Monday, July 23, 2012

THE TREE GROWING UP THROUGH THE UPSTAIRS LANDING

  Although I have a separate entrance to both the driveway and the back yard it is difficult for me to come and go easily because of the tree currently growing beside my steps. I have no idea how long it has grown there but I do know that the upstairs tenants cut the top off a while back as it was growing up through their landing. When I asked the landlady about it naturally she was eager to tell the story.
  Apparently prior to my moving in, this entrance was seldom used. The landlady's late husband would go into the garden, from time to time, as would the upstairs tenants . The garden was so overgrown that the tenants could only use a small section to plant some herbs in the summer and I guess we really never knew what the late husband did back there.
  According to my landlady, after her husband passed away she found out that the upstairs tenants cut off the top tier of the tree in question with the permission of the late husband. By the time my landlady discovered what had happened she was not happy to say the least.  First she didn't believe her late husband had agreed to the trimming. Then she didn't believe the upstairs tenants husband had done the trimming without notifying her. She really likes this guy and got it in her head that his wife (who she hates) had put him up to it. She was convinced that he was nagged by his wife so much that he finally gave in and cut the top off. She would not believe he would have, overstepped his bounds, (her words) on his own unless he was brow beaten into submission by his wife.
  My guess is she would have never noticed it at all until I rented my rooms and actually used that  entrance to come and go. The problem now is that even though the top is cut off and no longer growing into the upstairs landing, the branches are growing and widening and keep slapping me in the face every time I try to go into the back yard. The one thing I know for sure is I will not be the one to tell her they need to be trimmed. First I would have to listen to the whole story again (in more detail) and the poor upstairs tenant's wife would be on her hate list again.
  I did however, Goggle how to kill a tree, and found out that putting salt down into its roots will eventually kill it . If I do it right, she'll never know...SHHHHHH.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Bin

The previous tenants used a wooden bin with a metal grate at the front of the bin to store their garbage. The bin was left behind after they moved out and husband and I graduated to a proper raccoon proof garbage container that was much easier to carry to the curb. In fact, we never used the bin. The raccoon population is quite plentiful here and they don't just come out at night, but during the day as well. Putting garbage bags on the curb without a proper can often results in an unpleasant mess.
garbage bin
The bin in question lived under the stairs for a good many years, unused, and then was moved to the fence along with various other garbage that piled up over the years. Parked on a bunch of rotted soil, during a windy day, the bin fell over resulting in a dent to our car that is going to cost us a couple of hundred dollars to repair. Since we have been here, we have tried to help clean up the property, especially after the landlady's husband passed away. It is much tidier than it was a few years ago, but there are still odds and ends of garbage laying around that must be taken to the dump because the city won't take it if we put it on the curb.

Back to the bin.

My husband wanted to get rid of the bin and the other garbage littering the property that the city won't haul off on garbage day. With the help of our friend Basil, hubby got permission from the crazy landlady to load the bin into the truck that is rarely used, as the landlady has a car too. Insurance is only put on the truck on the rare occasion when it is driven. The bin is not exactly heavy, but awkward, so essentially a two person job to get it into the truck.

bin garbage

Well, the landlady is tight with her money and when she saw the bin in the back of the truck, she called and asked hubby to move the bin to the curb in case someone would pick it up for wood shortly after it was transported to the back of the truck. She didn't want to pay for the fee at the dump. She suggested that instead of carrying it, he could drive the truck a few feet down the driveway and push it onto the curb. Basil was still visiting and because that was a ridiculous suggestion, the bin was carried out to the curb. Really the truck is only used for taking cans to be recycled as a friend of the landlady gets her neighbours to save up their cans for her. A noble gesture, because this friend of the landlady donates the scant amount of money they get for a truck load of cans to charity, but it really is not worth the effort and once the insurance cost is factored into the equation, a full load amounts to only about $30. The landlady likes to do things for her friend, but she may as well just pay her friend the cost of the insurance to be directed to charity.

Needless to say, the dreaded bin was a feature on the front boulevard for a good couple of weeks before someone likely as crazy as the landlady hauled it away. I am still surprised that anyone would wish to take that dirty thing away.

 THE UPSTAIRS TENANT

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Advantages of a MUDROOM


garbage mudroom crazy landlady  I, like most people have always believed that a mudroom is used for boots, coats and misc articles used during the winter months and rainy seasons. Sometimes people will also use it to store some bulky items or garden supplies. This past winter my knowledge of mudroom uses expanded to include using it in as a refrigerator. It seems my crazy landlady stores leftover food out in her mudroom when there isn't room in her fridge. I know...crazy, but true. She also uses it after grocery shopping to put the meat she purchased, when she is too lazy to take it to the basement, where her freezer is located. The fridge freezer is already over flowing with God knows what.  If she buys meats in family pack sizes and wants to rewrap into smaller portions she will also keep the meat in the mudroom until she gets around to rewrapping, which could be a few days.
  The icing on the cake was when she made turkey soup from the leftovers at Christmas. The pot of soup sat on the stove for a day and a half and then was moved to the mudroom. It sat there in the original pot on the floor of the mudroom for a few days before it mysteriously disappeared. Needless to say I declined any offers for turkey soup for weeks after.  Check in again soon for more creative ways my crazy landlady uses the mudroom.


THE BOARDER

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Raccoons, Squirrels and Nuts

A few of the appealing aspects of moving into this apartment upstairs above the landlady was access to the backyard, despite the overgrown state of the garden and the litter that adorned it, and also a cozy little front deck overlooking this rather quaint neighbourhood in the northern part of the city boasting of hundred year-old trees and equally old homes in many cases. Having outdoor access with privacy is especially valuable to quiet people like my husband and myself.

crumbling garage

After a while, I was somewhat terrified of using the deck. The raccoons in this city are not necessarily nocturnal. You will see them anytime of day and they are large and not especially afraid of people. Because the garage was crumbling down, they made a home for themselves there and then discovered they would also like to live under the porch roof, just under our deck, which was also crumbling. Well, they would climb up and visit our deck with their babies. More than a few mornings I would wake up and see raccoons playing on our deck and even leaping up to our windows peering in. I like fresh air but I starting buttoning up the windows, fearful that they might claw their way into our space.

raccoon

Well, the landlady was told about this, and she was not especially worried, though having raccoons living in your house certainly cannot be a good thing. She shrugged it off and though we persisted, eventually it was up to us to pay half of the cost to have someone come around and repair the porch so that the raccoons could no longer camp out like occupiers. Note, we do not own this house - we are tenants, but all the same, to get rid of the rodent problem, we had to pay for some of the work to be done just so we didn't wake up to see raccoons staring in the window or coming up to visit us if we happened to sit out on the deck on a lovely summer night evening. What is especially upsetting is, though our rent is reasonable, my husband has done and continues to do a lot around the place to help out without asking for compensation. To expect us to pay to get rid of the raccoon problem is absurd, to put it mildly.

I suppose though, that having squirrels living in part of the roof is not a concern either. Welcome to wild kingdom and life with a nutty landlady.

THE UPSTAIRS TENANT

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bananas and Leaks

The landlady lives downstairs.

At first, our relationship with the landlady was good. We picked out colors for painting the apartment and I would chat with her about various things and send down homemade treats. My husband did, and continues to do, many things to help her out. She even would wash our sheets and dry them as we only have a small washer and not a dryer. This was a big help until we received the sheets back smelly because she did not put them in the dryer promptly and let them sit in the washer for who knows how long, meaning I had to wash them again. She also told us that we could borrow her car if something should go wrong with ours. Again, a kind gesture.

But, as we lived here longer, things started to get rather messy and complicated. Yelling and cursing pretty much everyday downstairs, garbage piling up on the property and a virtual jungle in the backyard that has precious plants but oh so overgrown.

garbage

And then, there is the issue of heat. I know heating bills can be high but at the same time I never did understand why the landlady would not turn on the furnace until the beginning of November or later, despite the temperature outside. I am a rather wee girl and though I understand that old houses with high ceilings will always be on the cool side, it does not matter about a set date but rather what the weather is like. Not so here. Same with the air conditioning.

You would think that one of the benefits of being a tenant is that when something goes wrong, the homeowner fixes the trouble. Not the case here until you incessantly persist. Water was leaking into my office and I was afraid that my computer would be fried and I worried about mold. Called and was told that "the moisture" was just because of a newly plastered wall. Not the case. The roof needed replaced and so when that eventually happened, it took about a year to get done - loser contractors and my husband had to finish the job inside because my office was in disarray. Not a happy landlady, though my husband did not charge her for his work, but I can't stand to live in a mess and need my work space in order. How pleasant to have plaster falling on you and your stuff in the closet. And the leaking taps. Flyer addict landlady didn't want to deal with the leaks that certainly hiked up the cost of her water bill. And never mind our fridge that was leaking water all over the floor and into the crispers or when we had no water at all for a few days because the tub and kitchen sink was flowing and though we told the landlady that there were serious plumbing issues, she waited too long to deal with the problem and so the water had to be shut off for a few days until the problem was sort of fixed. What a mess.

Apparently saving a few cents on bananas was more important.

THE UPSTAIRS TENANT