Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Tommy Situation

Another couple walked into the house to view it while we were there for our first visit back in February.  I had already declared it mine in my mind—it immediately felt like home right when we walked in.  So the race was on.  We needed to beat them to the realtor’s office with our completed applications and the application fee to get first dibs on being considered.  I hadn’t washed my hair, so I was wearing a hat—it was one of the actually cold days we got in Dallas this winter, and it was sooooooo windy.

I insisted on going home to sit down and complete the applications, and while we were there I could wash my hair to look more presentable to the realtor [if anything was going to win this house for us, it was going to be my hair].  We got freshened up, completed the applications, purchased a money order for the application fee and we were on our way back downtown.

The realtor’s office is in the Lakewood area, and even though I’m familiar, his office happened to be on the opposite side of the large building from where we parked.  We weathered the bitterly cold wind in the shade of the building and made our way around to the sunny side where his office was.  My hair still looked great, don’t worry.  So we went in, all excited and confident that we beat our competitors to the finish.

The realtor came out of his office to greet us, and we were all grinny when he told us that we were the first applicants to arrive—all we had to do was pass inspection and the house was ours!  I wasn’t too worried about that part, so we had a win as far as I was concerned.  I gushed about the house to the realtor and elaborated on a few of its features that I really appreciated and assured him that we would be very happy there.

The realtor said with a smirk, “Yeah, it is a lovely house; the main thing that sometimes turns people off is The Tommy Situation.”  The only logical question to ask was, “What is The Tommy Situation?”  The realtor went on to explain that Tommy comes with the house as a package deal—he is an older fellow who lives in the garage, which has been converted into an efficiency apartment.  He said that Tommy is quiet and keeps to himself; he will get one covered parking space and we will get the other.

My immediate knee jerk response was discouragement.  Part of my excitement about living in a house after living in a condo for so long, is the added benefit of finally having a yard and a garage.  Now, not only do we not have a garage, but only one of our vehicles will be covered.  Even at the condos right now, both vehicles are covered.

I still really wanted to live in the house, but having a property-mate was not at all something I had anticipated as a possibility.  Should we continue to pursue this?  Was this a deal breaker?  I decided to go to the most level-headed and rational person I know for advice—my dad, the cop.  Daddy brought up great points about Tommy being older, so he will probably be at home more often and able to keep an eye on the property while we’re away.  And if we had an emergency, Tommy would be a built-in neighbor who could possibly lend a hand.

That next week, once we found out the house was ours if we wanted it, I had a few questions for the realtor—like, is Tommy going to pop up in the backyard at one of our barbecues?  And is Tommy going to be sitting at my dining table reading the paper when I get up on Saturday mornings?  The realtor assured me that the only property access to which Tommy is privy, is the garage apartment and one parking spot in the carport.  He said that Tommy will have zero access to the house proper, and he will not be in the backyard—and the backyard shed is our storage space solely.

So we completed the agreement, paid our deposits and are less than a week away from the move [why am I not packing right now?!].  We plan to make one last visit out to the house today to clear some shed space, take a couple of final measurements, and finally meet Tommy.  Since we made up our minds to be positive about it, we have let our imaginations run amuck with the possibilities.  Is Tommy a superhero?  Is he a serial killer?  We have absolutely no idea, but we are so excited to find out!  I personally have pictured him as Groundskeeper Willie from The Simpsons—I hope I’m not let down.  He better be in overalls this afternoon because I’m coming over!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Couch That Wouldn't Leave

My husband has come a long way since we first met.  When we began dating nearly eight years ago, he was renting a house with two girl roommates.  The layout of the house they shared was such that it had two living rooms.  The girls had theirs to share, and Kit had his own.  The girls had a dainty, neutrally-decorated living room that was inviting when company came to visit—it was actually lovely.  Kit had the living room of a 12 year old serial killer.  The carpet was dirty and stained, the furniture was all mismatched and worn, the television was on a table that could have collapsed at any moment, the walls were coated in horror movie posters, and there were horror icon toys and superhero action figures in various places throughout the room.

Among the mismatched furniture was a 70s retro not-so-chic couch that had a camel brown and royal blue large checkered pattern.  The cushions were all sunken in and to top it off, it bore the enticing aroma of cat urine.  His roommates had cats that would lounge and piss all over the couch.  Even after repeated cleanings, it still reeked.  If you sat on the couch for even a minute, the surface of your clothing that touched the couch would smell of tinkle.  I can’t believe he kept that couch as long as he did.

A year after we had been dating, Kit moved out of the house and got a condo with a friend.  We were not quite ready to live together, so he and his roommate signed a one-year lease, and then we were going to see where we were in our relationship.  Due to the fact that I was still living at home and technically didn’t have any living room furniture of my own to contribute, I felt I didn’t have any right or authority to make him chuck the couch.  Once we moved in together a year later, however, I made new furniture the first item on my agenda.

I was not about to donate this nasty, old couch, only for some pour soul to quickly notice how foul their “new” furniture really was—I’m not even sure if the Salvation Army would have deemed it in a condition in which they would accept it.  It was not salvageable.  So we had a friend come over and help us carry the old sofa downstairs and we set it next to a dumpster on the property.

We noticed that others in the complex would place their discarded items out next to the dumpster, so we followed suit—we really didn’t know what else to do with it.  In addition to large items by the dumpster, it was common to see other items as well—be it an old VCR, television, bed frame, computer, etc.  It was understood that items set next to the dumpster instead of placed inside of it [especially things that would easily fit into the dumpster], were items that simply were no longer wanted or had been replaced by their owner—they weren’t necessarily broken or destroyed.  If an item was set by the dumpster, it was up for grabs.

I heard people outside soon after unloading the old sofa by the dumpster, so I looked out of our living room window.  I was taken by surprise to see an older lady directing two younger men into her condo across the parking lot and they were carrying my husband’s old couch with them!  I could not imagine anyone wanting this stinky, ugly, old, retired couch.  I so badly wanted to warn her and assure her that she really did not want it, but I was too embarrassed to reveal that I knew this about the couch because up until about 20 minutes prior, it had belonged to us.

The next morning I was leaving for work and noticed his old sofa back out by the dumpster--it had been thrown out twice in the same night.  It mustn't have taken her long to realize why it was out there in the first place and also wonder why it hadn’t been put out there long ago.