Now that we have escaped the gravitational pull of Planet Wedding and have bumped down again on Earth, there are some issues to be dealt with—issues that had been placed on the back burner in favor of guzzling champagne and gorging ourselves on cake…oh, halcyon days where are you now? The most pressing of these currently is the return of our substantial security deposit from our former lying, cheating, craphound landlord.
Predictably, this has not gone smoothly.
This is a photo of my reading nook at the Dream House, a space of calm and succor to me in these trying times.
After all the work we did on that place to make it liveable (six weeks of full time labor initially + ongoing maintenance of the interior and the grounds—all jobs the our landlord flatly refused to do, although they were indubitably his responsibility), after the crisis of the sixty-year-old furnace’s death in the coldest part of the winter, after a million other little insults, lies, and quotidian atrocities we endured at his hands, Mr. Craphound actually had the gall to suggest that we left the stove a little dirty (we scrubbed it until our fingers bled) and that we had stolen a carbon monoxide detector (he never installed such a detector and we are categorically not thieves).
Finally, Mr. Craphound told Alex that he would meet him at the old property at noon on Sunday to give him our deposit check. Sunday was the last day he could legally return the deposit to us according to Massachusetts Law.
Noon passed. Alex left Mr. Craphound a message.
12:30 passed. Alex left Mr. Craphound another message.
1 p.m. passed. Alex left Mr. Craphound a third message.
1:30 passed. Alex left a final message for Mr. Craphound.
2 p.m. passed. We left the house. No return call from Mr. Craphound.
By the time Craphound finally called at 3 p.m. to say that he was “running a little late,” Alex had passed some point of no return. Telling it like it is, folks, I’ve never seen Wellerstein so angry.
“When we get home,” he said, “I’m writing Craphound a letter and I’m going to make it clear that he’s on the wrong side of the law now.
I was secretly delighted to see my exquisitely diplomatic husband transmogrify into Dirty Harry before my eyes. What Craphound had to ask himself now was, “Do I feel lucky?”
While I finished this scarf—which is by the way the only knitting I’ve done since this whole wedding caper began—Alex composed his letter.
Mulberry Silk, Laines Du Nord, in color Denim. Four skeins. Pattern by Mac and Me. Lovely results due mostly to the yarn, not the knitter.
Here’s a close-up of the ruffle:
I just love a good ruffle, don’t you?
Dirty Harry’s letter to Mr. Craphound went something like this (edits have been made for brevity, but the essential text is unchanged):
Dear Lying, Cheapskake, Craphound Landlord,
I am writing to register our extreme displeasure at not being able to finish up everything with the old house this afternoon. This has dragged on now for over a month and will be well over the legal limit for when a security deposit should be returned.
You waited until almost three hours until after we were supposed to meet to try and get in touch with me, and made no real effort to apologize or to even recognize the inconvenience of this.
In the past we have had many reasons to be dissatisfied with your service as a landlord. You have never attempted to improve the property other than when major appliances malfunction, and even then you do it grudgingly and replace them with the cheapest possible alternative. You employed cheap, substandard laborers to repair the property, leaving it much worse for the wear (the bathroom wall was crudely replaced, the basement furnace never fully installed while we lived there, etc.). You acted like it was our fault the the furnace went out, when you know full well it failed because it was decades old (as both the Keyspan man and your workman bluntly told us).
We have many pictures of the place from before we moved in. It was horrifically dirty—the walls required two full washings before they could even be painted, and were covered with everything from dirt to human snot—full of junky old furniture from a previous tenant, full of problems ranging from extensive, excessive holes in the wall which required spackling to boards which had been haphazardly nailed into wall, to mirrors which had been glued to the wall and painted over at a later time. Some of the conditions were never improved: the outside weather window on one of the exterior bedroom windows was broken when we moved in (you promised you would repair it soon), and remained broken when we moved out (technically this is a sanitary code violation: 105 CMR 410:501). The yard was grown up to my waist and full of broken glass.
The broken glass, incidentally, came from bottles stacked haphazardly in decaying cardboard on the third floor back porch, and would often fall and break below until I finally took the time to clean them up last spring (something you should have done long before the third floor tenants moved out, and did not do even after they moved out; violation of 105 CMR 410.602). While the third floor tenants lived there you never did anything about the derelict truck in the driveway (another code violation). At least once you entered our premises without our permission (another code violation).
We put well over six weeks of full-time labor cleaning, painting, repairing the apartment when we moved into it. We maintained the property so well that neighbors complimented us on it (one of them even thought we owned the house, because we treated it so well), and one of the neighbors eventually offered to rent us their house.
We left the house in far better condition than when we moved into it. This is obvious to anyone who compares before-and-after pictures (of which we have many—I took many pictures when we moved in because I wanted to make sure you would not try to hold any pre-existing damage against us), and this is made evident by the fact that you were able to immediately rent it to another tenant at a higher rent. We gave the current tenant a tour of the place long before she expressed interest to you, when it still had furniture in it, and she was very impressed by the paint job and the general condition.
We have felt that in this deposit business you have tried everything in your power to extract additional money out of us. We find this to be in very bad faith, given all that we have done for you and your property.
We expect to receive our full deposit back. Do not give us any trouble with this. We are ready to be out of your hair and we are ready for you to be out of ours, and we do not want to get engaged in anything that would prolong our experience with you. (Editor’s note: Implication being, our hand is on the phone to call our attorney. Don’t make us dial that number.)
We have left the apartment much, much better than when you rented it to us, and we are sure any objective observer would see it this way as well—we have many photographs of all aspects of it before we moved in, and can provide them if you want us to refresh your memory. We are glad that a new tenant was easily found—it reflects well on the work we did, and it makes life easier for you, as we know you have had a lot of trouble renting units in that building.
I do not care anymore how you operate your properties, but I do care about my money. I wish you would act honorably about this. I am very frustrated that this has taken as long as it has, and I do not think you have been acting in good faith when in reality you owe us a lot.
I think we can all agree that this letter shows excellent mental health on Alex’s part. But whether Craphound will return our money or simply have us killed remains to be seen…
Tune in next time when we’ll hear Alex say, “Make my day, Craphound.”