I was starting to feel a lot better lately; finding more stability and becoming more at peace with the change in schedule, reaching out to friends and talking more with people instead of hiding in my house all the time. Then we got a note from the government saying our CTB (child tax benefit: a monthly payment to families from the government) was cut in half due to a “tax error” from last year. When I called, the best answer I could get is that maybe Curtis’ work added income six months after we filed. Which did not fucking happen. From there it was a matter of arguing until someone admitting there was a mistake, but being the government they won’t fix it for like three damn months. So that’s great three months from now, but what about fucking TODAY?!
In desperation, I put up an album on my personal Facebook of fine art prints for sale and got a few buyers, making in just short of enough to make up the difference, and thank god for that. I was also approached about a possible job on the 15th or 16th of this month provided I can find child care. If the job goes through and I get paid, we’ll have completely made up the difference from the CTB mistake and have enough left to pay some bills that need extra payments. So, while right now is a terrifying week, two weeks from now will be fine. I hate that kind of shit because you feel guilty for fretting, instead of just basking in the gratefulness that comes with knowing you managed to find a path out of it… eventually. But it still doesn’t change the “OMGSCARYRIGHTNOW” feeling that you live with in the meantime.

Once that seemed sort of resolved, Curtis’ friends convinced him he should take me out for breakfast at a nice little place, that’s cute and inexpensive. I don’t like doing stuff like that because it feels unnecessary, but Curtis made good points about being able to have a stress free experience every couple of months just to feel like a goddamn human. So, we went on a school morning with the last of his tip money and had sandwiches. It was nice to have a reprieve. Sometimes it’s nice to be allowed to have a moment. We haven’t gone out anywhere, even for like quick bistro food, in ages.
And then of course once you feel like you’re better, shit comes down like it always seems to.
We’d just started to let our breath out from that when our landlady came by for her property inspection. This isn’t out of the ordinary, she comes in and out of the unit infrequently (a couple of times a year, maybe more) usually for plumbing issues and such, but there was something odd about the way she asked. She called really late at night and was all evasive on the phone, saying things like, “Yeah I think it’s time for this”, and then kept saying, “It doesn’t need to be clean. I don’t care if it’s dirty.” Which, of course, is a red flag for clean like a motherfucking mad person. We’re talking cobwebs out of every damn corner, eat off your toilet seat clean. Something felt weird about this and I got really nervous, but Curtis reminded me that we’d had no problems with her: no letters, no complaints, no conversations, no nothing, so the worst thing that could happen is she had an issue with the house that she had to give us a written warning about dealing with it within a “Reasonable timeframe”. That’s…. not so scary, right? I tried to relax and go to sleep.

She came by a few days later, very cordial and friendly, and did her walk through. She stated she’d be very quick, not disturb anyone, and just needed to look at the cat damage on the upstairs carpet (there’s been a hole in the carpet by the sliding glass food for a few years; she was notified of it at the time it happened). She had a little notepad with her but didn’t say what she was writing. She made idle, friendly chit-chat as she peeked in and out of a few rooms and commented on how the bathroom looked nice and the house was extremely clean. We showed her the hole in the upstairs carpet that my mom’s old cat AJ made 2-3 years ago confirming that it had not gotten any bigger, and repeating our original offer of helping to replace a patch. She waved it off, as she did last time, saying that the carpet is old and grotty and the whole thing needs to go anyway (this is also what she said when she moved in, but we told her we didn’t mind that much).
Then she asked a series of really strange, pointed questions :
“If I may ask, how many people live in this home currently?”
“… Curtis, me and the kids?”
“Right, right.” What the fuck? “So not your sister and her friends?”
“No, she stayed with us for a few months to have her baby, then left.”
“I know.”
Okay that was weird.
“Exactly how many animals do you have here?”
“… the same amount we moved in with.”
“But one died.”
“Yes, and we got another one. You knew about that too.”
“Yes, of course. Right. Dogs?”
“We’ve never owned a dog.”
“Right, right. Well, I think we’re done here. Thanks!”
And then she left.

That was weird, but nice at least..? It felt really, really strange. The following night at around 10-10:30 the door bell rang right as I was trying to get Zephyra to sleep. Landlady answered it, smiled, handed me a sealed envelope and said cheerily, “It’s just the results of my inspection. Have a nice evening!” and left.
Once inside I opened it to find a 30 day eviction notice based on “unreasonable damage to property” and “excessive, repeated noise nuisance to other tenants” (paraphrased), with an attached typed list of the most bizarre shit. I’ll get to the list in a minute.

So first: our current adjoining tenants are great people. Our kids get along and play in the front yard frequently, we occasionally borrow stuff from each other, and a few times they’ve invited Tempest over to play at their house for a bit. We’ve never had complaints about them, nor them about us. I think the worst possible thing is that the kids (theirs and mine) occasionally threw their toys back and forth over the fence, and then we all asked them to stop, and they did. If they legitimately had noise complaints, we were never told either by them, or by the Landlord, and no warning was ever given in writing (which, afiak, is part of the law when dealing with noise problems). So, there’s no paper trail to back this one up. I… have no idea what that’s even about.
And then the list. Oh my god, this list.
I’m going to go through this item by item and when I have the time I’ll show ya’ll pictures. Because it’s so ridiculous it’s kind of hilarious… though I certainly didn’t see it that way the night she handed it to me, I was too busy being totally fucking hysterical over the idea that I had to somehow single-handedly find and move into a place with 3 children and cats (due to Curtis’ work), hopefully finding one that isn’t so far from schools/work that the cost of commuting doesn’t negate any savings on rent. We’ve been casually looking for a place for 5-6 months without any success, so my hopes are not high that we’d find something in less than 30 days.

Things on the list are some of the following:
Chipped paint on doorjambs (paint has a life of 4 years under title 40 of the tenancy act… and unless she comes in to re-paint, which she didn’t, any chips count as normal wear and tear)
Broken fireplace (it’s unplugged… and she did not walk up to it to try and turn it on, so I’m not sure how she came to this conclusion)
Towel rack ripped off wall, damage not repaired (we do not have a towel rack, and none came with the house).
Crooked doorknob on downstairs bedroom (seriously. This is serious. I looked at it last night and it jiggled a bit, so I tightened the screw. Voila – I just knocked four hundred dollars off the damage bill.)
Bathroom door not square, has to have been kicked repeatedly to do this. (Our bathroom door closes fine, it just doesn’t lock properly because the catch was installed about an 1/8 inch too high. Have no idea where the kicking thing comes in).
Garage mechanism broken (the chain slipped off the catch, it does often, we just slip it back on)
Called for washer repair when there was nothing wrong with the washer (this one’s true: we thought the washer was leaking, asked her to come by, she called a repair man and he figured that something polyester may have agitated up on top of the middle thing, so the rinse cycle water may have splashed out). I did not realize you could be evicted for “Better safe than sorry”?

She then claims one thousand dollars in damages to the above. I just… what? WHAT? It was so fucking bizarre. I mean, can’t you even come up with something good and expensive like we broke your stove by hitting it with sledgehammers or something? Even if all that shit was totally legit, it wouldn’t equal anywhere close to $1000 to paint a doorjamb, tighten screws and plug in a fireplace.
Curtis called her on his way home from work (he bikes, and has a handy dandy earpiece that came with his phone) to try and talk to her and she got very flustered and weird once he started asking for documentation of any damages or disturbances. Once cornered she said that other problems included us smoking pot out a window, but she left that off to be nice.
Now, a lot of people smoke pot here, including on this block, and I’ve tried it before. But… we’re not pot people. We never have been pot people. Our drug of choice is alcohol, and we tend to only get a six pack of ciders or some shit when Curtis gets his tips so it comes to of ‘extra money’ and never out of our budget. So, that one takes the cake.
Curtis asked again for proof and documentation of every claim, and proof that the damages cost that much to “repair”. She hung up on him, and has refused to speak to us since.

I called the RTA the next day and they were incredibly helpful. We went through the list and not only are half the things her responsibility, but the other half are non-issues, making this an illegal eviction. So now we’re going to court to dispute it. They assure me it’s a simple case because she has no documentation for her claims and even if she did, the claims are fucking ridiculous. So there’s that, but ugh, this is one thing I do not want to have to do right now.

The weirdest part about all of this is that we’ve never had any issues with her. I mean, she’s kind of a weirdo and has always been rather passive aggressive… like that one time at Tempest’s birthday party where she brought out a bucket of water balloons, set them up 10 feet from the party, and then announced that no one was allowed to use them and started filling them all up… just to sit there. Inevitably, kids started playing with them, at which point she sat in a chair and grumbled about “nasty kids” until my friends’ became so uncomfortable they had to leave (remember this facethemoon, oopidsnot?). She did weird shit like that all the time, but it didn’t really affect our rental so we just ignored it and were thankful she wasn’t a crazy landlady. This was totally out of the blue and I’m absolutely gobsmacked by it.


The next morning I deposited Curtis’ work cheque at the ATM, and rent came out the next day. In my haze of stress I forgot about the bank weirdness that happens if you do that: when you deposit a cheque at the machine they hold the funds for 5 days, but the money is technically still “there” so cheques and automatic payments will be taken from those funds without issue… however you can’t use your card to make purchases until the funds clear a few days later. What ends up happening is that cheques come out, but your card gets locked. This happened once before and it took me a day and a half to figure out why my account balance said I had hundreds of dollars but my card kept getting declined.
So, of course, my card locked up at the corner store which meant I couldn’t buy anything for dinner. We had stuff in the house for things like mac and cheese or grilled cheese, not enough for me but enough for the kids, but holy fuck with everything else coming down at once I felt a mess of depression and upset. The stress caused a horrible pain flare-up that was slowly getting worse. The pain was radiating up into my shoulders, and by the time I went to bed that night it was into my neck and jaw. All I could think as I sat on the couch with the kids was how badly I wanted someone to show up with a meal so I could sit and quietly cry it through. I would call my dad on a night like this, but he’s gone in land with his partner to deal with legit tenant issues (his partner’s tenant actually did do thousands of dollars of damage to her place, holes straight through from floor to ceiling, graffiti tagging, dead animals….). The pain was horrific, I was alone all night, and I really just wanted to curl up in a ball and hide in a blanket fort until the world just naturally righted itself around me.
While I was sitting there trying to figure what we could scrounge from the supplies we had in the house, I recalled the “Random acts of pizza” forum on Reddit that I’d heard about. Apparently it’s a place where people can ask to have a pizza gifted to them for all manner of reasons (being poor and hungry, offering up a drawing, just ’cause you want one, etc). I’ve had an account on Reddit for a while but only in the last 2 months or so have I started posting or commenting regularly in a few spots, so I have yet to get the hang of the site. I mostly spend time looking at the make-up forum, because omg make-up.
Anyway, a quick browse through the pizza sub forum showed that while some people had foodmergencies, most people were just looking for variations of “I’m hungry can I have one”? The rules seemed to reflect this: doesn’t matter, if you want a pizza you ask for it. So I swallowed my pride and took a chance, making a post saying that I’m under a lot of stress and could really use a meal I don’t have to cook. Initially one or two people responded right away, which was really kind, and then someone must have tipped off the blog trolls because they came in like a shitting hurricane all through the post and comments, making bizarre accusations that had nothing to even do with the forum, even going as far as to start private-messaging those who had offered to help out and urge them not to. The people who weren’t blog trolls (at least I don’t think so) were accusing me of pretending to be a single mother to garner sympathy because I did not specify in my title that I had a spouse, and at that point I was convinced that I’d made a terribly embarrassing mistake and misunderstood the point of the sub. If it was legitimately only for starving/verge of homeless, then I’d done something really stupid and offensive. I edited my post to apologize, and attempted to apologize to the individuals who had said they felt I’d been misleading, but of course you never apologize to trolls because that gives them more gas (it’s not apologizing, it’s “back-pedalling” or “caught in lies”). Seriously, I know better than to talk to these people but it did not occur to me at that time that a set-up was going on.
Shortly after that mess, a mod messaged me to say that that the forum is NOT only for people who “can’t eat” and is actually just for anyone, anywhere, for any reason, who would like to eat a pizza, and expressed horror at what was going on. Which means all that trolling was mindless gibber for no other reason than, “I don’t like you lol”. So that was disappointing. Not so much because of pizza, as much as it’s disappointing that even something as small as requesting a random act of kindness for a shit day is blatantly “not allowed” if you’re infamous enough to be disliked by three or four really frighteningly devoted people with sock puppet accounts because you didn’t spend the time to tell them the tale of your last week in immaculate detail. Like, really? Because that was totally necessary.

I was told later that a major reason for this buffoonery was because in some other thread somewhere I had told someone I became disabled after I had kids, rather than becoming disabled prior to deciding to have children. It comes as a surprise to me that this is a blatant, purposeful falsehood and I should have instead specified the details: I became disabled (self-identify + diagnosis) after 3 kids, then had my 4th after. Apparently the more generalized “after I had kids” was so false that it’s practically evidence of pathological lying.
When I first read that I literally thought that was a friend/reader making a joke, riffing off the idea of the ridiculous style of hyperbolic trolling… but then realized no, it was legit. Totally legit.

Anyway… my debit card was unlocked the following afternoon, which is WAY faster than it was when this happened the first time (I think that time it took like 9 days or some shit). Thank the fucking gods for that. That means I can actually shop for food and not have to worry about grilled cheese and canned beans for dinner for the next five days.
Regardless, the mod of the pizza forum sent an order to my house because she said she felt horrible for what she called the “worst witch hunt on this forum in a while” and wanted to try and make it better. It felt really nice to have a random act of kindness come out of that clusterfuck after all. Later, I realized that three people sent money to my Paypal account after I had gone to bed that night, which is also very sweet and a wonderful thing to do. The worst of the crisis has passed since my card is now unlocked… so instead I’m going to pass that on by gifting someone else on that forum. Because regardless of how I was treated, everyone deserves a nice act on a shit day, no matter what. So thank you to the three who were kind enough to try and make my night easier, that was a lovely thing to do for someone having a stressful night; I’ll pay it forward.

With the exception of that one kind gesture, the week has been pretty fucking awful. I’m so far out of spoons I’m scratching holes through the drawer.

I’ve been trying to relieve some of the tension by getting back into knitting. I started a lovely sweater like a year and a half ago and all I’ve done is the back piece and 3/4 of the right front. So, you know, its coming along. Ankylosing spondlytis (the diagnosis that has caused the majority of my issues over the years) is kind of a type of arthritis, and it can spread into wrists and other joints, so when I have flare-ups my wrists and fingers get really bad, preventing me from doing things I like to do like knitting or wire wrapping for more than a few minutes. Typing is even difficult after a while, which is part of the reason for decreased entries over the past few months. Overall the progress of the disease seemed to be at a stand-still for several years, but now I feel it might actually be getting worse. My pain doctor wants me to go back to my rheumatologist to check for disease progression, and has started talking about the remission drugs that cost like $40’000 a year. I do not know how you Americans do this shit, because if I had to pay $40k for medication that allowed me to live – I would very literally die.
The whole idea of upgrading to that kind of arsenal is nerve-wracking. I kind of want to say, “No really! It’s good! I’m good, see? I can still move!”. I don’t want to give myself injections of insane remission drugs for the rest of my life. I mean, I don’t want to take pills for the rest of my life either but I’ve come to a sort of peace with that one. Adding in shit like “Injections” and “remission” is a whole other story. It’s probably not as bad as it sounds, the side effects don’t seem too bad according to my pain doctor (he has a few patients on these drugs already), it’s just the idea of moving my condition into that scary “stop it from progressing” category that gets me. I don’t like the implication.

On the sort of plus side, it is my birthday today. So happy birthday to me: life sucks right now, but hopefully it will get better soon.

Links of the day:
New recommendations in bedsharing debate – Choice quote, “She said a recent Alaskan study found that 99 per cent of bedsharing deaths involved either maternal smoking or sleeping with someone affected by substances. Professor Fetherston said another critical risk factor was unsuitable environments, which could involve too much soft bedding, sleeping with siblings or pets and sofa-sleeping. “Often when researchers look at bedsharing, they include sofa-sharing or armchair-sharing, which have been shown to be very dangerous, with a number of associated deaths,” she said. “In fact, when you remove deaths associated with sofa-sharing from the analysis, the rate of bedsharing deaths is lower than the rate found in babies sleeping by themselves in cots.”
Dear less than perfect mom – Words that all of us need to hear from time to time.
Stick-n-find – This is what we’ve all been hoping for since wireless technology became a thing. You stick these little things to anything: a remote control, your pet’s collar, your backpack… and then your phone loads up an app that acts as a radar, leading you to the object with the sticky on it. Seriously. And a two-pack + app is only $50, which is a goddamn steal for this kind of convenience. When we have the extra cash, I am so buying this.
Parents of small children: let me be the one who says it out loud – A really wonderful, grounding essay about how losing your cool and wanting alone time does NOT make you a terrible parent. Small children are hard sometimes.

Comments

comments

5 Comments

  • Colleen says:

    Is it possible that this eviction shit…is related to Krazy? The question about how many people live there, and the noise complaints, and the pot. It seems like some shit she’d do (at least to a casual observer who doesn’t even know 1/4 of the story). I’m not sure what difference it makes it just struck me as coincidental.

    My 3-year-old walked up just as I scrolled past the picture of Fry, and she exclaimed, “oh look Mommy! It’s Futurzama!” (we’ve been on a kick lately).

    Oh, and, “I do not know how you Americans do this shit, because if I had to pay $40k for medication that allowed me to live – I would very literally die.” Yeah…it sucks. The last Christmas I worked at the bookstore, we hired a new lady. She had a PhD in art history and was reduced to working for minimum wage in retail. Her father had died, and then when her sister and brother-in-law went to manage his estate, they were killed in a car accident. Then she was diagnosed with cancer and ended up filing for bankruptcy. By the time I met her she was living with friends and trying to get her life back on line–and then her cancer came back. She quit over the manager’s treatment of her one day so I have no idea whatever became of her. But medical bills ruin lives here.

    • Karen says:

      I just posted the same thing about Krazy. I agree the whole “how many people live here” thing sounds like a clue.

      About injectable drugs to induce remission of AS – I think the Canadian health system should provide these drugs at a pretty affordable rate for you, Heather. How much they “cost” in the US is not meaningful since a whole lot of things related to profit and research etc. gets rolled into the “cost” of meds in the US. I’m surprised you haven’t yet been on any of the biologics. That seems wrong. You should absolutely investigate this possibility.

      • Babyslime says:

        I know it’s covered, or mostly covered, that’s why I said something to the effect of, “I don’t know how you Americans do it”.

        Surprisingly, a number of people have suggested Krazy, but that’s pretty far-fetched. She’d have no way of knowing or contacting her even if she wanted to.

  • Susie says:

    When I got my RA diagnosis I had a major fight with our insurance company about which meds to be on – they wanted me to be on methotrexate (bc it’s cheap) but since I was TTC at the time it’s obviously not appropriate. My doctor had to harass them for a month to approve an injectable (Humera), pregnancy-safe med, which otherwise would have cost me $2K a month (and therefore would not have been an option). So fucked up.

  • jennifer says:

    Sometimes things do get so bad that you wish you believed in exorcism so that you could actually call someone to get the demon out of your life. I’m sorry you had such a shiteous few days.

    ((hugs))

    jen

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