Friday, May 13, 2016

In the Words of Rosanne Rosannadanna, It's Always Somethin'

In my post last week ... just last week ... I told you how on May 1st we signed the lease to rent a little house 20 minutes north of here.  Within a few days we rented a van, emptied our two storage units which were crammed & piled to the hilt, & took all that stuff up to the house along with about 90% of what was in my craft room & maybe 20% of other things.  No furniture yet though ... the movers would be moving that.  On Monday of this week I decided that I had better clean the kitchen so I could start moving my kitchen things up there. John planned to take up one load of things in the car, drop them off along with me, then head back & forth another time or two while I stayed behind to work in the kitchen.

As I stated in my last posting, the outside of the house was power washed, the walls were all repainted, Stanley Steamer cleaned the carpets, the homeowner took down all the light fixtures & cleaned them along with the ceiling fans, & cleaners came to give the kitchen & bathrooms "a good cleaning."  When we did the last walk though the house before signing the lease, everything appeared to be lovely.  I only opened one or two of the bottom kitchen cabinets & saw that the cleaners hadn't removed the random contact paper as I had requested.  The homeowner simply told me I could go ahead & remove it myself.    

So on Monday I gathered together a few rolls of paper towels, some Lysol disinfectant cleaner, & some Dawn antibacterial dish liquid.  Even though the kitchen had been cleaned, I still wanted to give the cabinets & drawers a wipe with disinfectant after I pulled off the random contact paper.  As I moved from cabinet to cabinet, I couldn't believe it.  When I finished wiping just one cabinet with the Lysol spray & a handful of paper towels, this is what the paper towels looked like.  Every cabinet & drawer I wiped out resulted in the paper towels looking like this.
In one of the cabinets, at the top front corner, there was a large cocoon or spider egg nest or some such thing which I had to remove.
The tops of the cabinet doors were greasy.  There were crumbs inside several of the cabinets & drawers.  When I got up on the counter to check the tops of the cabinets, they were full of grease, dust & debris.  

I spent four hours cleaning those cabinets & drawers ... just the insides & the doors ... with Lysol spray & paper towels.  I knew I would have to go over them one more time with soapy water to get them totally clean.  I had not expected to have to do all that work.  I was crying.  John was upset.  

That night I contacted the homeowner to let her know that the cleaners had not cleaned the cabinets & drawers.  I began my email very nicely, telling her how much John & I appreciated all the work she, her husband, & others had done to prepare the home for our arrival.  I then told her that I was, however, quite dismayed with the condition of the kitchen cabinets & drawers.  I described the condition & included half a dozen photos, telling her that I had spent four hours cleaning them & would need to spend a couple more hours to finish.  I told her that I hadn't looked inside the bathroom cabinets & drawers but I was guessing that if the cleaners hadn't cleaned the kitchen cabinets & drawers, they probably hadn't cleaned the bathroom ones either.  

Honestly ... if you hired cleaners to clean for you & they totally ignored the cabinets & drawers in the kitchen ... most likely in the bathrooms as well ... wouldn't you want to be made aware of it so that you could bring this to their attention?  I would!  And if I were renting a home to someone & they told me that they had found the kitchen cabinets & drawers looking this way ... & even sent me photographs as proof ... I would be so embarrassed!  I would apologize profusely to that person ... even offering them some money off their next month's rent as a way to make it up to them for having to spend all that time cleaning!  And I would thank them for letting me know this so that I could take it up with the cleaners!  But that is not how the homeowners responded to my email. Here is the email I received ... word for word.

Shirlee and John,

Howard and I have discussed your lengthy, in depth e-mail regarding the sub-standard condition of our rental home.  We realize that what we have done in the past nor what we will do in the future will satisfy your strict standards.  It is obvious this tenant/landlord relationship will not work out, so please send your Lexington mailing address and we will return your deposit, first month's rent along with a voided lease agreement.

Please move your items out as soon as possible and leave the keys and garage door opener on the counter.

To say that I was in shock is an understatement! Talk about overreacting!  Talk about exaggeration! I reread the email I had sent to her, which, by the way, was far from lengthy.  I had not been nasty or accusatory or anything of the sort.  John agreed.  He suggested I respond to say that we were merely letting her know that the cleaners had not done the job she paid them to do so that she would be aware of this before hiring them again, to tell her again how much we appreciated all the work that had been done, & to ask if they were sure they wanted to void the lease.  Her response was a description of the "couple thousand dollars" they had spent getting the house cleaned & in good repair, listing everything the money was spent on including "cabinets cleaned!"  I was told that what they consider to be "rental ready," we consider "not good enough" ... therefore, they were voiding the lease & wanted our things out of the home as soon as possible.

Hello???  Did they not look at the photos I sent??? They might have paid for the cabinets to be cleaned, but they weren't cleaned. 

So this coming Sunday, John & I will be renting another truck & killing ourselves making three or four trips back & forth in one day to bring 3 rooms full of boxes & an entire garage packed full of things back here to pile in our garage, dining area, & living room since we no longer have the storage units.  I have spent today & will spend tomorrow shuffling things about to make room for this mass of stuff.  

I have also once again started searching the online rental sites looking for rental homes. Pickings are slim at this late date.  I have no idea where we will end up living or what we will end up living in. 

Stay tuned for the next installment of
"Shirlee's Life!" 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Yes, Really ... A Blog Post from Me!

My life, as I'm sure you know if you've read any of my recent blog posts, has been very difficult for the past couple of months.  Mentally, physically, emotionally, situationally ... I have sometimes felt as if I am wearing a sign that reads "Hurt me, stress me, try to drive me crazy!"  But that's life sometimes, isn't it?  Times of bad, times of good.  I am weathering the storm.

One of my stressors has been trying to find another place to live.  I found the following image while looking for moving images & thought it kind of applied to me & John   : )

I sat down & figured it out one day.  This is our 40th year together.  In these 40 years we have moved 21 times.  This move will be our 22nd.  On average that's one move a little less than every two years.  And we've lived in 11 different states.  I sometimes tell John that I envy people who purchased a home when they got married & have stayed there all their lives.  John;s response is always "Yes, but look at all the adventures we have had!!!"  I'm getting kind of tired of adventures ... lol!

So back to finding a place to live.  I think that if I wrote a book, people would read it & not believe what I was telling them.  For those of you who are one of those "bought a home when they got married & stayed there" people ... & for those of you who have had an easy time finding another home when you need one ... you can't imagine that this would be a difficult process, but believe me, it is!  

I started contacting realtors & monitoring the online rental sites in late February.  John & I had no idea where we wanted to move, but I knew I didn't want to be too far from the doctors who have been caring for me.  We concentrated our search for a new home here in Kentucky, in Tennessee, & in Wisconsin.  Early on I found an absolutely gorgeous lake home in our price range in Tennessee.  It was clean, in perfect condition, & very roomy with a state of the art kitchen.  It had two decks ... one on the lower level, & another on the main level which actually wrapped around one side & most of the back of the home.  The entire back of the home consisted almost totally of windows which looked out onto wooded areas & the lake.  There was a little stream that flowed along the side of the property, making its way down to the lake.  There were geese & ducks & loons & various small birds.  It was gorgeous.  We told the realtor we wanted to rent it.  She contacted the owners who said "two year lease." We said a two year lease was fine with us.  Then a week went by, then two weeks, & to make a long story short, the owners decided to sell the house instead.  John & I were devastated.  Our search continued.  

Nothing we found compared to that lake house. Nothing could!  But all we really wanted was a clean home in good repair in a safe neighborhood. Not too much to ask, is it?

You will find this hard to believe ... I experienced it & I have trouble believing it ... but I responded to so many ads for rental homes, dozens of them, & the majority of people advertising the homes never responded!  Even when I contacted them a second, & in some cases a third time ... no response.  Yet their homes continued to be listed for rent!

When I would make contact with someone renting a home, I would explain to them that John & I were looking to rent an exceptionally clean, well cared for home in a safe, quiet neighborhood. They would then tell me how their home was immaculate & I would make an appointment for us to view it.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess.  Most of these homes were in terrible shape!  One had been rented by a family with an adult son who had anger problems.  He had punched holes in doors, thrown things at walls ... the damage was unbelievable.  The owner of the home told us that they were going to have the home professionally cleaned & replace three of the doors.  He needed to do a lot more than that to get that home back in decent shape!

Another home we viewed was not far from here. I was assured that it was in beautiful condition.  It definitely looked like the definition of perfection when you looked at the photos in the rental ad.  It wasn't.  The yard was overgrown, mold was growing on the side of the house, paint was peeling ... & inside the kitchen was a mess.  I opened the cabinet underneath the sink & it had no bottom!  There was just bare floor!  I pointed this out to the property manager who acted like that was normal!  The walls were filthy, & all the carpeting was stained.  In one room upstairs it looked like someone had dumped a pot of spaghetti sauce on the rug, then took a wooden spoon & slung it around on the walls.  When we showed this to him, he said the carpeting would be cleaned & the walls would be touched up with paint.  The carpeting needed replaced & the entire house needed repainted!

I reached out to some people, asking them to watch for rentals in their area.  That went nowhere.  I started looking at homes in other states.  That went nowhere as well.  

About three weeks ago I found a home about 20 minutes north of where we live now.  It looked like a nice home.  Small, but nice.  I contacted the owner who responded almost immediately, giving me her phone number.  We talked.  She said that John & I sounded like the type of renters she & her husband were looking for.  She said the home was being repainted (repainted!!!) but if I didn't mind the painter being there she would be happy to show us the home that afternoon.  The home is in a nice little residential area.  Everyone seems to take good care of their homes & property.  We walked into the house & sure enough, there was the painter busy at his work.  She explained to us that the carpeting was going to be cleaned, people would be coming to give the kitchen & bathrooms "a good cleaning," & the outside of the house would be power washed.  There appeared to be room for all our stuff.  No more renting storage units ... hooray!  There was no damage anywhere ... not on the walls, not on the woodwork, not in the bathrooms, not in the kitchen ... nothing!  We told her we were definitely interested in renting the home.  She had us fill out a rental application while we were there, then said she'd be doing a credit check but she wouldn't get the results of that until the following Monday.  She said she'd be in touch after that.

After we got home, I thought uh-oh, will the bedroom furniture ... another continuing source of stress which I hope will be gone in the near future ... fit in the master bedroom?  And the bonus room ... was there a door on that?  I contacted her to ask if she could possibly meet us at the house again so I could take some measurements.  She said she would be happy to meet us there on Sunday.  On Sunday I once again marveled at how good the home looked.  She said the painter would be finished painting by Friday, the cleaners would come to do their "good cleaning" that day, & the carpet cleaner would come on Saturday.  When I walked into the kitchen, I couldn't believe it!  All the switch plates & socket plates had been removed from the walls & were piled in the sink, waiting to be washed!  After all the horrors we had been seeing in all but one of the other homes we viewed, ... that one home being the lake house in Tennessee ... seeing all those switch/socket plates in that sink waiting to be washed, I just can't explain the feeling!  The owner asked us if we were seriously interested in renting the home.  We said yes.  She then said that as far as she was concerned, the home was ours.  She said she was going to stop showing the home & taking applications.  She said her word is good.  We shook hands & went back home.  

On Tuesday she contacted me to say our credit check was excellent (naturally) & we made an appointment to walk through the home & sign the lease the following Sunday.  

Although the home was in exceptional condition & the owner was almost as OCD as I am regarding things being as perfect as they can be, I continued to search for other rental homes.  I found a couple of interest, but either the people renting them didn't respond to my inquiries or there was some kind of glitch that made it impossible for us to rent them.  I thought to myself "God must really be trying to tell me that He wants us to rent this small home!"  

This past Sunday we walked through the house once again.  The owner brought her husband along ... also very nice ... & we all got along very well.  The house looked amazing!  The kitchen & bathrooms nearly gleamed.  The walls had all been painted, & the switch/socket plates were replaced.  She pointed out that they had replaced all the screws for the plates!  The carpeting was spotless.  She took me into one of the bathrooms & told me how sorry she was ... that the cleaners told her they had scrubbed & scrubbed & scrubbed but they couldn't get the stain off the side of the toilet.  I honestly almost had my face in the bowl & I couldn't see these stain she was talking about!  She then told me how they had taken down every light fixture in the house ... every light fixture ... & cleaned them!  And they had either washed or replaced all the blinds!  Even the garage was clean!

We signed a year's lease which will automatically turn into a month-to-month lease after that.  How perfect is that!  We are hoping to stay in this home for at least two years, but you never know what the future may bring. When we decide to move again, we will just have to give 30 days notice.  And did I mention that the monthly rent for this home is less than what we had thought we'd be paying for another rental?  Much less!

It will, in effect, be an easy move.  We will just be 20 miles up the road.  I won't have to painstakingly wrap & pad all my dishes & kitchen items or anything else really!  Still, packing is packing, & we have a lot of stuff, & this is how I'm feeling right now ...
We are actually double renting right now so we can take our time moving.  Last year we were so rushed!  We don't ever want to go through that again!  We will hire movers to move the small bit of furniture we have.  It is just too heavy for John & I to move it ourselves. 

So ... one stressor is gone, that of finding a new rental home.  Hopefully the others will follow. Thank you for your continued prayers   : ) 

Friday, March 18, 2016


I'm still here ... still need prayer.  Thank you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Thank You ... and Please Keep Praying

I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post & sent me emails indicating you are praying for me regarding the newest dark evil that is haunting me.  Some of you even sent Scripture references & I am clinging to them tightly.  I am writing this post to ask you to please keep praying ... especially tomorrow, tomorrow night, & most especially Thursday morning when I am going to be under extreme attack.  I know that I will make it through this horror if I'm covered by a blanket of prayer.  Thank you again.   

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Prayers ... Please

I really don't know how much more I can take. Another dark evil has now entered my life which is haunting me day & night & tying my stomach up in knots.  It will not go away quietly.  I need prayer.  Lots of it.  Please.  

Thank you.    

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Big Fat Fluffy Flakes of Prozac Have Fallen from the Sky


Sunday, January 17, 2016

I Am Here

First off all, I want to thank those of you who have posted comments & sent emails asking if everything is okay.  I deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness & concern.  I apologize if I haven't responded to you.  Life has been difficult in oh so many ways.  Sometimes I feel as if I am at the end of my rope.

John is doing well.  We are still without our car. Thankfully we have the SUV.

Christmas came & went so quickly.  The days & weeks leading up to it were extremely stressful, but the day itself was totally the opposite.  Very peaceful & calm.  Both John & I agreed that it was one of the best Christmases we've ever had.

I didn't do much in the way of decorating this year.  Things were very simple.  

This was one of the few times since I was in high school, if not the only time, that I didn't send Christmas cards.  I thank those of you who sent cards to me, & gifts as well.  If I failed to thank you personally, please accept my thanks here.  

The new year has dawned & we are already planning our next move.  Of course we have no idea where we are going.  I am slowly packing things in preparation.  I have been focusing on downsizing.  It's a big job.  We will be starting to look for another rental home in April.  We don't want the nightmare we had trying to find somewhere to live after our house sold, nor do we want the stress of moving at the last minute, so we may end up double renting for a month or two to make things a bit easier on ourselves.  We may end up staying in this area.  Tennessee is another possibility.  We are pretty much open to anything.

I am going to try to get into blogging again.  I have various plans for this year, but I will be taking things one step at a time.  I believe this is going to be a year of changes.  I'm counting on them being good changes.