Sleep is Good


I took a nap this afternoon, which has kind of derailed my normal sleeping schedule (usually, I try to be getting into bed at least by 10:30), but it felt really good. I lost a lot of sleep over the last couple of weeks due to the stress of the previous household coming all to pieces and then moving suddenly. So I figured now was a good time to talk about it.

This is a bit long, so I put it behind a cut.

The short story is, my landlady went all crazy on me.

She was always kind of weird, and a very loud and disruptive person (the TV was on if she was awake, often in two rooms at once). She had all kinds of strange behaviour (she would turn off my bedroom light if I left it on while I made dinner), and odd beliefs (she thought there was dirt in the dryer).

Then she came into my room one evening and told me I had an attitude problem and was being passive aggressive. Why? Because one evening when I was in a hurry to leave the house for a meeting at school, she gave me an order and I said OK and left the house without HOPPING TO IT. Because, duh, I was in a hurry, and the order was not something that was going to hurt anybody (she asked me to wipe up some "dirt" -- dryer lint -- that was on the top of the dryer).

When I told her that taking care of her needs would never come before my school work, she got very upset with me and told me I had a bad attitude and that she was the landlord and I needed to acquiesce to her demands. (I later found out that she didn't know what "acquiesce" actually meant, but that's another thing.)

Keep the following things in mind:

- Every morning, I got up early and did all the dishes in the kitchen, and put any dishes in the dish rack away, whether they were mine or not. I did this without complaining or making a big fuss, because I thought it would be nice for the household.

- Even though it meant that I sometimes ate cold food, I always cleaned the kitchen and washed used pots and pans before eating, because I knew she had a thing about a messy kitchen. I did this to be considerate of her.

- I was allowed to use only the back of a small portion of a refrigerator shelf, because she needed to use the rest, and I never complained to her about that. I did this to be considerate of her as well.

- She was storing a large box, a piece of a bed frame, a 1970's vintage TV, and a large rocking chair in my room, which I allowed her to do to be nice.

Nothing I said made any difference to her. She was also worked up about my once (ONCE) pushing the blinds aside with my hand as I came in, trying to find the little stick that she insisted I use to open them lest they fall instantly to pieces. I told her that if I'd caused damage to the blinds, I would repair or replace them, and she said they were special blinds (which they were not, but whatever) that might not be available any more, and I said I would pay to have replacements custom made. Then she got angry with me for offering to make good on this alleged damage. Why? Because absolutely no damage happened, and she knew it. She just wanted me to submit to her. It was all about power.

Finally she left, and I could go back to homework, only she got me so worked up and frustrated that I couldn't get much more done. Nice. I also had trouble falling asleep, and that was the beginning of the badness.

When I went home that weekend, I hugged our roommate John and thanked him for being such a good person and such a wonderful roommate.

A week later she came and wanted to talk to me again. I told her I was busy and I would talk to her in a couple of hours, at which point she got offended and huffed off. I was able to get some homework done in that time, but not much, because I was so upset that she was going to go through the harassment thing again.

She told me she wanted me to move out. I told her I had a 12-month lease. She said she was invoking the "disturbing behaviour" clause. I asked her what I did that was so disturbing. She said that Noel washing the dishes bothered her -- no that he did it, but the way he did it, which was apparently passive aggressive.

Eventually, after she repeatedly accused me of being hostile, passive aggressive, and disturbing because I spent my spare time in my room doing homework, we agreed that I would move out in 30 days. She said she would write up something that released me from the lease, and I was fine with that.

That evening, I did laundry, and since she was watching TV at the time (what a surprise) asked her if the noise would bother her. I know, it sounds like a random moment, but it will feature in the events to follow.

The next evening, I got home from a long day of school and apartment hunting, and all the lights were on and she was running around cleaning and smiling, like I had never seen her. She met me at the door and smiled. "What would you say if I said to forget everything I said yesterday?"


"I've been thinking about our talk all day and I just feel so much better about US."

Frankly, I was scared. I've seen some people have psychotic breaks and she was acting just like that. One minute I'm hostile and passive aggressive, the next minute I'm her best friend? The way she talked, it was as if she and I had a romantic relationship rather than that of landlord and tenant as she insisted only the previous day. I don't think so. I said very little and went to my room and had a minor freakout. I got no homework done at all that day, which totally sucked.

In the morning, she got up when I did (which she never did before) and turned the TV on and wanted to talk to me. I was unhappy about losing my only quiet moments at home, and left early for school. I spent the afternoon looking at apartments. When I got home, I only had a short time before I had to go back to school to work on a project (I was way behind on studio work because I'd not been sleeping well and wasn't able to work as fast as I usually do). She stopped me in the living room and demanded to know whether I'd made up my mind about staying. I said I was going to move out as we discussed, because frankly I did not trust her not to change her mind again.

She told me that she was going to hold me to the initial lease despite her promises to dissolve it, and said she promised not to change her mind again (warning! danger sign!) and said she felt everything was resolved. I told her I did believe her, and I had no way of understanding what had made her change her mind, and that I did not intend to change my behaviour one bit, so I figured we'd end up back in the same argument again.

She told me that when I asked her if I would disturb her by doing laundry, it was the first considerate thing I ever did for her. Washing the dishes didn't count, see. Nor did keeping the kitchen as clean as she wanted, or dealing with the blinds the way she wanted, or storing her crap in my room, or anything I did to be considerate of her. So I told her that if she felt that my previous actions had been so inconsiderate, I would stop doing them, because clearly the only thing that mattered was asking about doing laundry. She told me that was childish, and I told her I didn't care, because seeming like an adult to her was completely unimportant to me.

When I came home later that evening, she said, in a pleading little girl voice, "What you said earlier about not being nice to me -- you didn't mean that, did you?" I glared at her and walked away. I was done with pandering to her petty little needs.

The next day when I came home from school, I gave her the finger when she got all in my face about something, probably the stupid blinds. God, that felt good. I don't think I'd ever let her know how little I respected her, and she was shocked.

When I got to my room, I found that she had put put several notices on it. One of them was a letter telling me that Noel was no longer allowed to visit me in that house, and accusing me of causing her to break glasses in the kitchen. I'd never seen a broken glass in the house, but whatever. I went out and told her she could not ban my husband from visiting me in my home without good reason, and she said that the rental agreement gave her that right (it did not; the only thing remotely close to that was the statement that only one person could live in the room). I attempted to explain the concept of inalienable rights, but she didn't understand. She insisted that when I first talked to her about the room, I said I would spend most weekends in Alameda, and she didn't like Noel and didn't want him in the house. I told her she was out of luck, because Noel was coming down that weekend and she was going to have to deal with it. I went back to my room and called Noel to tell him about this. He was already driving down, and we'd already booked a motel room to get away from the house, but we were unsure about what we should do.

(The other piece of paper was a notice that she would need to enter my room that weekend. When I asked her why, she very defensively said, "None of your business!" She got very angry when I said that it was indeed my business to know why she wanted to go in my room. She refused to tell me.)

She came to my room and said she would let Noel visit me if I compromised. I told her, again, that having Noel visit me in my home was my right, and not one she could remove for no reason, so I didn't have to compromise with her in order to have him visit. She suggested we start writing up a dissolution of the rental agreement, and I spat something out quickly and gave it to her. We went back and forth for a few edits on it, before Noel arrived and he and I left for the evening.

The next morning, I signed the lease on a new apartment. I got the key in the afternoon, and we were ready. We went back to the house and I packed a bunch of stuff up and put it in the closet so she could not see that U was ready to move out. I packed up my toothbrush, which I later discovered she had soaped while we were out. I wonder what else she would have done if I had stayed.

It took us hours to work out a dissolution agreement. She wanted a lease without any obligation on her part to provide me with a home. I wanted to get the fuck out of there as quickly as possible and with a reasonable obligation. Finally we had something that was acceptable to me. She had chosen wording that said what I wanted it to say, although I know it did not say what she wanted it to say and I chose not to tell her that. As soon as the agreement was signed, I gave it to Noel for safekeeping, and we began moving me out.

She had been in her room watching TV, and at one point she came out and saw us moving things and wanted to know what was going on. "I'm moving out." "Now?" "Yes." "You don't need to move out now." "Yes, I do." She rolled her eyes and huffed off to her room.

It started raining, but we got everything moved out. On the final load, I packed up some things from the fridge and she came out to demand to know where I was going. I did not tell her, because I knew she was unpredictable and I did not want her at my new home. She got angry with me and insisted I had told her I would not be paying the full rent due in November, even though I gave her a written notice saying I would pay what was due her. She also accused me of rolling furniture over the floor, which I had not done.

I left, then realized I had forgotten some things and went back to get them. She had bolted the door so I could not get in. She stood there and taunted me by saying I could not come in unless I promised to pay rent for November. What the fuck? I had already given her a written promise to pay rent. This woman wanted me to submit to her as a superior. I am not a submissive person.

So I went back to the new house, and called the police. When I got hold of them, they said they had just talked to her and the door was unlocked. She had also turned the lights out to make it inconvenient for me. I went back, got my things, and left. I left the lights on because I know that drives her crazy.

It was so nice to sleep in my own home without fear.

I didn't have to see her again for a week, but she sent me some psychotic e-mails. Here's one quote:

5.   If you choose to NOT honor your latest rental agreement, that TWO people signed and TWO people have to AGREE to terminate, I have been told that the original rental agreement goes back into effect and you will be facing legal action, in addition to costs of repairs or replacement of property you damaged here at [address], that you so adamantly stated you would rather do than take proper care of; and to which I have a witness.

Yeah, her ability to form sentences is kinda limited.

Or this:

2.  And as far as my changing my mind about you staying here, it was not only in YOUR favor that I was willing to give YOUR erratic behavior and lack of communication another chance but I was also trying to spare BOTH of us the headache of the moving process, especially when you stated just the night before that you had exams coming up and did not have the time to do so. And, my change of mind, as I told you before, was largely due to your FIRST respectful comment to me regarding whether or not I would mind you doing laundry when you wanted to. I was both shocked and pleased that you finally demonstrated some politeness and consideration. THAT was what changed my mind and gave me some hope that perhaps we could work this out after all. But when I told you this you balked and acted like you would rather move than work it out; and again said you did not understand my change of mind even though I tried to reiterate it several times. You just seemed unable to rationalize my reason for changing my mind and your distrustfulness took over again.

(Um, no duh I could not rationalize your changing your mind, you psycho freak. And yes, I distrust somebody whose moods swing so wide and who tries to strongarm her way through everything by insisting that a landlord has the right to make all the rules in a household, no matter how unreasonable.)

One of her "things" is that she's a counsellor -- which must mean jack shit if people like her can do it -- and so she was constantly insisting she must be right because of course she's a professional. For example:

Being a counselor I deal with people who demonstrate what you have ALL  the time. In fact I specialize in it. YOU were the one who was feeling out of control and those behaviors demonstrate that better than anything I could EVER say.

That would be flipping her off when she got in my face. Funny how she didn't mention her own application of SOAP to my TOOTHBRUSH.

The reason I temporarily locked you out that ONE time (the night you moved) was to call the police myself because people who assume the victim role even when they are not can be dangerous to others. I had no idea what you were capable of in your persecution delusion after your clear demonstration of verbal abuse and defiant MISHANDLING of MY property, i.e. :                                                                            1. Rolling your furniture over my white carpet, that you would also have had to walk on after having been in the rain already, which you've known all along is NOT allowed, and which now needs to be cleaned.                                                                                                                           2. Pushing right through the brand new vertical blinds deliberately and defiantly time after time, after repeatedly being requested, then told that it would damage them, and,                                                                                                                  3. Causing the breakage of glassware in the kitchen by doing exactly what you were told not to do because it could cause that very thing to happen.

See what I mean? This lady is nuts about her rules. (The funky formatting is all hers.)

The best part about her e-mail was the one that she intended to be the most intimidating. I told her she should see a lawyer about her assertion that she could ban Noel from visiting me, and she said it was none of my business what she did. Then she included this:

cc: Real Estate Advisor

I am so frightened.

Noel came back this weekend, and brought cleaning supplies and a video camera with him. On Friday evening, we went to the house. She was there, and demanded to know what I was doing there. I said I was there to clean my room, and she got very demanding with me. I ignored her.

When i got to my room, I discovered that she'd been in there and vacuumed. And stored a bunch of her stuff in there, including hanging clothes in the closet. I removed her stuff and told her it was not welcome in my room, and she got very hostile with me. Then I cleaned the room, the shelves in the kitchen that I had used, and the bathroom.

Then we left the house and had a good night out on the town.

Sunday morning, we went back to see if she had put things back in the room. Keep in mind that I'm supposedly renting the room and a parking space through mid-November. When we got to the house, there was a car in my space. We went into my room and saw that she had been in there again, and had put some of the stuff back. We left.

This evening I wrote a letter demanding the refund of my October rent. Her actions show that she was not acting in good faith and allowing me use of the room and my parking space during the rental period, so why should I have to pay rent for that time? I will end up having to sue her for it, which will suck, but I can't see her winning with the written ban of my husband from the house.

But now I never have to deal with her psychosis again.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ayse published on October 25, 2004 1:06 AM.

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