Friday, December 30, 2011

Housing Humor... the trials of a traveling weaver...

We're moving to the San Luis Valley in a month and need a place to live.  I asked my sister to go and check out a property in the valley which, admittedly, was surprisingly inexpensive for a "furnished" house... and this was the result in email form after their visit:

Subject: "Call me after reading this list of rousing endorsements..."

1. It is wedged between a cemetery, a utility company storage yard, 2 trailers, and  a highway.
(at this point I am starting to suspect the viewing did not go well. The spare tire in the front yard also doesn't speak well of the property)

2. It stinks. Kinda bad.
(I once rented a small house in Sparks, NV that REEKED when I was looking at the place, and I convinced myself that the stench would go away... thus began 3 months of fighting with the landlord to replace the cat-pee saturated carpet and stop my perpetually tearing eyes. I think my co-workers were convinced I had taken up residence at the city dump... so this endorsement furthered my apprehension about the place. By the way, after a few days the cat pee stench which had also saturated the floorboards worked its way through the new carpet and I was forced to move out.)

3. The landlord said, "if any of these appliances break or are damaged, it is your responsibility to repair or replace them. They come AS-IS."  Keep in mind that the furniture is mainly things that disgruntled tenants left behind (probably b/c that was cheaper than the dump), and the appliances were state of the art in 1963.  Fortunately someone thought to clean them somewhere around 1986.
(Unfortunately our furniture is in storage in NM and I was hoping to find a furnished house, but  this isn't exactly what I was looking for in the sectional sofa department)

4.He said the electric would be around $75 a month (for lights????) The rest is propane.  The electric is metered with the adjacent trailer, so you have to kind of trust that he's making up the right amount for the electric bill.
(Never trust a landlord. I just spent three years drinking bacteria-infested water and suffering the gut-wrenching consequences... and didn't realize it until I was back on city water--I'll be paying the whole block's electricity and propane will be $500/month)

5. He said he'd take $375 per month for 3 months (to help offset the cost of the propane?) and after that, $425, which includes $25 per month for the dog.
(I am not sure exactly how my yellow lab could possibly damage this particular house)

6.The maintenance & cleanliness standards for your house in Cortez were MUCH higher than here. Though this place is perhaps slightly bigger.
(Keep in mind that when moving into the aforementioned Cortez house, we had to scrub it down, especially the kitchen. This place probably doesn't have a clean layer under sticky rings in the kitchen cabinets.)

7. It is a LOT better than living on the street (see-- I found something nice to say about it). Also it is fairly bright inside, and I'm pretty sure that no one has ever been murdered in the bathtub, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'd want to get in there naked.
(I'm not convinced she has any grounds to be so sure about the murder thing.)

8. The BOUG1  asks me to remind you that it kinda stinks.
(pregnant ladies being especially susceptible to stench)

9. Then my sister called her realtor and emphasized that we're professionals, and that translates into certain standards... I hope that is true. My track record isn't very good actually, so perhaps Emily should pick the next house. Besides the cat pee house in Sparks, NV and the water-disaster house in Velarde, NM, there were these housing adventures: 
  • the house in LaGrande, OR that had a bedroom I took one look in and vowed not to use it for anything except storing my car topper (and I checked it for varmits before I put it back on the car). That was the same house that had oil heat which my traveling company didn't know needed to be filled and I spent an entire eastern OR winter weekend huddled in front of a small space heater in the bathroom.
  • the trailer in Chama, NM which took an entire bottle of Lysol in the kitchen before I would even put a carton of orange juice in the refrigerator... and I kept ALL my food in the refrigerator. The rest of the cupboards had copious evidence of recent mice visitation.
  • the house north of Reno that was infested with packrats--they chewed my boyfriend's ultralight airplane to shreds in what seemed like days and weren't too nice to my car either... actually, in retrospect perhaps that was the real cause of all the problems I had with my Ford Tempo... 
  • the trailer in Dulce, NM where the pipes froze repeatedly in the -20 degree weather which the school (who owned it) refused to fix thus making me live in a casino hotel for the next 6 months surrounded by cigarette smoke and cursed with unuseably slow internet... but at least the casino had beds to sleep in.
  • the basement apartment in Fort Collins, CO where I thought my piano would fit down the outside stairs, but turns out it couldn't make the corner so the piano guys had to take it down (and eventually up) the steepest, narrowest set of stairs I've ever seen... oh, and there weren't any windows either.
  • the lovely adobe apartment in El Rito, NM that was so small, my brother-in-law had to come and put my bed 4 feet in the air so I could store all my yarn underneath it. I got used to eating dinner either at the loom or standing at the kitchen sink.
  • the cabin on the side of Mt. Blanca in CO without heat or running water where I had to pee in a bucket because the composting toilet was too small for all that liquid (probably from too much beer drinking to survive the -20 degree winters)
  • the house I shared with the vet student and her herpetologist boyfriend where I lived in the basement... also the home of assorted tortoises, turtles, snakes, iguanas, a pair of alligators, a cat named Louise, revolving rescued kittens at least three of which died in the year I was there,  three dogs, and half of the live crickets that got out of the various tanks and ended up on my pillow (I slept on the floor in graduate school)... I loved the vet student and the dogs, but the rest of the crew, especially Louise and the boyfriend, I could really have done without.
  • the off-the-grid luxury log cabin 12 miles up a mountain near Monte Vista, CO which I had to buy a 4x4 Toyota truck to access in the winter (mongo snow drifts) and which had absolutely no heat in the bathroom--and no shower... so I rigged up a bucket shower in the sunroom which was actually a pleasant 75 degrees on a sunny winter afternoon.  Please don't tell my landlady...
Whew. Maybe I should just give up now. I have a horrible track record when it comes to rentals. Emily, it is your game from here on out because I definitely don't want to add this particular house to the list.

1. Baby of Unknown Gender


  1. Trish at tangled threadsDecember 30, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Oh, Rebecca. How very stressful. UGH!

  2. Oh, dear. I do hope you find something better and are luckier this time! If you'll just be there a short time, are there vacation rentals that are usually for summer occupation that might let you have a place for the time there. Look into the VRBO ( vacation rentals by owner) website. In tht part of the state, maybe a place aimed at hunter renters - though that could be a nightmare, too! Good luck!


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