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The Joys of Renting

Story ID:3907
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Lakewood Ohio USA
Year:2008
Person:Waldo
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I relished this Saturday because "Waldo" finally vacated the small furnished
apartment I let him have 10 months ago. Sadly, the signs of my mistake soon
became apparent. He was not the same young man who lived here years ago when
he drove a semi during the week and chased the girls on the weekends.

Although still in his 50's, he was now on disability with a heart problem. He admits
a bad diet while a trucker probably contributed to his current heart disease, but now
I was chagrined to find that he was a smoker, which certainly didn't improve his health
concerns. Now, instead of driving a semi, he would spend a lot of time watching the
sports channels, SMOKING, and chugging a lot of Coke. I had forgotten to check if he
was a smoker and now I rued that failure. Not only was smoking bad for Waldo, for
me and my other renter, but I had a dog and 5 cats who I am sure would suffer the
effects of cigarette smoke which drifted into a common hall in this 3-family
house. Smoking in a tiny apartment was also bad for the walls.

One time I had a very nice man who was a chain smoker. When he left, I washed the
walls and bucket after bucket of yellow water finally released the walls of their yellow
nicotine haze. When I told Waldo I was unhappy re his smoking, he said he would
quit "if that's what it took" to stay. Why not? Where would he find another cheap, clean
furnished apartment? I only charged $225 a month and everyone told me I was foolish.
Even an unfunished apartment could command $400 plus.

Yes, I am foolish because I still hoped people would be grateful and take care of the
apartment. So much for my naivite.

Waldo was also very hard on things. The pedestrian gate he forced the wrong way-- now
opens out instead of in, and the clasp no longer falls in place as it once did. Then I
foolishly let Waldo drive my Comet one Saturday. What a learning experience - never
lend anyone your car unless in an emergency. He came back 5 hours later-- using up
a half tank of my gas and not replenishing or paying for it. Worse yet, he forced the driver's
side window knob and now the window was stuck 4 inches from the top. He mentioned
not a word re this. When I called this to his attention, he said it could be easily fixed.

My garage fixed it after ordering a part. It cost me $150. He said it was too much but
didn't offer to help pay for it. Well, what do you think of Waldo so far? The "best" is
yet to come, and the final clincher for me. One day I incredulously saw streams of water
coming into my apartment from upstairs. Waldo had let the kitchen faucet run and
his sink was blocked because he never used the strainer to trap food particles.

I raced upstairs and saw a virtual mini flood. Thank God I had an old Sears suction
bucket and this 77 year-old used it, and then lifted one or more heavy buckets of water
into the commode. Then I had to suction my room below as well as part of the basement
where it had seeped down as well.

This terrible experience made me realize that Waldo would have to relocate and the
sooner the better. I gave him more than a month's notice, and knowing that funds were
tight, did not take rent for the "supposed" last month. I don't think though he was very
grateful because I didn't see him make any effort to find another place and told him so.
I asked him to call his two daughters to help me find another place for him, but per Waldo,
they didn't want to. So, I walked my dog each morning with a pad and pencil and jotted
down places for rent and their telephone numbers as we walked the streets.

Well, - he didn't like this place because it was a drug house. He didn't like this place
because it was too shabby. He didn't like this place because he didn't like the neighborhood.
Help! I even called Hud and got a list of places that accepted the disabled. In fact, he
had been in one (which I didn't know) and diidn't like being with the old people. Talking
about having a champagne taste on a beer budget!

Finally, after reminding him of my kindnesses to him AGAIN, he said he would go to
W.Virginia and live there with a friend. Then he changed his mind again and decided
to get the apartment on the next street-- but didn't have enough money. Help again!
Finally, he said he needed a week and would be gone. Fine, I said - that will be $50
for the week. He just answered he didn't have it. I let him know that his "kindness"
to me was wanting and that there were people who were givers and those who were
takers. He told me he thought he was a giver!

Despite all my frustration which I was able to communicate to him, each of the next
3 days he promised he would be gone. One night I locked the hall door at night and
he woke me up to get in! Finally I had enough and asked to speak to him. I went
upstairs to confront him re all his false promises. And then I gave it to him with both
barrels- telling him how he abused my kindnesses to him - about his destructive ways,
etc. etc. He finally said he would be out Saturday and this time it happened.

When finally the little apartment was mine again, I went upstairs and in shock I said--
Thank you God after I saw the 5 or 6 burn marks on the rug in the living room. His bed
mattress also sported a very large burning hole. When I told my young neighbor
I needed him and "Cat" to bring it down as well as a huge unworking TV they left behind for
me to dispose of, Chris immediately remarked --how lucky that he didn't burn the house
down! I concur and repeat - Thank you God.

Even though I could use the extra rental money to pay for the loan I took out for 3 new
95% efficient furnaces installed this past summer, I would much rather have peace
and quiet. Waldo provided neither for me those very, very long 10 months.