I’m coming down off my 3rd and most hellish move in the past 4 months.
Everything started to spiral out of control in September, when Amanda moved into the Pflugerville dwelling my erstwhile landlady dubbed “Baby Versailles.”
Amanda is a full-time nurse and a part-time paramedic, although she prefers being introduced as a paramedic, because “being a paramedic is what makes me cool.”
I have posted about all the notes that Megan, the Pflugerville landlady, left on the cabinets, the appliances, the refrigerator, and the wall of the shower. I forgot to mention the thermostat:
The first day we met, Amanda asked me what was with all the notes, and what Megan’s problem might be. “She’s fucking crazy,” I explained. In all fairness, it wasn’t just Megan exerting oppression. Elsa, our eldest roommate, had lived in the house for over a year, and had appointed herself the wizened keeper of Baby Versailles.
Most of Elsa’s concerns revolved around counter space, a jealously guarded commodity at Baby Versailles. All counters and cabinets are equally divided into four quadrants and allotted to the tenants, each space neatly labeled with a laminated tag. As previously mentioned, Elsa had informed me I couldn’t have more than 1 thing on my counter. Any more would degrade the “show-ready” quality of the living space.
A rice cooker, fine, but a rice cooker and a coffee pot? What is this, a meth lab? She also took it upon herself to always, whenever I left for the day, move my kettle from the stove to the counter labeled “Molly.”What she hoped this accomplished, she never told me. Amanda and I couldn’t set down anything on a surface without being met with a chorus of disgruntled murmurs from Elsa. The passive aggression was constantly burbling away, just beneath the surface. Baby Versailles, after only 2.5 months, had become a periwinkle hive of tension.
One day, the internet stopped working. I informed Megan via text, to which she responded:
We will show up today. I hear someone broke my connector cord. I want to know the last person to handle it. It wasn’t Amber, and it wasn’t Elsa. Let me now [sic] if it wasn’t you.
Megan had already tried to evict Amanda based on “bad vibes.” These bad vibes emanated from a private conversation between Amanda and me, during which Amanda elaborated on a thesis she had been developing, a scholarly paper entitled “Megan the Landlady: Raging B-Word? Studies Point to Yes. And also, don’t her eyes look like they’re upside-down?”
This conversation took place in the dining room, and was full volume. Elsa overheard and reported back to the authorities, as was her sworn duty. Megan then felt she had grounds to evict Amanda, because Amanda had committed “slander” and was trying to “turn the house against her.” I didn’t want to incite any more animosity, or participate in what had become a fucking episode of Game of Thrones.
Max came up with the following brilliant reply:
“What’s a connector cord?”
Because, you see, there is no such thing called a connector cord.
Megan didn’t respond.
Side Note: Don’t let the fact that this is a side note fool you. It is of the utmost importance. At one point, trying to narrow down what had gone wrong with the internet, Max went looking for a utility closet. He opened the door to a closet he thought might meet that description, but found nothing. The next day, Megan’s husband came to the house, and wordlessly put a lock on the closet door. I don’t remember anyone else being home when Max opened the closet. It seemed an odd coincidence, and not for the first time, I felt suspicious that there may be hidden cameras in the house.
Nowhere was safe. The walls have ears, and eyes. And stupid flowers.
Max came over for dinner the night the internet crapped out. He inspected the yellow cord, and declared that it was not the cord that pumps internet into the house. We called the phone company, and received instructions to try other phone jacks in the house. We couldn’t, because Megan had taped the Ethernet cord to the wall, and covered the tape with paint, to make it pretty. I texted Megan to let her know we needed to try other phone jacks.
Ok, thanks to you and Amanda for being so helpful. As mentioned, we will pay a visit late tonight or early in the morning to inspect our property and belongings at random. Take care.
That night, my friend Theresa was visiting from Dallas, so we took refuge at Max’s house, in order to avoid the $10.00 Baby Versailles fee for overnight guests. “She’s not staying here, is she?” Elsa had asked me, upon laying eyes on Theresa.
I woke up to read the following masterpiece:
We are at the property. My yellow cable has a plastic connector and as I was told the clip on the connector is broken. Either you or Amanda are liable for any property you damage. Wifi is complimentary on my behalf and is not mentioned in the lease. It will be fixed at my leisure. Both you and amndas text correspondences , dates and times, will be printed for our personal, legal use. I recommend you call for any further issues or complaints. Takecare.
Waves of fury washed over me, naturally. Was she a) really going to try to make me pay for something I had nothing to do with, or b) continue her campaign of harassment until I said something along the lines of “OK, fine! I’ll talk! It was Amanda! Clap her in irons, not me!” (For those of you keeping score at home, it wasn’t Amanda.)
OR C)!!!! MOST IMPORTANTLY, C)!!! WHAT “LEGAL PURPOSES” WOULD THOSE BE?
I wanted to call her for a bout of inarticulate screaming. But cooler heads prevailed and I instead rang my lawyer (dad) for legal advice. His legal advice was “IGNORE THAT SHIT!” Verbatim.
It was hard. But ignore I did. It was great advice. I never received another message from Megan. From then on correspondence was never incendiary, and only from her husband.
So Amanda and I found a new apartment, and spent our last weeks at Baby Versailles fantasizing about rearranging all the furniture before we left, or filling the many vases with fruit loops and orange juice, or simply leaving an understated flaming bag of dog shit on the stoop.
But in the end, it was like all other moving days. Sweaty, logistically nightmarish, spent mostly thinking about soaking in beer. Before I left the house for the last time, Elsa hugged me and told me to keep in touch.
Little did we know what awaited us at the new apartment. Tune in for our next episode,
NIGHT (AND DAY) OF THE COCKROACH