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Damned by a Stray Ashtray
Yesterday, walking from one end of my apartment to the other, I tripped over four vacuum cleaners. My position on vacuum cleaners is, it’s best to keep them where you can find them easily, and my apartment requires frequent vacuuming because it is half-underground and dirt seeps in through the bricks or something, and because I have two cats.
I’m sure I’m not the only A.D.D. adult who believes that getting the vacuum cleaner out is three-fifths of the job. The other two-fifths, the actual operation of the vacuum cleaners, is still kind of a mystery.
I had a plan
At the moment, I pay no rent. I get my apartment in exchange for caretaker duties around the church in which the apartment is located.
Things were going rather well, I thought, especially since, on December 28, I will collect my first social-security check and will have steady income for the first time in about three years.
At that point, my plan was to begin selling books from my eBaY store… just books, at first, to more easily calculate the fees (which are different for different types of items) and determine how much profit, if any, I was actually making.
Where there’s smoke there’s… smoke
I’ve lived here about seven years. A few months ago (for the first time in seven years) I was reminded that there is a no-smoking clause in my lease. When, a week later, I was presented with a document to sign, pledging not to smoke inside on pain of eviction, I took it seriously.
What I failed to do was remove all incriminating ashtrays from the premises. I should have kept the ashtrays outside. Instead, I bring them back inside, stick them in drawers and cupboards and on shelves, or just leave them lying around.
A few weeks ago, I went out for a ten-minute errand. I set the alarm (since I couldn’t find my keys), but apparently I didn’t close the door all the way when I left.
So while I was gone, the alarm shriek, which sounds like the Nazis are coming to pick you up and put you away, went off, and the church office manager came over to my apartment to check on things. When she saw a full ashtray in the middle of my bed… my doom was sealed, or so it seemed.
Within a few days I received an oral eviction notice. (I still have nothing in writing.)
Well, this could work, I thought, picturing a bright, sunny, third-floor apartment in a charming old house… so I was pleasant and agreeable at first. Then I discovered that bright, sunny apartments go for more than half the amount of my social-security check.
So I dug in my heels and prepared for battle, on two fronts, actually: one, that I had complied with the no-smoking-inside condition, despite appearances to the contrary, and two, which I will explain in part 2 of this blog. It’s a story in itself.
Until then… may Whoever Is On Duty bless you and your endeavors…. —Mary