I just want it over with.
If the packing and sorting and moving and shaking weren’t enough to make me want to throw all of my household goods into the yard and have a bonfire, the crap that goes with renting a house certainly has gotten me to that point. I should probably channel our last move and all of the stressing I did over leaving that rental house, and remember (hope, more like) that it all ends up much the same way.
Our house in Georgia was a nightmare. I mean, it was a great starter place for two of us, but otherwise, yeah. It was a mess. Sure, it was close to my parents, my job, and school for us both. Sure it had a pretty lax HOA and a neighborhood pool. And sure the rent was unbeatable. But that place had problems. Like the fact that we are 96% sure it was an afterthought and had a wonky driveway that wrapped around a storm drain. And that it had exactly zero curb appeal. Light switches were in really odd locations (for example, you would enter the house and have to walk across an entire room to turn on a light) and the laundry hook-ups were in the kitchen. It was tiny (less than 1200 square feet), the entire place was carpeted, and there was no bathroom downstairs (but two upstairs!). Anyway, when it came time to move out, we spent at least a week cleaning that place, and it still smelled like a dog. The bad peel-and-stick vinyl in the kitchen was easily replaced, except the new “tiles” wouldn’t stick, and… there was something else. The good news was, we got most of our deposit back, which surprised the hell out of me. I figured our landlady was going to keep all of it just so she could get it professionally cleaned.
So, when we started looking for a place to live nearby to JBLM, I had a lot of musts on my list.
We had hoped to get a house on post, but when S arrived, even the small houses that were built pre-Vietnam War era had a waitlist a couple of months long. They are actually smaller than the house we were moving out of, had no garage, and would cost us our entire BAH. And since S had 4+ years in service already, he pulls BAH that is essentially a full rank’s worth higher than his current rank (at least as long as he is a junior officer. Once he makes Major, that perk goes away). In other words, his housing allowance could get us much, much nicer off post. So, he put our names on the “new” housing (which has since seen some turn-around and is the “old” housing), and went looking out in the community.
It wasn’t as easy as one might think, especially when you have more than one pet. Or your pet is anything other than a potty-trained rock.
So, he was feeling pretty lucky when he found our current house. It’s almost twice the size of our last house (we don’t use most of it), it has mostly “hardwood” floors downstairs (wrong. It has laminate downstairs), has a fenced backyard (thanks to the neighbors), and was “partially furnished” (it came with a pool table we neither wanted nor used). But, most importantly, our landlord was open to our pets and didn’t ask for an additional deposit for the pets, just made part of the regular deposit non-refundable.
The house has… not been my favorite. The wonderful, large great-room? It’s too large, has no outlets, is poorly lit, and there is just no way to decorate around the gigantic pool table no one wants. Laminate is just a horrible idea–it wasn’t a very good install and it is impossible to keep clean-looking. Storage in the kitchen leaves much to be desired (by me, anyway), all of the carpets are white, and it’s built just about as well as everything else made in the 90s: not well.
And, just as I feared, the floors are turning out to be the issue as we are trying to leave.
There are three types of flooring in this house, and each and every one of them has a problem. Not even a big problem. A problem smaller than the palm of your damn hand.
1. The carpet. So, we plan/planned to have the carpet professionally cleaned. Despite my heavy-duty carpet cleaner having a go at it once a week for several months (thank you, nesting), it just refuses to come clean. I blame a combination of age (it was not new when we moved in) and it being the color white. Like any home to a cat, there are a few places that need to be patched because, despite providing him with a multitude of appropriate cat-scratching apparatuses, the damn feline still prefers the carpet.
Well, no problem. It’s an easy and common repair. You just cut out the old, patch it up with a small piece of new, and voila! Taken care of
Wrong. Why? Because no one stocks white carpet. Not Lowe’s, not Home Depot, not the flooring place down the road. White carpet is a special order. It will take weeks to get in because, irony of ironies it has to come in from Atlanta, and it requires a minimum purchase amount.
We could recarpet the entire house for ~$1400. Except one room absolutely doesn’t need it (it doesn’t even really need the professional cleaning). One room probably doesn’t need it (professional clean will do it good, but we could probably get on without it), and most of it will probably be fine with a nice steam cleaning. Except for the two spots the cat got to. This just raises a whole new host of issues–what gets replaced? What doesn’t? Matching? Do we still get it cleaned? What are we responsible for (financially)?
If my hair weren’t already falling out, I would be ripping it out right now. Because I am afraid that a $25 repair is going to end up costing us a lot of money just because the damn carpet is white.
2. The laminate. I hate the stuff with a burning passion, but I hate this particular flooring the most. There is a spot where the boards have warped and the “wood grain” has chipped off. Once again, there is an “easy” way to fix this which involves removing the affected board or boards and popping in new ones. It requires no more than a circular saw, a new board, and an exacto knife. 500 youtube videos attest to the ability of a DIYer being able to do this simple project in less than an hour.
And we have no spare boards to use. Not one. Our landlord doesn’t know who made it or what it’s called, so we can’t go pick up a box and fix the spot for (what I am guess) would amount to $50 worth of work, to include the rental of a saw if it came to that.
3. Linoleum/Vinyl. Whatever. I swear it’s what was laid down when the house was built 20+ years ago. It was all scratched up when we got here, and it’s definitely a product of the 90s. Well, in the laundry room, it was coming up around the door into the garage when we moved in. My husband’s photography skills leave much to be desired because, as you can guess, you really can’t tell from his pictures that that was the case. I could make the argument that you can see it in the pictures, but I think someone else could make the argument that you can’t. Either way, 3 years later, it’s only gotten worse, and they went it replaced. Except they want it replaced with something close to what’s in there, and no one makes anything close to what’s in there. Which leaves us, for the third time, with the following scenario: 1inx6in worth of wear-and-tear/damage = replacing an entire room’s worth of flooring. At least we can replace 5 ft x 9 ft of vinyl flooring for $45. If we can find anything that is “close.”
I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Yes, the cat sucks. Yes, we just so happened to be the ones living in the house when the rest of the floors went to shit. But we also didn’t request repairs of random shit over the past 3 years. We fixed the closets when all of the racks fell out of the walls. And the curtain rods (one word: studs). My husband was crawling on the roof to remove moss. We lived with 3 toilets that probably need to be replaced (and, in fact, one of them we even suggested needed to be replaced, but it wasn’t). Not having to make any repairs to a house for more than three years should count for something, at least in my mind.
But no one cares what I think, now do they?
I don’t even know what to do. Other than to avoid living in a rental property ever again, because this is like a stress nightmare I can’t escape. I just want to be sure we are doing what’s right, but without being royally screwed, ourselves. We haven’t even talked money, so this is all just me worrying and speculating. It’s pretty much what I do best (I should get paid to do it), but it really is cutting into the enjoyment that should be me giving the finger to this place as I ride off into the sunrise.