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August 30th, 2011

How are things going with me?

Not very well, actually.

In the garden, I will be forced to declare success with one zucchini!

Yes, that’s right.  One.  When everyone else in the world is leaving them at bus stops and in unwatched gym bags, I am hanging onto my one for dear life.

I have more luck with a modest crop of yellow squash, enough wax beans for a meal, a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes, and an excellent crop of Hungarian hot wax peppers.  This means that 90% of the stuff coming out of my garden is the same color.  Not sure what’s for supper tonight, but the odds are good that it’s yellow.

I settled with the phone company, without having to go to court.  They are giving me the deal I was expecting, and I’ve canceled my lawsuit.  And a big thank you to Jeff, who read my blog and put me in touch with the right people to fix the problem.

But this means I now know how to go to small claims court.

I’m very worried that this will come in handy, this week.

Both boys are now in college.  #2 son is in his freshman dorm, and seems to be adjusting well.  The big crisis in the move was the accidental breakage of his Waldo costume cane.  Since he has not had to bust out Waldo yet, we have some time to find a replacement.  But I am having a hard time adjusting to the fact that my baby has absolutely no trouble leaving the nest, and seems happy and well adjusted.

That kid was always suspiciously sane.  I have no idea where he got it from.

#1 son is still giving me a chance to mother him.  He has moved into his first real apartment, with a lease and everything.  It is not going well.

For months he touted the location and swore that once he was in, he’d never leave it, since it is directly across the street from the student union.  We saw the outside, and it was what I would charitably call ‘a dump’.  But that is true of most student housing, and not a surprise.  Living in a dump is kind of a right of passage.

2 weeks ago, we moved him in.  Hopefully, in a week or so, we will be moving him out.  Initially, the lack of electricity in the living room was  a problem.  The air conditioning was plugged into one of those dead outlets.  The space was hot.  And dark, because of all the burned out light blubs, and the filthy windows.

The filthy, glass about to fall from the rotting frame, windows.

Oh, oh.

And the oven didn’t work.

But neither did the intercom and buzzer for the door.  According to a repair man, it will only work if you plug a phone into it.  But since the majority of college students are as likely to own a gramophone as a landline, it appears that no one is using the buzzer . The other tenants tend to prop the door open.  So far, the interior hall has had a sparrow, a chipmunk and a bat.

They are only a few animals away from vermin BINGO.

I asked how much he was paying.  The answer:  more than we are paying for a 10 room house and four acres of land.

I couldn’t help it.  I laughed.

And encouraged him to call the building inspector.   This resulted in a 7 pages of code violations.  My favorite is the one where the front wall of the building wiggles if you pull on it.  Not the door.  Not the door frame.  The wall holding it.  The front of the building wiggles.

That’s a new one on me.

Because we have been taking care of #2’s move in, we have had frequent visits with #1, who looks kind of like the puppies in that commercial with the Sarah Mclaughlin song playing in the background.  The one that is so depressing that everyone changes the channel when it comes on.

We have now reached the ‘lawyering up’ stage of trying to break the lease. According to the city of Madison, landlords are supposed to provide a safe and secure building BEFORE they take the money, not after the building inspector makes them do it.

I never used to be the sort of person who screamed “I’ll sue!” every time a problem happened.  And then, the problems got bigger.

If anyone else has a scary landlord story, I am all ears.