Friday, December 7, 2012

The straw that broke the camel's back

The day after we posted this blog, a new email came in from Steve. It was so startling that I took the blog down and started looking for a new place to live - it just didn't seem funny anymore. Now that we are safely in our new place, I have to share the craziest Steve email yet. 

It should go without saying, but we never damaged any part of the house, lied to Steve, tricked him, threatened him in any way, or asked to be his friend - I only told Robert that I couldn't handle Steve's emails anymore and wanted to move, but that we should be very nice to him, no matter how ridiculous he became. I had no idea about the limits of his ridiculousness...


Our very long, long-distance phone conversation yesterday, covered a lot of ground.  This is very inconvenient for me, because now I have to write an email to you, summarizing what we said, so I have a written record of it, in case we ever end up in court.  
You asked me from now on to send emails only to you, and not to Dana.  That's kind of weird, in that Dana is the one who persuaded me to change my mind, and agree to rent the Little Cottage to you folks, after I had given you back your application forms and the deposit check which you had been so eager to put into my hands.  I remember it very well.  You asked me if there was anything you could say to change my mind, and I said no.  At that point you were in a hurry to close the front door of your apartment, without saying anything else.  I realized later that you were in a hurry to call Dana on the phone at work, to tell her about it.  
You sent her, after she got off work, to come over and persuade me to change my mind.  Your high-pressure sales technique worked very well.  I congratulate you on your skill.   Pretending it was all Dana's idea is very dishonest.  You think you are a super salesman, a smooth operator, and who am I to disagree?
You are the one who found the house for rent, looked it over, took photos of it, showed the photos to Dana, and then brought her over to look at the house.  And you are the one who, later on, went through the house, opening and closing all windows, turning on the stove, etc., checking everything to make sure every thing worked.  That is not a bad thing, but saying that Dana is the only one who is infatuated with the Little Honeymoon Cottage is just dishonest.
You asked me if we could be friends.  When I said no, you then threatened me with physical violence.  That is a textbook example of a bully, a boy who says to another boy: "Be my friend or I will beat you up."
Later on in our conversation, you asked me what was going to happen when our lease, which is for one year, expires on April 30th of 2013.  I was glad to hear you ask that, because it shows you are at least somewhat in touch with reality.  I didn't answer your question.  
I can tell you that if you do carry out your threat to beat me up, as soon as I regain consciousness, I will call the police, press charges, testify in court, and do everything I can to see that you go behind bars for a long time.  
It's probably a good idea for Dana not to see this email.  By the way, thank her for me, for instructing you not to threaten me with physical violence.  I appreciate her consideration for my feelings.  Also, no doubt, she doesn't want to see you go to jail.  You are young, large, and strong (I'm aware of this because you keep breaking things, which I then have to repair.  You're like a Bull In a China Shop.) 
The judge at your trial for aggravated assault, or assault and battery, or whatever the chagres are, may be an old guy, himself.  So when he notices that I'm a medium-sized old guy, and your landlord, he may throw the book at you.  So you might want to advise Dana to look for a recipe for a cake with a file in it, so she can bring it to you, on Visitor's Day, after the judge sends you Up The River To The Big House.  There are a lot of really tough guys in such a place.  I don't think you're going to like it.  Of course it would be much better than a Mexican prison.  If you ever get sent to a Mexican prison, you probably wouldn't get out of it alive, you being a Gringo.  You can read about that in "All the Pretty Horses," by Cormac McCarthy.  Or you could watch the movie, starring Matt Damon, on DVD.  In fact, you probably will be able to watch it while you are in San Quentin, or wherever.
I know I'm digressing, but writing this email is very boring, though necessary.  At one point in our conversation, you tried to psychoanalyze me.  I declined the honor.  Even if you had a Ph. D. in Psychology, I wouldn't have agreed, for several reasons, one of them being you would be a hostile Shrink.
But you did seem to be grasping at straws, trying everything you could think of.  
I appreciate your agreeing to remove the rug of woven reeds from the Redwood Deck.  As I explained in a previous email, the carped could be a nest for termites, or fleas, for instance, and would also trap rain water, which would be unable to evaporate, and the redwood could rot.  Redwood resists termites and rot, but it's not invincible.  Keith K. and had crew have already repaired that deck twice, and I feel like that's enough.  
You mentioned that you had tried for another dwelling unit, and missed out.  Was that a house or an apartment?  I saw your old apartment, and it looked like a very nice place to me.  For one thing, it was termite free, being on the second floor, and with a concrete slab below the building, to keep the termites at bay.
Actually, I'm very sorry you didn't get that other dwelling unit, but it's a harsh, cruel world we live in.  And the fact that you were disappointed in that instance, doesn't mean you are entitled to ride roughshod over other people (specifically me) to get what you want the next time.
You mentioned, I think, that you have a start-up company.  This was a surprise to me.  I was under the impression that you were an employee of a company, not the whole company.  I remember asking you at one point if you had to go in once a week for an employee meeting, or to get instructions from your boss, and you were evasive in your answer.  Your lack of full disclosure of your employment situation may constitute fraudulent misrepresentation.  And fraud on your part would make our lease agreement null and void, I would think.  If I ever hire a lawyer, I will be sure to ask him about that.  And if Dana knew that you were perpetrating a fraud, that would make her a co-conspirator, perhaps, or maybe an accessory.
It is my impression that you think, or hope, that I'm a patsy, or perhaps senile.  I'm trying to convince you that is not the case.  How am I doing, so far?  
I'm hoping that when we part, whenever that may be, that it will be on amicable terms.
By the way, you gave your theory of how the Garden Gate became disconnected from the fence.  It was something about the garden hose.  I was unable to follow your argument, so, in your next email, if you would explain how the Garden Gate came loose, I would be very interested to read your explanation.
Also, I just got an email from Dana.  I haven't read it yet.  What I would like is peace and quiet, and, of course, all this emotional turmoil is the opposite of that.  You might want to mention to Dana that you have forbidden me to send her any more emails, and that is why she won't be getting a reply from me.  I'm curious as to what her reaction will be to that.  Will she appreciate the fact that you are trying to shield her from my unkind words, or will she resent it?  She is, after all, a capable career woman, and, pardon me for saying it, obviously the brains of the operation.  By the way, thank Dana for me, for instructing you not to threaten me with physical violence.  I really appreciate that. 


The day after this email arrived, I found a new apartment and a week later we moved out of the The Little House. We filled the hot tub to the top before we left. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Words of wisdom, Steve style

While we were working on a response from the first termite email, Steve sent out this gem.

Robert and Dana,

        I inspected the termite damage.  Thank you for letting me know about it, and for the photos, which enabled me to find the spot.
        I thought, at first glance at the photos, that the termites were attacking the Redwood Deck.  I see now that they are eating the back fence.  I have no intention of calling a fumigator.  I will keep an eye on the fence, and I'm sure you will too.  If the fence becomes damaged enough to be in danger of falling over, I will have it repaired.
        When I thought the termites were eating the Redwood Deck, I thought, of course, of the woven reed carpet you have placed on the Deck.  This would make a perfect nest for a termite colony.  The spaces in the fabric would provide shelter for them.  The carpet would protect the rain water from evaporating, so that the redwood, being perpetually wet, would eventually rot.  Redwood is more resistant to rotting than other wood, but it is not immune from it.  Putting a carpet on a Redwood Deck is a really bad idea.  I noticed that you have removed the Duct Tape with which you had secured it to the Deck.  So perhaps you are aware of the problem.  But just removing the Duct Tape isn't good enough.  I'm going to have to ask you to remove the carpet from the Deck.  The best thing would be to throw it away, since it is a breeding place for small vermin such as fleas.
        I'm painfully aware that you think you can ignore any guidance from me, on maintenance of the property, which I find rude and offensive.
        But whenever you break something, which is a frequent occurrence, you come running to me to fix it.
        Keith K stopped by the other day, and I told him about the problem with the water level in the Hot Tub.    Besides being a General Contractor, he is also a property manager.  His advice was, if you refuse to maintain an adequate water level in the Hot Tub, to evict you.  He's pretty much of a hard nose.  But if it does come to that, please don't pretend to be surprised.
        You have acquired a large quantity of household goods.  For instance, I noticed you now have two Barbeque Stoves.  When you move back into an apartment, you will not have room for all that stuff, and will have to get rid of much of it, either by selling it, giving it away, or putting it into storage.  And storage space is expensive.  Since you can't afford to buy enough water to keep the Hot Tub full, I would think that the idea of spending money to store household goods that you would not be able to use, would be painful to you.  I know it would be for me.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Termites - thanks for the heads up and how dare you do research for me

Robert let him know there might be termites in the deck and called a local exterminator for info on a free inspection.  Somehow that makes us ballsy jerks...


        Thank you for letting me know about the termites in the Redwood Deck.  I will come over and take a loot at the damage.
        Under no circumstances are you to call an exterminator.  We went through this once already, when you were infested with cockroaches.  As I explained to you at the time, even if an exterminator was able to kill all the roaches in the house, their eggs would still hatch, producing a new generation, and other roaches would come into the house from the yard.  I gave you some guidance on hygiene, such as not leaving food out overnight, tying up the garbage bag full of kitchen waste at night, and setting out roach baits.  I never heard back from you if you adopted these methods, and, if so, if they were successful.  Of course, roaches multiply during the warm weather, and diminish in number during the cold weather.
        In the case of the Redwood Deck, I don't know if fumigation is even done in such a case.  Houses certainly are fumigated to get rid of termites, but a Redwood Deck is a different matter.  For one thing, it is outside, and at the moment is soaking wet from this rain.  What I am concerned about is the safety of the deck, in terms of people walking on it.
        If it becomes necessary, I will call Keith K to repair the Redwood Deck.  He has already done so twice.  It is always easier to do repairs when the house is vacant, so if the Redwood Deck can hold out for a while, I may want to wait until after you folks move out, to make the repair.
        As far as you taking matters into your own hands, let me quote a section of the lease:
"Clause 12.  Repairs and Alterations by Tenant
a.  Except as provided by law, or as authorized by the prior written consent of the Landlord, Tenant will not make any repairs or alterations to the premises, …"
        If you were to be so bold as to hire a contractor without my consent, that would be a breach of our contract, and I would be forced to evict you.
        I will be over soon to inspect the termite damage.


 Death to the proactive!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Yes Steve, our honeymoon was awesome. Thanks for asking.

This one is my personal favorite.


        James Pierpont Morgan was a Wall Street Banker, and Robber Baron, before and during The Great Depression, which began in 1929, and continued until the beginning of World War II.   His name is on one of the biggest Wall Street banks, J. P. Morgan - Chase.
        A famous quote of his is as follows: "If you have to ask the price of a yacht, then you can't afford it."
        Similarly, if you can't afford to buy enough water to keep a Hot Tub filled, then you can't afford to rent a house that has a Hot Tub.
        As I have explained before, if the water level in the Hot Tub falls below a certain Threshold Level, then the water pump for the Hot Tub will be sucking air instead of water, and the electric motor which drives the water pump will burn out.
        I have been taking care of the Little House, and the Hot Tub, for quite a few years now.  And during all those years I never had to worry about the water level in the Hot Tub, because the various tenants were careful to keep the Hot Tub full.
        According to Clause 11 of the Lease, Tenant's Maintenance Responsibilities, "Tenant will (1) keep the premises clean, sanitary, and in good condition, and, upon termination of the tenancy, return the premises to Landlord in a condition identical to that which existed when Tenant took occupancy, except for ordinary wear and tear;"
        As I explained to Robert, when showing the house, pouring cooking grease into the kitchen sink would be a very bad idea, because it would clog the drain pipe.  But dumping a large quantity of barbecue grease into the Black Barrel and the Blue Barrel is also a bad idea.  A better method is to pour the grease into a container such as an empty coffee can.  Or you can cut the top off an empty plastic milk jug, and pour the grease into it.  Then you can place the grease-filled container, right-side up, into a plastic garbage bag, and tie up the bag.  Then you can place the container, still right-side up, so the grease doesn't spill out, into the Black Barrel.
        The Blue Barrel is for recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, glass, etc.  At the Recycling Center, somebody has to go through all those items, sorting them by type.  Adding Barbeque Grease to the mixture is a dirty trick to play on those folks.
        Also, when I'm showing the house to prospective future tenants, I'm going to be embarrassed if they lift the lids of the Black and Blue Barrels, and get a whiff of the Barbeque Grease coating the inside of the barrels.
        If you don't have enough time to clean up afterwards, then you don't have enough time to barbeque in the first place.
        I'm remembering that you wanted me to call an exterminator to kill all the cockroaches which were infesting the little house.  Of course, a couple of puddles of Barbeque Grease will draw cockroaches, and other vermin, in large numbers.


Apparently it did not occur to Steve that we'd been on our honeymoon for three weeks and couldn't have been using our bbq, cleaning our bbq, or playing any other dirty tricks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vines and Gates

Steve began hacking down all the the bushes on the side of our house and admonished us for not pruning them. I emailed him to apologize and explained that we didn't know they needed pruning and his reply is below. 

To Dana and Robert,

        I don't have a lot of time to chat, because I'm very busy repairing the things which you guys keep breaking.  I just finished repairing the front window, which you guys have jammed up twice in just 4  months.  In contrast, Brad and Laura jammed up the window only once in 9 years.  Also, today I repaired the Garden Gate at the front of the house, at the north-east corner of the house.  Someone with massive strength ripped the gate, its hinges, and the beam the hinges are attached to, away from the wooden fence, the very fence which the Flowering Thorn Vines are pulling down.  Robert, is there anything you would like to tell me?
        By the way, I'm not quite through working on the gate yet, so I would appreciate it if you would not use the gate tomorrow.  I want to do some more work on the gate, to try to make it Robert-proof.  I should be done with it by tomorrow afternoon.
         Regarding the Flowering Thorn Vine, I will do the rest of the pruning myself.  It was very nice of Robert to help with the pruning the other day, when I asked him to, and I appreciate it.  But for the rest of the work, I prefer to do it myself.  My approach is to work carefully, to avoid possible damage to the neighbors' wooden fence.
        I did some more pruning of the Flowering Thorn Vines today, and plan to do some more tomorrow.


RIP flowering thorn vine.  You will be missed:

Monday, August 6, 2012

Emergence of the hot tub issue

The hot tub water level....oh, the hot tub water level...

Dana and Robert,

        The water in the Hot Tub, being hot, evaporates quickly.  If the water level in the Hot Tub gets too low, the water pump for the Hot Tub will be sucking air, which will burn out the electric motor which drives the pump.  Then you will no longer be able to use the Hot Tub.  So it is to your advantage to add water to the Hot Tub, as needed, to maintain the water level in the Hot Tub.  Thanks.


The hot tub is always completely full! For some reason I am reminded of Mr. Burns vs. Don Mattingly in the softball episode of the Simpons.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pest Control Rant

I emailed Steve to tell him that I had seen a cockroach and ask if could we call an exterminator. His reply was equal parts gross and weird.


        What I do is put out Combat Roach Baits in all the rooms, especially under the kitchen sink, behind the refrigerator, on the shelves of the kitchen cabinets, in the closets, behind the stove and washing machine and dryer, and so on.  I put out about 2 dozen baits, and replace them every 2 or 3 months.
        Also, I put out Rat Baits in the laundry room, and in the garage.  A few months ago, at night, I saw a rat, lying on its side, twitching in its death throes, in the laundry room.  I had already showered, so I just went to bed, in the hope that since it was dying, it would not be able to attack me in my sleep.  It was kind of creepy, though, the thought of the rat chewing on my face, like the rats attacking Winston Smith, in George Orwell's book, "Nineteen Eighty
Four."  In the morning the rat was dead, and I disposed of its corpse.
        Since you have a cat, you may not want to put out Rat Baits.  I would be  worried that a cat might be tempted to eat such a bait.  And anyway, the cat will presumably go after the rats and mice, and so the rat poison would not be needed.
        My understanding is that even if you kill a roach, if it is carrying eggs, the eggs will still hatch, producing a new generation of them, which is one reason roaches are so hard to get rid of.  But even if you could kill all the roaches in the house, there are many more in the yard, and the surrounding neighborhood, and they would just migrate into the vacant (of other roaches) house.
        In the neighborhood are, from time to time, raccoons, possums, squirrels, rats, mice, gophers, crows, mocking birds, juncos, humming birds, and many other types of birds, wasps, bees, spiders, ants, worms, etc.  It's a real ecosystem.
        So, exterminating the roaches is not a realistic goal.  Controlling them by using roach baits is the best that can be hoped for.  Also, of course, leaving food out will attract roaches in large numbers.  It's best to keep all food in the refrigerator, or in closed containers.  Also, I tie up the plastic kitchen garbage bag, every night, before I go to bed, to discourage the roaches.  I hope this information has been helpful.