It has been four years since Kevin and I have lived in something other than an apartment and I had forgotten how cold it gets when you don’t have your neighbors keeping your apartment warm. I was painfully reminded of this when our first heat bill arrived just a few days ago. I called our landlord and said there is no way this can be the amount we owe for 5 weeks. She called the company for me and called back with the bad news….it was correct and we used our heater a lot. So, now I sit here at the computer with a long sleeve shirt, sweater and a jacket on with cold hands and freezing toes because when I go to turn the heat up all I see is that amount on the bill we owe and I stop myself. Jumping jacks help, but let’s be honest here, I can’t do jumping jacks for very long before I can’t breathe any longer, so I would rather be cold and breathing. Although it definitely warms me up for a bit. Being cold is definitely worth the freedom I know have and the time I have with Novalie. I just wish I would have known that I needed to be more aware of the heat before I opened that bill and almost had a panic attack. Oh well, thank goodness for tax returns–I guess I can empty my shopping cart at Target.com now because of the heat bill. Now, I am going to go do some of those jumping jacks…….
Monthly Archives:February 2008
Ten months ago when the opportunity to manage an apartment complex fell literally into my lap, I thought I was extremely lucky and very blessed. A free apartment with a small salary on top of that, Novalie gets to come to work with me everyday and having the flexibility of making my own schedule-all just to rent apartments. Just rent apartments – if only that was the half of it. Actually getting someone to rent an apartment is by far the easiest part of the job. It is once a person rents an apartment (after the book of papers you have to fill out – when they said there was a lot of paperwork, they weren’t kidding – it is unreal) that the real work begins. Now, when Kevin and I move into an apartment we are prepared for apartment living and have never complained about a thing, but now I know we actually had reasonable things to complain about after everything that I have heard in the last 10 months. Keeping 66 different families happy is an impossible task, but one that I tried whole-heartedly to accomplish. I have heard it all and I have been blamed for it all. Everything from “a older child looked at my 2 year old mean on the playground and I want you to evict them or I will have you fired” to drug busts, to actually being accused of violating a fair housing law by a complete drug addict who doesn’t even remember ever talking to me. Every month someone is in my office crying to me that they can’t pay their rent and telling me some horrible story and expecting me to be a miracle worker and save them from being evicted. Almost half the residents break all the rules and get mean and nasty when they are caught and they don’t care that they signed a lease, it is my fault. After I have rented the apartment and dealt with these people, it is time for them to move out and I am absolutely appalled when I walk into their vacant apartment and see the state they left it in. Imagine the worst and multiply it by 100 and that is what I have seen. So, people get their bill in the mail and call me and scream -literally- at their damage bill and I scream back -not literally, but I wish- you are the one who did the damage, it is not my fault! And then dealing with maintenance issues is a whole other thing especially since when I started I didn’t know the difference between a screw driver and a wrench (okay, not that bad, but pretty close). Opening up our supply book to order light bulbs and there are 100 different kinds to chose between – are you kidding me!! I just want a light bulb! Okay, enough, enough, I think you get the picture. The job is not easy by any means and the above are just a few of the things that have been thrown at me the last 10 months.
There are good things. Mike is a good thing. Novalie would have never had the experience of knowing Mike if not for this job. He is in a wheelchair and can’t speak clearly at all, although I can understand him pretty well now. He has a book in his backpack that has the alphabet in it and he can spell any word! He is absolutely amazing. Novalie sees him coming and she runs and opens the door for him and gets his book out for him. He teases her and tries to get her to do mischievous things like throw snow at his care giver. What a wonderful thing for a 4 year old to experience. I love someone coming into my office desperate for a roof over their head and I am able to make that happen for them. I love that Novalie knows how to make copies for me and she walks into an apartment to do a move-out inspection and before I say anything she says, “what are we going to do about this apartment, Mom?” We have definitely learned a lot together and will always remember working together.
Our free apartment was anything but happy. We had downstairs neighbors that were the kind of people who should never ever be allowed to live in apartments. They would bang on the ceiling for anything, they complained that we flushed the toilet too much, he actually asked me to walk around my own home less. It was a nightmare for anyone, but especially for a 4 year old who couldn’t be a kid. And the worst part was that the company would do nothing to stop it.
Kevin and I learned that the more money you make, the more you spend, so the money was no longer attractive to us at all. We would much rather have less and be happy.
So, I am so glad that it is all coming to an end. Yes, I got to bring Novalie to work with me, which if you are a mom and have to work is of course ideal, but I think of how often I had to say, “not now, I am busy.” Way, way, way too often. Everything was always hurry up, hurry up. Run here, run there, busy, busy, busy! I can’t wait to be home with Novalie all day again with no where to go.
We found a house out in a little tiny town 10 minutes away from Pullman. Our landlord has 5 acres with his big house and our house and horses, goats and barn cats. WE LOVE IT! We have been here for a week and I have been overjoyed to see Novalie be her wild, energetic self again. She can go outside and play with the cats who love the attention, she can run, jump, dance, bounce her bouncy balls, be a 4 year old kid. It is absolutely fantastic! We played in the snow last week and built a snowman which she has wanted to do since it started snowing 3 months ago, but we have just been too busy. She tells Kevin and me, thank you for getting this house. When I ask her if she likes it here, she puts her hands on her heart (so dramatic) and says, “I love it”! Now, I actually will have time to teach her to read and just play with her again. So now we are waiting to see what this next year is going to bring to our family. I definitely know happier times and more time spent together. And me less stressed and cranky, which everyone will appreciate for sure! Novalie is excited to live near her Uncle David and her friend Stuart and she LOVES her new cats. It is such a good move for us and once again we have truly been blessed!