arose from the fact that N (very reasonably, I think) complained about roof work starting up on Saturday and Sunday mornings with no advanced notice.

I am very angry at her.  We’ve been good tenants for three years, have been quiet, and have paid rent reliably (though she could be right when she says our payments were late four times this year.  I’ve been pretty flaky about a lot of things since August 2008 and I only have so much control over the Postal Service).  We scrounged up the money to pay rent three months in advance last summer when we knew we’d be distracted by hope and fear and traveling to an out-of-state hospital.  And, in spite of all the mopping up we’ve had to do with the leak in the kitchen in the midst of our year of tragedy, we’ve been pretty good-natured in general.

Future landlord is a good sort, though, and called us to get our side of the story.  Which, thankfully, he seems to have believed.  Also, he told N that he picked up on a much better feeling from us than from her.  He likes us, in spite of our current landlord’s best efforts.  Which means we still have a place to move in August.

Unfortunately, our side of the story also involves something like this, “Well, you see, our son died in August so we were not in fact at our best this year, although we still don’t think we were bad tenants or that we said or did anything unreasonable.  Yes, our current landlord knew this.”  I hate dragging Teddy into this mess; it feels cheap and somehow slimy.  I want to tell people about him, yes, but certainly not because of circumstances like this.  His loss is part of our side of things, and I tell myself we’re not using him, but we really are.

I wish I could move out now, that I could pack up my family and memories and run to safety.

And I still wonder if I missed it, the time and place where I could have cleared up misunderstandings between us and our current landlord, helped her to see our side of things, helped us to see hers (I know there’s more going on on her side than we know).  I feel like – somehow – I should have prevented all of this from turning so ugly.


  1. I’m sorry that this happened. How awful. You have every right to be angry. Bad landlord indeed.

    My husband related our story as mitigating circumstances for a speeding ticket. He didn’t have to pay the fine and got a very sympathetic letter from the police. I also felt a bit slimy and cheap about it. Even though it was the truth, I just didn’t want to drag my girls into it.

    I don’t think it was up to you to prevent the situation turning ugly. Thankfully your future landlord seems to be much more reasonable.

  2. We also conveyed our story of Freyja’s death to the police in relation to a speeding ticket. I was in the hospital, after having found out that Freyja had died inside me, and my husband got a ticket for speeding on the way to the hospital.

    Sometimes it can’t be avoided … it’s life … our life, and others get dragged in.

  3. I’ve had landlords like that, too. You can’t fix the situation with them when they’re not willing or able to do their share. Unfortunately you just have to let them go and move on. Thankfully you guys are moving on to brighter pastures with what sounds like a better natured new landlord.

    As for dragging Teddy into it… I know that too. I have had several opportunities this past year – during and since Tikva’s life – to “use” her in trying to get something that we really needed. Like when my cell phone stopped working right after she was born and I had to get on the phone with the cell insurance company and explain to them why they had to replace it with a brand new one, not a refurbished one, and right away, because I couldn’t take any more issues, because I was spending my days in the hospital taking care of my very sick child who might not make it… At the time, I really meant it – I couldn’t take any more challenges than what we were dealing with. And the guy on the phone was very sweet, and very understanding, and the next day I had my brand new phone. And then I could focus solely on being with Tikva. I don’t think it’s cheap. It’s part of this life after losing our children. It’s not an excuse, but an explanation for why we aren’t exactly at our best right now…

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