This story just gets whackier and whackier... I tell you.
After my renter left on the 30th of April, I was left with a house full of furniture to dispose of. Seeing as there were so many issues to deal with, things to repair, and no money to do it with, I decided to hold a garage sale and sell all of her stuff. My new renter kept reminding me that I was now in possession of everything and it was okay to do this... but I was still uncomfortable. And since I didnt want my former renter to know what i was doing, timing had to be perfect.
Former renter still needed to see me one more time though. She had a key to turn in and she needed to leave me a check that I was begging for, to take care of some of the damage. Did I mention that there was damage? There were five or six bashed in places in the walls... and one attic entry that had once been permanently sealed up, was no longer sealed up. That 3' by 3' sealed square on the wall had been used to hide something. What, though, I had no idea. All I knew now was that it needed repairing. And on Tuesday of last week, it was repaired. Sealed up. Tight. So were a few of the holes.
I hope you're taking notes... Both the little 3' by 3' square and one wall hole are going to come up again shortly...
So... Friday arrives and I have the events of the day perfectly timed out. I would be meeting the former renter after work for the last time, then meeting the first person to buy some furniture, then meeting the current renters to begin to get ready for the garage sale the next day. It was going to be a busy night.
My workday ended and I ran to the townhouse after work to meet the former renter. As I arrived, I noticed that the a/c was no longer on... the power had now been cut off and would not be turned back on until the new renter did so. The air was stale, but tolerable.
I tooled around in the house for awhile, waiting for the former renter... even using the master bathroom once. Take note. I used the potty. Trust me, take note.
Former renter arrived at 4:45 and I prayed the transaction would go quickly because a furniture buyer was due at the townhouse at 5:30. Fortunately, it did. Former renter brought her oh-so-A.D.D. 4 year old daughter with her... who immediately slammed the front door into the wall reopening one of the holes that had just been repaired. Well, not no more. All mom did was yell at her and life went on.
So, former renter leaves and I have a few moments to myself before the 5:30 meeting is to take place so I run to MY house to pick up a box of stuff for the upcoming garage sale. I returned at exactly 5:30 and let the potentials buyers into the house. It was then that I noticed that with the a/c turned off, the house sort of smelled like cigarette smoke. Funny, but I hadn't noticed that before. Funny. Anyway, potential buyers studied the couch and took off all of the cushions, felt of the springs and decided it wasn't in good enough shape for them. In removing the cushions, a wadded up t-shirt was discovered that read "Let's Get Drunk and Make Bad Choices" across the chest. I laid said t-shirt on the coffee table. And then potential buyers left. And I left.
I ran home to prepare some dinner for my ailing husband. And when I returned, found that the new renters had already arrived and were already inside. New renter pulled me aside and said, "Kris, when we arrived, it smelled like a lit cigarette burning somewhere." I thought she was over-reacting. Yes, it had smelled a little like cigarettes to me, too... but to say it was a LIT CIGARETTE? Oh, come on.
New renter's daughter was with them and she said it had smelled like pot to her. I was a bit irritated. "Now you're just trying to find fault here... cuz that's pushing it a bit far," I thought to myself. Still it was all very curious.
And so we all headed to the garage to begin our work. We sorted and rearranged and laughed and worked and swept and cleaned and priced and tagged. When all of a sudden, a 13-ish year old boy appears on the driveway.
"Can I help you?" I asked.
"I need to go inside."
"No, you don't. Flavio doesn't live here anymore."
"I know. But I need to go inside."
"I left my keys here."
* blink blink *
"I left my keys here when I was here earlier."
"You were here earlier?"
"Yes, looking for my lighter."
And my normally mild mannered, new renter-to-be went ballistic. And rightly so.
"Do you always make it a habit of trespassing, young man?" New renter asked.
"No. But I need to go inside."
"No, you don't," I insisted.
"Yes, I do," Young man insisted.
"See these people here? They live here now. Flavio is in Florida."
"Yes, I know he's in Florida. He sent me in to get a lighter he left behind."
"Do you want a lighter or keys," I asked.
"But not the lighter?" I chuckled.
Young man was getting irritated with me.
"Can you just let me in?"
"No, I can't do that. This house belongs to them now and trust me, I've been through everything and your keys are not here. Your lighter is not here."
"I need to see."
New renter joined back in... "Where did you leave your keys?"
"I don't know."
New renter then grilled Young man. He asked him his name, where he lived, how he got here (he walked), what the keys were for (his car) (Really? You're only 13!) and if he'd ever been inside before. Yes, that one was a trick question.
"No, I've never been inside before."
"Then how did you leave your keys?"
"Well, I'd never been inside before today."
Sure, kid. Sure.
New renter also asked how he'd gotten inside and did he make trespassing a habit? Young man admitted that he climbed in through a window. New renter said he knew exactly where he'd come in because the window had some damage... Young man denied having broken the window. Of course, he did.
So, I couldn't resist... "Can you tell me something honestly? Why did you burn my fence?"
"I didn't do that."
Not sure why I thought I'd get a straight answer on that...
So New renter's wife decided to take pity on Young man and headed inside to see if she saw anything. She found nothing. And fearing retaliation, or at least a few more visits, New renter decided to walk Young man inside himself to show him that his keys were not there.
New renter and Young man, of course, found nothing. However, Young man did see the t-shirt that I'd laid on the coffee table earlier. Young man said, "Oh, I left my t-shirt here."
"Where did you leave it?" I asked.
"Right here on the coffee table."
"You did not..." I confronted. "It was wadded up in the couch cushions."
"Yeah, that's where I left it."
Why did I bother.
While inside, New renter said that Young man seemed awfully anxious when he saw that the 3' by 3' square entry to the attic. Darn. His secret hiding place had been discovered and secured. And he'd gotten Young man to admit that he'd been in the house millions of times before. Well, he didn't admit it so much as he let it slip. Yes, he was a sharp cookie.
So to make a long story short (it's too late, Kris... it's too late!) we had a visitor.
And you know the worst part of it all?
We found the lit cigarette after all. It was in the master bathroom, behind the toilet. The same toilet that I used earlier.
Said young man was in the house... when I was tinkling... and because I was alone (I thought) I didn't close the door.
Know what my former renter said about all of this? (Because I contacted her, you bet I did...)
"Teenagers. They sure test the limits some time, don't they?"
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