I signed a one year lease on an old, neglected house. The paint was completely peeled up. the yard was rockhard Georgia clay. Me & my 2 dogs shared the house with ferocious squirrels that would race & fight in the attic, knocking the losers into the walls.
I painted the trim, shutters & front door barn red. I ignored the profanities & cop lights that continuously buzzed around my next door neighbors' house. I tilled the yard & threw grass seed. I used my Singer to whip up patchwork curtains, made from scraps of old tattered scrubs. I built a parkpad.
'You'll never grow grass. This whole street has been dirt & rock for 20 years' said an elder in the hood.
'I don't care. I just like to dig in the dirt.'
'Women who live alone shouldn't have red doors. It's like leaving the light on, right?' asked the elder.
'I don't know but the light fixture doesn't work'
I fixed the light fixture & watched the grass grow in the wee hours of the night.
Three months into my 12 month lease, a real estate agent showed up at my door, lockbox in hand.
"I'm putting a lockbox on the door. The owner is selling & gave me a key."
"But Nothing! You're just a tenant! The owner says he's done a lot of work & wants to sell."
"Oh......Ok, but I have two dogs...one who's ferocious. And I live alone. What if you or even worse a prospective buyer, gets bit by my dog? Does the owner have good insurance?"
"Ok, we'll show by appointments only then."
Eyes roll..."Who will what? Show the house?"
Heavy sigh..."I will."
"Then why the need for a lockbox? You have a key right?"
Within a week, the phone rings. It's the real estate idiot. He has someone from Florida who wants to see the house ASAP. I tell him to come immediately. It's not a good time for the agent, he has a two o'clock appointment elsewhere.
'Well, send the buyer on over. I'll show it. I'd hate for you to loose your first prospect just because you don't have the time for him.'
The prospect came and stayed for about an hour. He loved the grass, loved the front door, the fake brick wall I had painted in the kitchen. I raved on about how great the location was & pointed out how local sales had been sky-high and that this house was a deal...how I'd love to buy it myself, but just couldn't afford it. He was renting a pay-by-the-week place until he could buy a house. I told him we could do a ten day close.
'Really, a ten day close? But what will you do?' asked the prospect.
'Well, I will move. It's no big deal.' and I beamed will peaceful assuredness.
He put in his offer from my living room sofa. Appointments were made to draw up the papers.
The next day the real estate idiot called.
10 days to close. I needed to be out in nine.
'No problem...what's in it for me?'
'What? Didn't you tell the buyer that you would move?'
'Yes & I will. But what's in it for me?'
'What do you mean?'
'Look, if I broke the lease agreement on you, I'd have to pay for the remaining 9 mos. I could refuse to pay & you could take me to court. Then I would have to pay the remaining 9 mos plus court costs. Time is of the essence, I believe, is the legal jargon on my lease. So you're breaking the lease & I just want to know what's in it for me?'
'Let me call you back'
An hour later the phone rings. The landlord has agreed to buy my lease out, but I have to be out in 9 days.
'I don't know, I'm really going to have a hard time finding a place on such short notice. That's a bigger problem than buying out the lease'
A huff & a puff...'Let me call you back.'
10 minutes later he calls again...
'OK, the buyer has agreed to give you thirty days to get your stuff out and the seller has agreed to buy your lease. Deal?'
Hmmm... 'Let me call you back' I said.
At about 10 pm I called him back.
I lied. I told him I had called my uncle. I told him that my uncle had told me to be suspicious of him. It was all so fast & this was a man who had wanted to put a lock box on a single womans' rental. I told him I had been advised that a landlord had no right to show a property until the final 30 days of a lease. He breathed hard into the phone. Finally I told him that I was an honest person & would not go back on my word, but I needed him to put dates & figures in writing. If he could do that & have it to me at my place of work, where a notary worked, by 9am then it was a deal. I like to waifer back & forth but if I had a legal obligation, he could rest assured that I would not flutter on this one. Otherwise, I was following my uncles advise.
The next morning he was waiting for me in the parking lot.
He chuckled, 'I made it real simple, so you could understand it yourself & not have to call your uncle.'
'Oh, Good. I hate to bother him'
DONE DEAL! On 3-30-2000, Skinny was to move out of the residence on Scott Drive & would receive a lump sum of xx$ for early termination of her lease by such&such dip-shit real estate company.
Days later, the phone rang. The buyer couldn't qualify. I could stay.
My reply? 'Time is of the essence. I'll be out & I expect my check as agreed upon.'
'You have only got a couple of weeks now. We can go month to month if you like.'
'No need. I'm buying a house & close in a few days. That will give another 10 days to get my stuff out. I expect my check on the 30th.'
Silly man.... just because I am a skinny little blonde does not mean I am not my mothers' daughter.