When we found this house, it felt like something handed to us by Fate herself. The morning he read the ad for it in the newspaper, my husband had done a number of things out of the ordinary. He had left early for work, and had a few minutes to spare at the train station. He picked up a newspaper we ordinarily did not scan in our hunt for a new place to live, and was, believe it or not, the first person to call the people who had put the ad in the paper.
When we first set foot in this house, I knew it was meant to be ours. It was just a feeling I had. When we went up the stairs to the kitchen, the view from the windows there was breathtaking, stretching over the rooftops crammed in the valley below our house, and opening out onto the wooded hills of the Black Forest. There’s even a little back yard complete with a large terrace, a stone grill, and even a swing set that the current tenants promised they would leave there for our son when we move in.
In the weeks before we moved in, things started looking a little dimmer. The former tenants had told my husband two months before that they might not be able to get everything out by January 1, when we were due to move in. Then two weeks before, they promised they would have everything out, but needed a few extra days. When we finally came to paint the walls two days before the big move, they were still taking their stuff out of the house. They said they needed to use the garage space to store their things for a couple weeks longer, until they could move it into the house they were building in the valley—still unfinished as I write this post. They also left a few very large pieces of decrepit cheap cabinetry in the attic, and a huge (ugly but useful) wardrobe on the lower floor with hand-grips that keep falling off and was home to quite a few spiders.
When the two weeks were up, they told my husband that they still needed to store their things in our garage for the next three or four months. That brought us to May.
In May, my husband and I underwent a marriage crisis, and he had other things to worry about than a bunch of trash in our garage. He’d never used a garage in his life, and didn’t miss not having one, even when we ARE paying rent on it. It wasn’t such a big deal at the time.
So May came and went, and so did most of June. Finally, the former tenants promised they would have their stuff out by the end of the week. That weekend, they came, true to their word, but only to remove the man’s motorcycle from the garage, and their patio furniture from our patio (of which I had made free use, and had frankly hoped they would forget about!). But nothing more. The week after that, they said they would be by to finally take away their things.
But, they never showed.
Two weeks later, just last week, the man called my husband and said he still needed the garage and was willing to pay us rent for it. He, on the other hand, offered my husband twenty euros per month, which is 10 euros less than what we’re paying for it each month. I didn’t know this until my husband told me that morning. My husband—illustrating our eerily close link to each other—laughed and suggested 100 euros in rent. I had already thought it was high time they offered us rent, and thought 100 euros was a fair monthly fee. It equals one-seventh of our rent, and including the garage, we have seven rooms in the house.
When my husband suggested that, there was a pause on the other end of the line.
“That’s ridiculous,” the man finally said. “You’re shameless.”
My husband told me he just wanted the guy to get his crap out of our garage, and gave him a figure he was certain he wouldn’t accept.
“I could find rental space on my own, for that money,” the loser said.
“Na, also. Geh’ doch,” My husband said. Fine then. Go.
The man said, “I’ll pay. But we need to get some things straight. I’ll come over tonight to discuss it.”
So, that night, we waited around for the guy to show up. His wife had come to pick up her son from our landlady, who watches the little creep (and he is a creep, and downright nasty to my son!). When she saw me, she was polite, but very cool. She said nothing more than hello to me, but no smile, and no mention of the impending meeting between my husband and hers.
Yes, we waited, and the arschloch never showed. He didn’t even call.
On Monday morning, my husband called me from work. He had spoken to Mike (yes, Mike. Not Maik. Not Micha. Mike.), who said he would move their things out of our garage by the end of the week.
“Great,” said my husband.
“And I never want to speak to you again,” Mike continued.
I laughed when I heard this. Who does this guy think he is? Who does he think we are? Are we friends? No. Did they ever invite us over for coffee, or a barbeque? No. Did his wife, a sales rep for Party Lite candles, leave a housewarming gift of a single lousy scented candle, even as recompense for leaving us their castoffs, and charging us nearly 3,000 euros to “buy” their installed kitchen, wood-laminate floors, and a wood stove that we can’t even use because the piping leaks smoke that stains the ceilings and walls black? Or extend one single invitation, or leave a current catalogue for me to browse, even after I had very politely asked for one? No. Mike had only made a few half-hearted attempts to involve my husband in their local soccer league, and never once called to see how he was doing after my husband had broken his rib the very first night.
“I never want to speak to you again,” was his final petulant comment to my husband.
Okay, buster. No skin off my back. Just get your garbage out of my garage. Let’s see how long it takes you, this time.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be making a little cash on e-Bay next week!