I ran across a listing on Zillow last night for a way-too-good-to-be-true house for rent in Bay Ho, a neighborhood of San Diego with mostly mid-60’s ranch-style homes in a quiet area. This house was everything we wanted: not too big, not too small, a big backyard, mid-century, relatively new kitchen and all for only $1500/mo, all utilities included (water, electric, trash, cable, internet).
The utilities alone were enough to make me call “bollocks!”, but the price was the kicker. It’s hard to find sizable rentals under $1700 and those are usually well under 900 sq ft., so I had a feeling it was falderal, but I’d hate to pass up an opportunity if one presents itself, so dubiously, I emailed for more information.
This morning I received this email from a woman named “Peggy Phillips”:
Thanks for your interest.My home is available for rent and ready for you to move in,once you agree to my terms.Though,we wanted to sell but for the advice of my family about the property market we did decide to rent it out and we are looking for a God fearing family that could take good care of our home.
The property is located in a 1,556 sqft.A 3 bedrooms and 2 Bathrooms.Pets are allowed and the rent is all inclusive.The rent is $1,500 while the security deposit is $1000.
Ah, the ol’ “God Fearing Family” routine. I’ve hear this song before.
I replied back that I am not a god-fearer, but am a responsible, successful entrepreneur with excellent credit and stable income. Their month-to-month set-up is not for me, but how much are they selling for? I said I’m in the market to buy (which is true) and I’d like to see the property right away. Oh, but I’m also a science-loving atheist with two same-sex live-in lovers, 4 pot-bellied pigs and a miniature pony. *waits* I knew by now that this was 99.9% a scam, but now I just wanted to see how far they’d go.
Within a few hours, I received a long reply full of repetition and typos, assuring me that I would be perfect for their property. But, it was also a God-fearing bonanza. They must’ve said the phrase “God-fearing” like 30 times. Naturally, they were leasing the property themselves due to their “former realtor being unreliable”, but oh! By the way, they’re in Washington, so could I please send them the application and deposit right away since there is so much interest? Then they’ll mail me the keys so I can see the house! Joy of joys!
Um… no. But I’d be happy to send you this cordial reply:
Thank you for your reply, but you shan’t see a red cent or an application from me.
1) I Googled your phone number and found you have several listings on Zillow scattered throughout the country (Chicago, Bridgeport, Los Angeles, Miami, and Seattle, to name a few) using the phone number you’ve provided (which is a land line based out of Pikesville, Maryland, by the way, not Washington) for the exact same price and security deposit in every city. Because that’s not suspect at all.
2) You keep pushing this “God fearing” thing — something you’ve mentioned too many times for it to smell fresh. Your religious affiliations have no bearing on a business transaction and your continued insistence that you are “God-fearing” and you want a “God-fearing tenant” conflict with your comments that I’m perfect for the property, as I’ve declared myself an extra gay science-loving atheist with a small zoo. This only tells me that you think I’m not smart enough to figure out that this is a scam and that I will blindly mail my money to someone I’ve never met in person simply because you “love Jesus”.
4) Your email is so full of typos and redundancies, it was very likely copied and pasted from numerous other email scams and/or you have a poor grasp of the English language. I’m going with both.
5) Someone lives there, Mensa. Next time pick a property that isn’t occupied already.
If you are a legitimate landlord and property owner, my application would probably be declined after this email. But since you are likely a scammer and emailing me from Nigeria and not Washington, you may kindly go fuck yourself.
Fearing Only Clowns,
I boggles the mind that people actually send these miscreants money.
The home we rent is fine. It’s quite nice by most standards and we are happy with it. We wouldn’t buy it or anything, it’s got it’s quirks as any place does, but we’ve no issue with our actual house for the time being.
But “subpar” is too kind of a word for the property management we’ve had here in the last year since we moved in. Terrible. Lazy. Combative, even. It’s been a revolving door of management companies, but the thread between them all is that no one wants to do their job and every month, they evict us.
We are bill-paying people. I bust my ass and make sure every bill is paid on time, usually without incident. I use my bank’s bill pay and know, without question, that the bill has been paid and issued on time. But for some reason, five times in a year we’ve been issued a “5 Day Pay or Evict” notice on our front door, as well as by mail. Five times. Four of which happened in a 6 month period. In December, they even issued it on festive red paper! Ho ho ho!
For some reason, these people insist that they don’t get our rent check. We’ve been told it’s our fault, we’ve been told it’s the mail man’s fault, the bank’s fault… we’ve been asked to prove that we’ve paid. And once, back in December, I was told I “have an attitude” and I “probably just trying to get the fee waived” when I deigned to come into the office and address it personally.
Every single time, when I’ve insisted my check has been issued and/or provided proof from my bank, they’ve found the check. Magically… in the back of the mailbox, under a pile of old mail, in a letter tray, and my favorite, in the front seat of the maintenance man’s truck a week later.
So, today, when we got yet another one, both of us kind of lost our shit and stormed over to the office, intending to tear (yet another new) property manager a new one and possibly even ask to be let out of our lease. But fortunately, this new manager seems like he’s got a clue. He seems professional, experienced, friendly, like he really cared who we were and where we lived, so Mike and I both were instantly calmed and felt confident he’s doing his best to clean up the “hot mess” as he put it.
I’d told mike the day before after talking to the manager on the phone about the barking dog, “We have a new manager. He seems nice… professional. My gaydar totally went off.” And sure enough! My gaydar doesn’t lie.
Not that I’m the Homo Whisperer or anything. Just because someone’s gay doesn’t mean he’s competent or that we’ll get along, but I felt at ease instantly, for some reason. He had a dishy and friendly, yet still professional demeanor and let’s just say he was well maintained. I knew he probably handled his job the same way. I sort of want to go over at quitting time with a pitcher of cosmos and meet his cocker spaniel.
At one point, while he was reassuring us that he was going to whip the property into shape, he said, with this totally SoCal Latino/gay accent, “I don’t want to be dramatic or anything, but I’m really good at my job. I’m excellent, but I have to be allowed to practice my craft.”
I had a hard time stifling my smile, so I just let ‘er rip. I found that totally endearing. It’s prop management in North Vegas, honey. Not Cats.
Anyway, our lease is up at the end of October, and hopefully, we’ll be on our way back to San Diego, but in the meantime (or, if heaven forbid, we have to stay), we hope this manager sticks around.
So, here’s something novel: I went out to run errands, forgot my phone and was incapable of alerting people of my whereabouts. I know, the horror, right? But… but… how will anyone know I’m at the gas station? How will they go on without knowing I’m buying coffee creamer? How did the world spin before Foursquare?!
But, one good thing about not having my Twitter or Foursquare handy? Blog fodder, yo. I’d forgotten that’s how it works. And naturally, the one time I forget to bring my phone, the following occur:
I taste a delicious, awesome spicy pork taco… at a car wash minimart.
A fat kid holding a cardboard sign that reads “I em hongry” eats a McDonald’s cheeseburger and asks me for a dollar.
I am accosted by a deflating wacky, wailing, inflatable, arm-flailing tube man.
An engine ignites, catching a man’s crotch ablaze which he subsequently tries to put out with a slushy.
I am solicited to pay for the funeral of someone I don’t know because they already sold his gold teeth and still don’t have enough.
An unarmed assailant in short pants unleashes a scourge of apples in the frozen food aisle.
So yeah, only one of these things is not true I’m sorry to say. Or not sorry, depending on how you look at it… because if I’d had my phone, I totally would have blown this whole post in a series of annoying tweets.
Last night, I met up with danielphillip and richardallen for our standing Monday night happy hour at Mo’s. (I’ll have to do another whole post on what happened last night.) We usually roll in around 6:30 and we always sit in a center, tall table in the middle of the patio, closest to the bar. We like to be in the middle of things, to meet new people, to mingle — because we’re fabulous like that — but still be able to sit down and get table service from Marisol, the best server on planet Earth.
Anyway, last week someone was at our table. We don’t officially reserve it, it’s just kinda of understood that’s “our” table. You can’t sit there unless you’re ordering food, so the usual happy hour crowd usually mills around it. And Marisol and the host always kind of keep an eye out, knowing we would be in. But there was a new hostess and Marisol was busy, so someone was seated there. Whatever. It was a bummer, but we rolled with it and sat in another area, where we could observe the patio action, if not actually in it.
There were three women at “our” table, all dressed in that special way that says, “This is my first time in the States.” One, who I’ll call Helga, was wearing a Body Glove wetsuit-style t-shirt circa 1990 with a mini skirt and Teva sandals. The other, who I’ll call Gunda, wore a black hoodie covered in hot pink metallic lip prints. (The third I couldn’t see because she was in my usual seat, behind a pillar/bush.)
This was amusing in itself, but then it got more interesting. A fourth woman joined them, this one wearing a neck to floor prairie-style dress (in 80 degree weather) with a frumpy shawl. It didn’t look like religious wear, it just looked… frau-ish. They were drinking big pitchers of Stella Artois (as told to me by Marisol) and complained about the price — saying they’re only 3 euros in Germany and why are they so expensive here? Ladies, 3 euros in American dollars is like $4. That’s just not happening here — not for steins the size of your thigh — come on!
Then they pulled out a few paperbacks and proceeded to have a book club meeting — in the middle of a loud, hoppin’, gay patio happy hour. That’s fine, I guess — unorthodox, but then so is that hoodie.
I’m not sure why the next thing happened and I don’t entirely understand HOW I missed the opportunity to take a photo of it, but Gunda reached into her bag and pulled out a huge 32 oz tub of yogurt and set it on the table. Then she rummaged around again and brought out a mammoth, chef-style, Julia Child, no-fucking-around block of butter. Big. Huge. Enormous butter. She set it on top of her yogurt and they continued talking.
What book were these women reading? Who brings their own dairy to a bar? Vegans, maybe, but this wasn’t even vegan dairy. This was dairy dairy. Lactose dairy. Full-fat dairy. This dairy was probably milked by Helga in her Tevas. How did I not get a picture of the B.Y.O. Yogurt?!
But I did get a picture of this guy, who the week prior chased me down in the adjacent alley asking me for mints (I tossed some Tic Tacs at him and clutched my purse like an old lady). This time he spotted me in the open door of Mo’s and proceeded to do a little dance for me to the super diva house music that’s always coming from there. I was blessed with not only the Cabbage Patch and the Running Man, but his own “humpty dance” rendition, some air smooches and a little tongue wagging. My heart be still.
This is what a night out with me is like, people. Any takers?
(Please forgive my crappy German. You can thank Babelfish for that.)
My funny friend, Allison, asked her friend, who actually speaks German, and this is what he said:
ihren eigenen?! thats grammatically incorrect
If you said ” Bring deinen eigenen Jogurt mit” that would mean you’re asking people to bring yogurt that they’ve physically made themselves.
It doesnt make sense. It also sounds weird and rude. The people would be like “what?!? I have to make my own yogurt??!?”
“Bring Jogurt mit” works the best in this context.
And now, kind readers, you know how to rudely and non-rudely tell people to B.Y.O.Y.
I left San Diego Wednesday at noon on Jet Blue, who despite the bird-flipping, slide-exiting, job-quitting flight attendant’s recent escapades, is a pretty awesome airline. The seats were roomy, I could stretch out my legs completely in front of me, there was free DirecTV (so I timed my entire trip by how many 30 minute Food Network shows I watched) and the snacks were tasty items like Terra Chips instead of crappy peanuts. And the pilot got us there almost 40 minutes before he said he would, so that was nice.
I took a cab into Manhattan from the airport and proceeded to spastically tweet about how to tip the cabbie. I’m an overtipper and standard tipping here is 20% for like, everything, it seems like, so with a $50 cab ride, I was concerned about giving too much. Of course, despite the encouraging 10% recommendations from Twitter, I still overtipped.
We decided to escape the hub-bub of Blogher, we’d stay elsewhere… so we booked ourselves at Empire Hotel. We found out after we made our reservations that it’s Chuck Bass’ hotel in Gossip Girl, which was pretty funny. While the staff and management at Empire were really lovely, the place was a total Monet. It’s much better on TV. It looks beautiful from a distance, but when you get up close, it’s much shabbier than the marketing implies. We knew it was a vintage building that had been renovated, but how long ago? There was water damage on the walls, the chairs were pretty worn, our rooms had cobwebs in the corners and the beds… oh my god, the beds. It was like sleeping in a mausoleum — hard, hard mattresses. HARD. We both were in pain by the end of the trip.
Oh, also? Apparently, the rooftop deck bar is the hot place to be on a Thursday night. There were lines of short skirts around the block to get upstairs. If they offer you the 11th floor, despite the spectacular views of Lincoln Center, don’t take it. You’ll hear remixes of Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam and hooker heels on your ceiling until 3:30am (and heat rises, so the hallways were constantly like, Africa Hot, while our rooms were Meat Locker Cold). Given that we had to be up at 8am for the conference, we sweetly called down to management — I swear! I even made him laugh — and they moved our luggage to the old people’s floor for us the next day and knocked $75 off our bill for two nights. Like I said, great management, mediocre rooms, granite mattresses. It does have a lovely lobby bar, though. We called it our Brokedown Palace. With lube.
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