Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our Second Rental Housing Revelation

About a week after returning from our honeymoon we received a letter from our landlord.  The house we were living in was going to be demolished so that he could build his wife her first new house.  We had a month to relocate.  As much as we wanted to leave this house we did start to panic as there were still no easy to find rentals in Didsbury. But through a friend of a workmate of a friend of Dell's we did find a new place to go.  

The new place was just as run down as the house we were in, but we grabbed at it in gratitude.  It was a renovated army barracks building brought in from northern Alberta and transformed into a 4-plex.  We were on the top floor, most fortunate as the sound barrier between our apt. and the one below us was practically nil, and listening to the mice in the ceiling is as much noise overhead as I can manage at the best of times.  I spent our 3 years in there trying to only play my piano when the downstairs neighbours were away from home.  The one smoker we had there for awhile tried to pay attention to when I was out so he could smoke his cigars without bringing on an asthma attack for me. It was a wonderful lesson in cooperation between neighbours.

The apt. was, once again, not in the greatest shape.  The ceilings peaked at 15 feet in the living room and we could hear the mice overhead constantly scrabbling about.  The floor lino was in better shape than it had been in the "wee hoose" but was a dark red.  There were yellow and brown stains all over the painted walls in most of the rooms and we tried not to get too close to them. We could only hope that it was beer and not something worse........aiiii yiiiii.....  The kitchen cupboards were, sorry to say it, pee yellow!! (the more polite "urine" is too polite a word for the color of those cupboards).  Since the landlords had no intention of cleaning the place up or painting it for us we had to call for assistance from dear contractor friends and employers.  By the time we located the rental unit the landlord of the "wee hoose" was pressuring us to leave earlier than the agreed upon date. 

What an exhausting 3 days we and our contractor friends spent cleaning and endlessly painting that suite.  The contractor' s entire family spent the 3 days with us and by the time we were done some of them were absolutely ill from exhaustion, paint fumes and the general filthiness that prevails on any such project. We were so grateful to them all for the loving donation of their time and efforts.

We thought we had another week to be out of the "wee hoose", but the morning after our marathon renovation the phone rang at 7am.  It was the contractor's wife and she said she had a very strong feeling we needed to return to the old place and get the rest of our things out as quickly as possible.  This is a discerning wise woman and we knew we had to listen to her advice.  Sure enough:  we arrived at our former residence less than a half hour later to find that there was all ready a construction crew there tearing the place down.  We barely got our clothes out of the cupboard and thrown into the back of a half ton truck before the bedroom  walls and ceiling came crashing down.  We did lose a couple of wedding presents and that was maddening, but we are still grateful for the lady's early morning call or we would have lost all our clothes and personal articles that had been left behind!

A very funny thing happened when we painted the kitchen cupboards.  Dell was determined he wasn't going to spend any more money on this suite and so he went to his workshop and mixed together every little last bit of leftover paint he could find among the various partially empty tins.  Of course the color came out a weird shade of brown.  When a  friend from town came to visit she was appalled at the colour.  The conversation went like this:
She:  who painted those cupboards that horrible shade of brown????
Me:  We did! You should have seen the horrendous yellow colour they were before we came here!
She:  That "horrendous  yellow colour" was painted on by ME when I lived in this suite 3 years ago!!
hahahaha  Small towns--ya' gotta watch what ya' say! 

The creaks, pops, squeaks and groans emanating from the hot water tank and furnace plagued us our entire tenancy but it was our little joke when the hot water tank actually exploded a couple of hours after we moved from the suite. The incoming tenants had arrived hours before we had to be out and had hassled us to the point of frightening me trying to get us to hurry up. We had to remind them very strongly of the legalities they had agreed to as to our leaving time.  When we found out the tank had exploded and soaked many of their belongings it was difficult not to snicker just an itty bitty bit!!  My bad........(Yes, just mine. Dell is too grown up and filled with compassion to snicker at anyone's misfortune....sigh.........)

The nearly 3 years we spent in the army barracks 4-plex was quite interesting.  It was freezing cold all year round; great in the summer but winters were draughty so we had colds and bronchitis most of the time we were there.  I spent most of my pregnancy there with the mice and the bugs and the draughts but survived it all.  A few weeks before my son was born we were able to leave Didsbury and move 15 km north to Olds and another apt./condo experience, Rental #3!

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