Monday, December 14, 2009

Slumlord Non-Millionaires

We are now landlords. Or slumlords if you take the overgrown vegetation surrounding our old house into account.

I spent the better part of last Friday and Saturday cleaning our old house in preparation for our new tenant. I don't particularly like cleaning, but I was not about to have our renter move into a house full of dust and grime. And while I really didn't mind the work, not even the whole standing on the kitchen counters so I could scrub the top of the cabinets kind of work, I did mind the temperature in the house.

See, we had this whole battle going between us, the city and the gas company as to why there was no natural gas being pumped into the house. With no gas, there's no oven, hot water or central heat. Definitely not tenant-friendly. Of the three entities in the battle, we lost (surprise, surprise), so a huge chunk of change later (the plumber we had to call is going to have a fabulous Christmas this year), we were cleared to have our gas turned back on the day before our tenant was to move in. Yikes.

Since Ryan has another job (you know, one that actually pays our bills), he absolutely could not take another day off of work to deal with our money pit house. So he "worked"* from home on Friday while I waited for the gas guy. For six hours. In a house that was, I kid you not, 47 degrees.

Fortunately, I had a radio tuned to a station playing Christmas music to entertain me and plenty of cleaning to keep me busy and warm. Unfortunately, most of that cleaning involved having at least one hand un-gloved and in and out of cold water because, well, we had no gas to heat the water. But I managed to get quite a bit done and nearly kissed the gas guy when he showed up.

And then I wanted to slap the gas guy when he couldn't get the heater to work once the gas was turned on. Turns out it was no big deal, but I wasn't about to stay in the house any longer than I absolutely had to.

I headed home, took a really long and hot shower, wrapped up in my fluffy bathrobe and a blanket and promptly fell asleep on the couch. As my parents were nice enough to keep the kids overnight so that Ryan and I could go out to eat to celebrate our upcoming anniversary, we were kidless. But I was in no mood to venture back out into the cold, so we ordered in and watched a movie. Real exciting anniversary, right?

But you know me and how I always look for the lessons to be learned in a situation. I, of course, found some. First, if you're having a problem with the gas company, you should probably take care of it well before you (or your tenant) move(s) in. Second, most tenants don't expect the houses they rent to be as clean as ours (as verified by several reliable sources). And third, there really isn't a whole lot of variety when it comes to Christmas music. I think if I hear yet another version of "The Little Drummer Boy" I am going to lose it. The only version I even remotely like is the SNL/Mary Catherine Gallagher one and it most certainly was not being played on the radio. (I truly tried to find a video clip to link to, but could not. I promise it was really good though!)

So, we're landlords now. We were feeling a bit nostalgic as we put the finishing touches on the house, remembering various things that happened in our little bungalow. I found it quite odd to watch our tenant put their dishes in my kitchen cabinets. I had the urge to say, "The cups don't go there...they go by the refrigerator," but I didn't say a word.

After all, it may technically still be our house, but it's now someone else's home.


I say "working", not because I don't think Ryan does any real work, but because the boys were at home with him, so I don't know how much work he was actually able to get done.


  1. Your tenants are lucky to have such good landlords that clean so thoroughly! I hope they take good care of your house. =)

  2. Congrats on the house rental, I know you guys are really happy about that. As for of "The Little Drummer Boy," I have always liked the version with Bing Crosby and David Bowie, they dont play it often...