Tuesday, May 14, 2013
hi ho, hi ho
In order for Elizabeth to take on that college internship at Walt Disney World this past January, she would have to leave her one bedroom apartment in Tucson, Arizona. Nearly $800/month we had been paying and were going to have to continue paying, but we wanted her to experience this internship. Not too many people get opportunities like this. It almost didn't matter that she couldn't break the lease. Almost. Not that I didn't try. Yes, we had definitely tried. Believe me.
I did, however, figure out that if we switched Elizabeth to a 4 bedroom, 4 bath unit, the rent would be less. A lot less. Like half. And that was more palatable than paying nearly $800/month while she wasn't even there. Yes, we had tried to sublet her one bedroom apartment without any luck. So, that's when we decided on the move. The office staff charged us $200 to make that switch (sweet of them, eh?) but that was still better than paying $800/month. They also continued to charge us $25/month for the cat, even though the cat was now living in Texas. I was told that whatever was written on the lease in the beginning would have to remain on the lease now.
We actually couldn't get Elizabeth out of that apartment fast enough.
So, off Elizabeth went, with all of her belongings in hand ... and she bid a somewhat fond farewell to Arizona. And then a hearty hello to Orlando. It was a costly adventure but a fun one, nonetheless.
And I picked up the tab for that new 4 bedroom apartment... while Liz picked up the tab for the new apartment in Florida. And all was well. Until I got behind on the rent.
And the late fees racked up. Apparently $25 or $35 per day that you are late. Before I knew it, I owed a ton.
I was plum fed up with it all around March, but I kept on paying. In April, I'd had enough. Especially since I was told that Elizabeth didn't even have a room in the complex. We had been notified that she was being assigned to an non-usable apartment that was just storing extra beds and such since she wasn't around anyway, and we were to let them know if she was coming back so they could clean it out. Uh, seriously?
So, behind in fees and angry that my daughter didn't even have a space that we were paying for ... I had had enough. I went over the apartment complex' head and called the parent company to the apartment building. I didn't quite know what I would say that hadn't already been said, but I just had to voice my concerns that I was paying for a room that didn't even exist. And so, I called. Oddly enough, the parent company is located in Texas. However, I was transferred to Phoenix, Arizona, where I reached the area manager. And I told my story.
For every complaint that I voiced, the area manager had a quick comeback, a quick answer as to why I was paying what I was paying. And she was in no mood to listen to a grumpy mom who didn't like paying that rent. I griped and she fought back.
When we got to the part about how I was paying for a room that didn't even exist, her tone changed. "She is, too," she snapped. "She's in room 911C."
"Well, that's news to me," I said. "First I've ever heard of it. Last room I knew about was her one bedroom apartment in 816."
"She was never in 816," the A.M. quipped.
"Oh yes, she was," I argued.
"Are you sure?" I was.
"I helped move her into that apartment," I explained. And then the other end of the phone line grew strangely silent.
"Mrs. Kahle, I'll need to call you right back." And within five minutes, I was back on the line with Ms. A.M. She couldn't apologize fast enough or loud enough or long enough. And she thanked me over and over for calling.
"Say what?" was all that ran through my mind. That and "What just happened here?" Apparently what had actually happened in that silent five minutes was that the A.M. had discovered that apartment 816 had actually been rented out in January. We hadn't known. I'm also thinking that room 911C was also rented out. In fact, I can't help but think that the area manager had happened onto something, something that reeked of illegal-ness and smacked of a lawsuit. I'd had no clue, of course, about any of it so I had never planned to take any action. I just wanted to quit paying that stinky ol' rent. Instead ... we no longer have to pay rent at all! A N D ... we are getting all of the money back that we've been paying since January. Late fees included.
I couldn't wait to tell Rick.
Know what he said?
"Why did you put her in a 4 bedroom apartment? We couldn't even afford the one bedroom apartment."
I didn't even try to explain that one. I'll just present him with the check when it comes ... and let him try to figure it out then.