Monday, November 06, 2006

I'm moving, so it seems

This weekend I had a minor blowout with my landlady. To preface, my son was sick with the flu, crying and feverish, I was sick with the flu, and not in the best of moods. My landlady had come over (like she does once a month) to pick up the rent and mow her empty lot (which is located behind our house). What started me off on the wrong foot was that she came into my yard without asking my permission first and went into our shed to get her lawnmower (which she was keeping there so esposo could mow our yard). Now, I have no problem with her getting her own lawnmower out of our shed, it's just that she could have at least let me know ahead of time and I would have put it out for her. I have since realized it was she all along who has been coming in the yard and cutting the bananas off the tree before we could. How rude! Then, after taking back said lawnmower, I noticed she was in the backyard, the shed door was wide open, and she was hacking down a bush. I went out to let her know I'd need to hit the ATM for the rent money and would be right back. She then proceeds to let me know that my dog almost bit her. Well, DUH! She's a guard dog, that's what she does. If landlady was dumb enough to come in the yard without asking first, she is dumb enough to get bitten. Sorry, but I really feel she overstepped her bounds there.

Anyway, baby is sick and crying, so I want to get to the ATM and back asap so that I can get him in bed. Landlady sees this, yet proceeds to ask me if she can take a look at the carpet. (side note: said carpet has been destroyed by my small dog and a cat, and we offered to either pay to have it pulled up or cleaned. Landlady said that since they were going to tile that room anyway, might as well just pull it up and they'd buy the tile. Ok, fine.) I say that no, I need to get my son to bed, can't you see that he's sick? He has a fever, etc. etc. etc.

So I go, come back, put baby to sleep, and she comes over not 10 minutes later asking to see the carpet. By this time I want to strangle her. But I restrain myself. Son has woken up, still feverish, still crying hysterically. I tell her she can take a quick look but I really need to take care of my son. I also then give her the receipts to the past two fixing jobs that WE had to take care of (because the landlady would not do so), so that she can take them off the rent. One is for about $20, for a guy who came and fixed a leak in the bathroom. Granted, that is a little pricey for Costa Rica, but we couldn't get anyone else at the time, and she (landlady) was no help in the matter. The other bill is for $50, for our other handyman who has changed the faucet in the bathroom and also the light fixture in the kitchen. This includes parts, and if you ask me, is not all that expensive. He charges a flat rate of $30 per day just for his labor. Try to find that kind of deal in the U.S.! Landlady starts bitching about how expensive the first bill is, and then goes on about how no way in the world can she afford to take the second one off the rent, blah blah blah, until next month. Did I mention I was ready to strangle her? She acts as though esposo has not said a word to her about either bill, though of course he has spoken with her at length about these two bills and the state of the carpet. (side note: Landlords in Costa Rica will often get you to either do the work on their houses or have someone else come and do the work for you that they are legally responsible for doing, which you must pay for, and later have you take the $ off your rent. This is the third landlord we've had who has pulled this crap on us, and frankly it is getting old and tiresome.)

Then she goes and looks at the carpet, and starts making a big fuss, bitching and moaning about how terrible it looks, blah blah blah. Of course it looks terrible. She has been told it looks terrible. No one here claims otherwise. We offered to pay for it, what more can we do? Is there a need for her to raise the roof? She is irritating me more by the minute. The fact that the carpet, to begin with, was old and disgusting and very thin (no carpet padding in this country; let's lay it straight on cement!) is neither here nor there. It's gross now, and let's leave it at that. Is there a reason to torment me while I have a sick child bawling in my arms?

She says that she's not going to put down the tile floor until we get rid of the cat. Because, of course, cat would pee on the tile. Never mind that tile is far more easy to clean than carpet. She makes a face at my cat and THIS IS THE LAST STRAW. My cat is 18 years old, and I've had him since he was 8 weeks old. He ain't goin' anywhere but wherever I go. I said that I'd move before I got rid of my cat, and that seemed to shut her up for a second or two. Sorry, but no house is worth my cat. She then moved on to the bathroom, and started complaining about how we didn't need to buy a new faucet since she had several and could have brought one over. Never mind that she knew the faucet needed to be replaced for several months now and could have brought one over at any point. So she basically refuses to pay for the faucet being fixed. I then, at this point, hustle this increasingly irritating woman out of the door. She expresses her fears about my dog, Cheska, biting her, and I secretly wish she would do just that. When landlady finally leaves, I give Cheska extra loves and tell her what a good dog she's been.

Something to know, if you want to rent a house here, is that most Costa Ricans are very passive-aggressive and will do anything to avoid a confrontation. If you keep this in mind, it can serve you well, especially when it comes to your house.

Well, anyway, we have found another house already, and if you don't hear from me for a while, that's why. We'll be in the process of moving house for the next few weeks. Stay tuned...

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