Update on the Apartment

Yesterday, Becky posted this on legalmatch.com:

Roommate Dispute Synopsis:
 
A friend and I lease a 2 bedroom converted into three bedrooms.  We rented the third room out to a friend of a friend and did not create a written contract.  She left town at the beginning of April without paying her rent.  I made several attempts to contact her via phone and email.  She was unresponsive.  At one point I reached her mother, who had her call me; she told me that a money order was in the mail.  I never received it.  After repeated attempts to contact her again, she emailed me to tell me she was likely moving out.  Still no rent.  I made more attempts to contact her.  She finally emailed to say that she or someone would be by at the end of the month to collect her things and “square away all issues.”  We decided that we would put a lock on her door to prevent her from returning when we were out and removing her belongings without paying the rent.
 
On April 29th, when my friend and I returned from work, we found that the keyed-entry doorknob we’d placed on her door was gone and another was in its place.  We saw a jumprope tied to the balcony and figure that she must have climbed from the balcony to her open window in order to enter the room.  Now we cannot enter the room, but can see through the window that her clothes and computer are gone, and only her bed and some garbage remain.  We have no confidence that she will return for these things.
 
The total that she owes is [$what she flippin’ owes!], plus whatever costs we incur to safely re-enter the room that she locked on her way out, and whatever legal costs I incur in pursuing the rent money.
 

She also sought out some advice from a lawyer friend of hers who told her this:

Becky,
 
I’m sorry to hear that you are having roommate issues.  It sounds like she really messed you over.  I don’t know anyone who practices this type of law, but even if I did, I’m not sure hiring an attorney is the best way to go.  Lawyers in New York are expensive and your damages are relatively small.  I would probably recommend going to small claims court instead.  It is a forum intended for people representing themselves in claims under $5,000.  Besides, if you go to court you will get a binding legal judgment from the court which could possibly be enforced through wage garnishment, etc.  I have never been to claims court and couldn’t tell you much more about it, but I did copy below the link the court’s website so that you can read up on it.  I also found a website (see second link) with a Q&A on the claims court (not sure how up-to-date it is, but it still should be useful).  Hope this helps and good luck!
 
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/nyc/smallclaims/procedural.shtml
 
http://www.tenant.net/Court/Howcourt/sclaim.html

I really hope we get Judge Judy. She’ll probably yell at us for being so naive, but she’ll also shred the third roommate to pieces and hopefully get her to pay the stinking rent. We have lots of email correspondence from her (not Judge Judy) that could be useful. Also? If you perused her facebook profile pics (again, NOT Judge Judy [how crazy would that be?!]), you probably came across a photo with her and a friend doing the congo holding cameras and glasses of alcoholic beverage. And bottles of liquor in the frame of the photo – Bacardi rum in plain sight. And did I mention she’s 20? As in years old? You guys, I was never that careless. Judge Judy would have a heyday with that, too.

To be fair, Becky did receive an email from the third roommate stating she’d drop off the keys – including the ones to the bedroom door she locked us out of – and a check for the rent. Still a little skeptical. She’s given us the runaround for the past two months, and remember what happened with March’s rent check? Boiiing, boing, boingboingboingboing flitterflitterflitter thud.

Wanting to Drop Bombs

This is where I might make an exception to using the F word. 
I get home right around 5:30 and notice the door to the third roommate’s space is open. This is the door that separates her bathroom and bedroom from the rest of the apartment. 
A few minutes later, Becky gets home and notices the same thing. 
She goes in to the third roommate’s entryway and asks me if she got the silver or brass doorknob.
See, we got a new doorknob with a lock so we could use her things for leverage in exchange for rent.
I say, silver. We got the silver one. 
The one on the door now is brass.
Becky investigates further by checking out the bathroom. Everything is gone. 
I go outside to the balcony and look toward the third roommate’s window.
We left it open to air out the room, because it smelled horrible in there, and we needed the room in a condition to show to new sublet prospects.
I say, Becky. Is that your jumprope?
The jumprope was tied to the balcony railing, and it led to the open window.
Before she even walks over to the balcony, she says, yes.
She walks over and sees the makeshift whatever-you-call-it to ensure the third roommate didn’t fall at least 50 feet down to the next tier so she could get to her room and swipe her things before any of us got home. We don’t know if the third roommate is coming back. We tried craning our necks, using mirrors to get a glimpse into her room to see if she left anything. We couldn’t tell.
She’d rather risk her life than pay the rent. Good point, Becky.
She left her door locked, which might mean she’s coming back, or that she’s not only irresponsible, she’s also just not a nice person.
We don’t know what to do.

I’m angry. I don’t know if we can do anything at all, except link you to her facebook profile. She’s the one on the left. Click on that photo and find an interesting collage of the third roommate. It’s important to associate faces with events. I would also post her email address here, too, but that would be letting my anger get the best of me, and I don’t want this turning into harassment. Because I’m angry. I’m an angry angryhead, and I don’t want any sort of counteraction from decisions I make being an angry angryhead. I just want to scream.

Somebody, please help.

We got royally screwed.

Cloudy

Quite a few things I don’t quite understand about my religion. The splinter, fundamentalist groups are bringing all of this to light.
Higher laws and temporal laws. Law of consecration, tithing. Polygamy, monogamy? Going to have to go on faith with a few things. The scriptures suggest in the next life we’ll have the same sociality as we’ve established here on Earth, and at church a few weeks ago sociality was defined (at least partially) as family. I could go on about it, but that makes sense. People comment on the timing of the revelation to stop practicing polygamy with Utah’s acceptance to the Union. Convenient, they say. I’m gonna fall back on God’s will here, because I’m so very ill-prepared to respond. I could rationalize it, say the Mormons had trekked all the way to Utah to escape religious persecution, but they still wanted rights as Americans, and if polygamy was getting in the way of that, and if America was the place God had chosen to get the church up and running, then, by golly, Latter-day Saints would stop practicing polygamy.

Just thinking aloud here. This is not something I think a lot about or that would shake my testimony in any way.

I mentioned to someone that the government will most likely pass legislation on same-sex marriage. Then why not also polygamous marriage? The former is more openly accepted, and the latter is being practiced without much prosecution or enforcement of the law. I would assume quite a few polygamous families exist out there that are quite “normal” – no abuse, brainwashing, neglect in the name of religion; no fraud behind the front of a non-profit organization to misuse/misappropriate welfare. Also? in America the overstepping by law enforcement in regards to religion is a very fine yet blurry line, and to produce evidence for prosecution is going to be difficult. I really hope they do find evidence, because abuse is SO NOT COOL. If you didn’t already know how I feel about that, there ya have it. But the welfare part? Well, it stirs up bad feelings among the rest of America. It’s deception and definitely fraud, and when you’re not honest about your lot in life and taking advantage of and loopholing your way through the system, America wants their money back. Now.

Also? Weird beliefs you can’t prosecute. That’s America, people. If I wanted to believe my rabbits are fearless leaders who promised me a better life on the planet Lagamorph, that’s my right. Police didn’t storm Koresh and the branch Davidians for being weirdos; they seized the compound because it stockpiled a very illegal arsenal (more apparent) and because of child abuse and domestic violence (which the leaders were found guilty of). If the government can find the FLDS parents guilty of abuse and fraud, then that puts those parents in a very familiar, less blurry field of the law, and they won’t be able to hind behind religion.

Sorry for getting off track. But let’s just say they legalized same-sex marriage, then polygamous marriage right behind it. That does not necessarily mean the church to which I belong would instantly start practicing polygamy. That does not mean the people who practice it now are practicing Mormons. All it would mean is if you wanted to, regardless of religion and without the law’s thumb pressing upon you, you could be married simultaneously to more than one spouse. And that – that – I’m not so sure about how I feel.

cHEEse!

Sorry if the video is grainy, but we’ll just say it’s like having broccoli on your slice of New York City pizza:

See how she really enjoys it? Could I have better friends? Seriously? I think not. Pizza, y’all. That’s one of the biggest things I’ll miss about living here. Watching my out-of-town friends eat NYC pizza goes right along with that.

ETA: In case the embed doesn’t work … sorry about that, folks.

Green Not-So-Giant, Day 9

My sage and parsley have sprouted!

IMG_2910 IMG_2911

They’re just itty bitty. It was rainy all day today, and I guess these herbs decided to wake up to late April showers. On Saturday, I was getting worried about whether these plants would break soil at all. So I tilled it. The planters sit on the kitchen window sill, so I got a fork out of the drawer and broke up the soil a bit, aerating it. Then I watered it. Then yesterday I breathed on the soil, the same way you would if you wanted to breathe morning breath into your little brother’s face, HAAAHH, HAAAHH.  And today when I got home from work, tiny green sprigs had burst through the soil. My carbon dioxide is ever powerful. Go CO2!

The flowers in the large planter have quite a bit longer, slender stems now. The leaves are growing, and it might be another couple of weeks before we see actual blossoms. That’s okay, though. As long as they’re living, I’m okay with waiting.

My Backup

That photo is linked to the site I got it from. (Austin City Limits) Trying to remember to give due credit and not break all the fun copyright laws.

I listen to other stuff, too. I always fall back on this girl. I have planned write-ups on why I think “Heavenly Day” is the perfectly structured song; the instrumentality of “Nobody’s Crying”; the pure rawness of “Every Little Bit” and “Sweet Lorraine.” I’ve mentioned before that my degree of fanhood has never elevated to obsession, but in this case, I have to make an exception. I told a friend whenever I’ve recommended Patty to someone else, and he/she isn’t as enthusiastic about her, I get a little offended; a little bit of myself holds a grudge, and a little bit of that someone else is dead to me. Of course I open my mind and appreciate other artists and different types of music. Some people are completely closed off to country, but there really is some good country out there. Some people detest rap, and granted, while that takes a while longer to sort through, you can find some decent stuff there, too. Patty herself interviewed that some of her songs have even fallen by the wayside, but since I’m a fan, if Patty were a genre all unto herself, I’d have my favorites, for sure, but I have definitely picked something from each of my non-favorites that I really like. Sure, some songs aren’t as brilliant, but I would submit that they’re all good. Probably everyone’s least favorite album of her is Flaming Red. “Mary” is on that album – it’s genius. Here’s another song, “Goodbye” I especially connect with:

Occurred to me the other day / You’ve been gone now a couple years / Well I guess it takes a while / For someone to really disappear / I remember where I was / when the word came about you / it was a day much like today / the sky was bright and wide and blue / 

(chorus) And I wonder where you are / and if the pain ends when you die / And I wonder if there was / some better way to say goodbye

Today my heart is big and sore / it’s trying to push right through my skin / I won’t see you anymore / I guess it’s finally sinking in / ‘Cause you can’t make somebody see / with the simple words you say / all their beauty from within / sometimes they just look away 

Chorus

When I hear this song, I think of all the people who I’m no longer in touch with. People I miss. People who were close to me. Patty doesn’t personally know May Anderton, but she knows that May Anderton is not the only one who’s experienced this kind of loss. And Patty put together a simple, powerful lyric and a simple, powerful melody and all of sudden May has found a friend in Patty Griffin, or at least in her music.

Okay, enough of that. I’ve listened to Meg Hutchinson about 10 times. But I mentioned she reminds me of a few other artists. So, it’s time to break out Damien Rice’s O, Dar Williams’s Mortal City, and Gillian Welch’s Soul Journey. I might dig up Ryan Adams’s Heartbreaker or Love Is Hell, but then that reminds me of Jeff Buckley, then Rufus Wainwright. Then for some reason, I think of old Feist or Sarah Slean and I think of Sarah Slean at the piano, and that reminds me of Tori Amos and that takes me back to Sarah McLachlan. And don’t even get me started on classical music. Oh, man. Looks like it might get a little overwhelming, but if it does, what’s really so wrong with having too much good music to listen to?