After eleven years, I am a renter again. There is a landlord to answer to and if one of us spills something on the carpet, it’s not going to be good. I’m not happy to be renting, but I am happy to be moving into a house that will be our residence for the near future. The Temporary Accommodations people have assured me that the rental furniture people will contact me soon for Wednesday’s move-in date. The timing is important because I have to call in for a meeting at work, so I can’t be at the house between 1:00 and 3:00. Sure enough, they give me a call that they’ll be there around 11:00. I remind them about my meeting and they say they’ll try to be there earlier. I foresee a hectic moving day.
Almost 2 weeks have passed since the fire, but it feels much longer. Time has taken on a different dimension in my life. Two and a half weeks ago I was staying at a hotel on a business trip, then came home to my house on fire and my son in ER, went to my neighbors for a few days, and most recently, checked into an extended-stay hotel. Today I move into a house for at least three months, which in comparison to the last few weeks, seems like quite the permanent move. The furniture people arrive shortly after 10:00 and I begin directing them where to put everything, which is harder than it sounds because I’ve never seen the furniture before and have no idea of the size or kind of pieces included. Then the ‘package’ woman shows up. They all know each other from previous set-ups for displaced people like me and greet each other warmly. She has 1 kitchen package, 2 bathroom packages, and 3 bedroom packages. These are the dishes, linens, and other miscellaneous items needed for daily living. The appliance folks are the final ones to show up. In comes a somewhat dated washer, dryer, and refrigerator. They’re functional, not fancy. The fridge doesn’t have an ice-maker, and I will need to go to three stores before I find ice cube trays. The washer is huge, and because it loads from on top and I’m quite short, I have to stand on tip toes to retrieve some of my wet clothes from the bottom of the machine.
Everything is going fairly smoothly when the landlord shows up. “Oh, by the way, I need a check for $2600 for a deposit.” WHAT? This is the first I hear about paying a deposit, and I sure don’t have that kind of money on hand. I play phone tag with the TA people, who eventually contact me and seem surprised I don’t know about the deposit for the house and an additional $700 for the furniture. “I thought we had told you.” No, you never mentioned any of this to me. I’m quite sure I’d remember hearing about a $3300 deposit to pay out. “We’ll talk to the insurance people.” The insurance guy says he isn’t allowed to pay it, but he can take the money out of my future personal property payment as an advance. “We have to give people some incentive not to trash the rental places we put them in, not that you would, of course.” Grrrrr, but I’m sure he’s had people who do and I understand his perspective. Problem solved, more or less. Did I mention that I hate being a renter again?
By the end of the day, I’m totally worn out. I call my son and tell him he can bring the dogs over. He’s planning to stay at his dad’s until there’s internet at my house, nothing personal he says, which is I understand but still find kind of insulting. I don’t argue the issue. Buddy and Rosie are hysterically happy to see me. They run around and sniff all over the house, their tails wagging so hard that they’re bound to feel sore tomorrow. Then Rosie, my timid, nervous dog, discovers that the couch is lower than the one at our real house. She jumps up, thrilled, and then snuggles into the cushions next to me. Home is where the heart and mama is.