Tuesday, July 16, 2013
All I wanted was a long bike ride
Notice anything missing? The midweek stuff was great. Friday was a glorious rest day. Then right around lunchtime, Kelley got the call.
All I really wanted to do was get myself a 75 mile ride in Saturday, 15 mile run done Sunday, and Kelley was going to visit her cousin so I'd get some good time with the kids in between. A simple weekend really. No problems, nothing is wrong there.
It turned into something horribly wrong.
The tenants from a rental property we own had been evicted by the property manager, who hadn't actually told us she was going to do that. Kelley called her with a follow up to something from last month. The whole thing turned into a big mess, and the short of it is that we need to replace both the tenants and the property manager now. We may just sell the house instead.
This was our first house that we bought in 2002 and lived in until 2005. We put about $20k into fixing it up after we moved in, and it was so adorable. We had a dog and a cat while we lived there. The landscape was adorable. Everything worked. We loved it, but Bigun was originally supposed to be a set of twins and we moved out of this house to get more space. It felt very familiar this weekend, like I was coming home again. But it was kind of like moving home into Hell.
After we moved out, these tenants moved in. It was a woman with her boyfriend and a couple of small kids. Then the boyfriend moved out, and a girlfriend moved in. After that 5 year relationship tanked apparently, she found God and another boyfriend moved in. There was also a 21 year old daughter living there with a girlfriend. Now you'd think if there was between two and four working age adults living in a 3 bedroom house they could come up with the small amount of rent we charged them every month. The daughter even replaced the normal doorknob with a deadbolt that I had to kick in (no key to it).
Turns out, instead of paying rent, these people chose to destroy my house. They had no jobs, but had 2 small dogs, a big dog, and a cat in there. The entire house smelled of pet urine. To "fix" that problem, they put air fresheners in every room. That's much better than changing the litter box. For a litter box, they used one of the giant Rubbermaid tubs with cat litter in there. So instead of scooping the litterbox, they just poured more litter on top of the turds until it completely filled up. Apparently it overflowed, we found cat turds in every. single. room. and the flies. As if the smell wasn't bad enough, the carpets are going to have to be replaced, the flies that bred in those turds have created quite the infestation. The people living there had to have that same smell. We still smelled like it for a while after leaving the house. No wonder they couldn't hold a job. I wouldn't want to work with anyone that showed up smelling like that.
I attacked that garage. Just take a bag and throw trash into it. I started on one side, then picked up a funny smell so I switched to the other side. Finally I came back around and the smell was the only pile I had left to bag up. Grab a handful and throw it in. Finally I picked up some clothes, and I thought I heard the rustle of a plastic bag in there. Into the trash bag it went. Then it hit me.
Someone took a dump in my garage.
I've changed enough diapers in my day to know the difference between human shit and animal shit. This was human, no doubt. and it was rotten. Someone took a shit on the floor of the garage and covered it up with old clothes. I grabbed the clothes, threw it in the bag, then the smell hit me and I saw the maggots. 2" long shit eating maggots, hundreds of them. This is probably the nastiest thing I've ever seen in my entire life.
I backed out of that garage making grunting sounds, Kelley thought I was lifting something heavy. Really I was just crying a bit and trying not to puke. That really sent me over the edge. We were going to try and pull up that carpet, but my focus turned almost immediately to getting the fuck out of there and back to North Carolina as quickly as possible. I was done. There's it, and I was totally over it.
All in all, it took one trip to the thrift store to donate the valuables, and two trips to the landfill with trash, and I thought it was going to take much more than that. We also made what repairs we could by replacing the burned out lightbulbs and fixing a few things up around there. I think we're going to sell this house now, even though I was really hoping we could rent it again. It has been a viable financial asset for many years now and I hate to lose the tax advantage and monthly income when the rent did actually come in.
What I am really having a difficult time wrapping my head around is the mindset of these people. When I say "other people suck" on here I'm usually just talking about people that get in my way. But this is suck on a level that I've never seen before.
Usually we assume that people with a poverty mindset would choose to improve their position if they could. I think these people created their own poverty out of sheer laziness. There's something in there about masking the problem instead of finding the source that takes a mental approach that just wasn't there.
If your house smells like dog & cat piss, should you:
A: put down some baking soda and vacuum the carpet
B: get rid of the animals
C: train the animals to use the litter box
D: hang air fresheners to cover the smell (mask the symptom instead of solving the problem)
If the carpet changes color because your dogs track mud inside and it ruins your furniture and degrades the way you live, should you:
A: keep the dog outside (remove the source)
B: vacuum the carpet every now and then (don't let it build up)
C: wash the dog sometime
D: get darker colored carpet (mask the symptom)
They chose D both times. I used to love buying properties from frustrated landlords. I bought several properties from this one slumlord in Greenville, and always ended up losing money on those. Every time I walked into one of his houses they looked the same and I thought about how he was a horrible landlord forcing these people to live in these kind of conditions.
But this time, our tenants came into a nice house. Everything was clean and worked good, all of the electrical outlets worked, and the light fixtures all had covers. These people are too lazy to do basic cleaning or change a light bulb! When I walked into my house for the first time in maybe 5 years, it looked like one of those slumlord houses. I had no idea. These people took my nice house and turned it into a slum. It was my fault (and my property managers) for not doing regular inspections, and they should have been evicted years ago. But they chose to live like this. They chose not to clean. They chose not to deal with their pets. It's just lazy, and I don't understand that mentality.
Apparently there was also lots of medical bills piled up, and they left behind more "chicken soup for the xxx soul" books than I could count, and dozens of empty prescription medicine bottles. You want some self esteem? Are you feeling depressed because you can't pay your bills? Is medication and a chicken soup book really a better answer than a broom? They worked at grocery stores and restaurants; we're not talking about trained professionals or tradesmen here. They aren't lawyers or welders. If you can't hold down a job bagging groceries it's usually because you choose to show up late every day or choose to smell bad and the customers complain about you. You want self esteem? It's amazing how much self esteem you can get from regular bathing, a steady paycheck, coming home to a clean house and paying your bills on time.
When we left sunday I wanted to boil myself to get the smell off and disinfect my skin, and snort bleach like it was cocaine just to purge my sinus cavities. I used to love that house and now I really hope I never have to go back. I may have PTSD; I really wanted to spend today curled up in the fetal position crying. I don't have the time or the desire to deal with this shit as I embark on the Ironman Build phase of my training plan, this is when it really starts to get long. All I wanted to do was get in a nice long bike ride Saturday, sing in church sunday, run 15 miles and spend some time with the kids. Instead I picked up shit from the floor of my garage and lost what little faith I had left in humanity. This is depressing. Please buy my house.