Keith Chambers (salivar) wrote,
Keith Chambers

Three point five day lease

Prelude to a move

The whole moving situation last year started about a month or so early as I was trying to find a place to live with a big handicap being I did not have a car. Another big handicap was I worked late at night so I had to find a way to work every night. The bus was very helpful when I lived over with Mykul but me finding a bus that ran from a living place to the workplace seemed unlikely. I could hope for it to happen, anyway. An even larger handicap I had was I was in direct competition with a bunch of students trying to find a room. Despite my indifference towards the matter of school, because I was searching for a room with housemates that put me directly in the pool of people trying to get a place, and that pool was crowded, let me tell you. There was a place in the tweed twenty neighborhood that had some potential but it was a hard journey to work, therefore it was disqualified. Cool dude in the place, all he wanted was a clean, nonsmoking, honest roommate. There were a couple funky houses, including one that had a piece of art that was just vehicle coffee holders spray painted black. There was the blueberry mansion, which was hard to find.

And then somewhere down the line I met up with this dude. I think his name was Chris (no last name for this story). He had an infant child named Scorpio (name changed to protect innocent) that I thought he said "wouldn't be with me except for once every two weeks." My initial contact with Chris I believe was a brief phone call where I asked for him and he said that wasn't his number. Weird. I think he called back a couple hours later saying it was, and here's a house to check out. PLEASE.NOTE this guy did not work nights, I did. So he would call me to look at a house at any moment's notice whether I was rested or not. Also his car was temperamental, so there would be a couple days when I met him somewhere having bussed there and... No Chris. That should have been a clue but I didn't take it as such and we kept looking around for houses with an indeterminate number of people getting ready to move in. I remember he was looking at houses with "three to four bedrooms" so my assumption was 4-6 people. The search for a place continued - i was looking at both a place for myself and a place with Chris, so I was leading this wild ass double house search that consumed tons and tons and tons of August 2013. I was burning Craigslist UP looking for a place to live.The absolute best memory I have of a place I looked at was when I went to go and check this place out on Humboldt and Iron, living with one other person. The room felt small but it was only with another person and we were in a house, I could handle that. Plus she was cute! So I went and her older sister was doing interviews and she said something like "we've done about fifteen of these with four more to go". So I was, I essence, a low likely candidate for that cute house. I interviewed, they said they'd let me know either way (which they didn't) and I was on my way back home to hopefully get some sleep. I know that my sleep schedule was excruciatingly bad this month - i stayed up for two straight days finalizing everything.We are almost to that point of the story!

I checked this place out with Chris, his girlfriend, and his kid. I immediately had doubts, for the record, because it seemed cramped for the three people that were living there. Also there were two bathrooms which wasn't a bad thing, also there was a mold problem in the garage which meant we weren't going to use that for storage until the landlord got that fixed. There were four bedrooms, one ex being used as a closet because it was kind of small. I wasn't keen on it but signed my application anyway. Chris was trying to do the negotiating and act as the banker for this operation as the owner of the domicile we were potentially about to move into is or was the owner of the Slo Pitch. So instead of the group, whom I had met in separate encounters but never as a whole, meeting with the owner of the pitch about the property, Chris volunteered himself as tribute, as banker, and as our mouthpiece in case anything went wrong in the house. I thought that would be great and work itself out.

Needless to say that was the house we got and I was all excited as the long search for a place was over and I could concentrate on cleanup of Pomeroy court and relocation to F Street. That was a bad mess in itself - the moving out of things was awful, the cats were displaced,and... Well, it was just rushed and hurried. Complicating matters further was me, as I thought all we would need was just first months rent. So that's what I had to pay Chris with. He responded "well that's retarded, you should have the first months rent and security deposit, that's what everyone else has because we are moving out."By this time my brain had been mobbed of its critical thinking abilities because I had been up for what probably was 44 straight hours, so I made a couple phone calls in an emotional state. Yeah I cried on the phone, it wasn't pretty. Thankfully my mom came to the rescue in this time of monetary hardship. She even helped beyond what was needed, which was great beyond belief. I am still uneasy about this, soon I will tell you why. So I got the money squared away, paid Chris in cash, and I thought that I was done with everything. Except I still had the mail key and apartment key to Pomeroy. So I was driven back there to drop the stuff off. While there the landlord and maintenance guy said goodbye, as well as "you guys were some of our favorite tenants." Awe shucks, thank you. So all my stuff was in temporary storage in my aunt and uncles garage, and I was about to be there for the weekend as well, waiting for Sunday when I could move stuff into the house on F.

Saturday came around, that was a rest day and potentially a move in day. That potential never came about. It would be the last day of comfortable living I would have for a month or so but I didn't know that as I was just concerned with sleeping and getting everything in order for another move. It was kind of amazing that all my stuff fit into the back of one van and one pickup truck - that is how little I was living with at the time. It hasn't really changed. I went to church and went to dinner with my aunt and uncle. It was great. And then the next day happened.


Sunday came and we got the call to move stuff. The van was the only option we had to move things so we took two trips. The first trip involved little assembly of stuff, it was just drop and go. That is what my uncle and I did as well as getting a copy of the house key made. Chris was also moving stuff and directing things that first time around but him and my uncle talked a bit and my uncle got a feel for this Chris fellow.Second trip - it gets made, we drop the stuff off, and try to set up the air mattress in the room. Here comes problems. Problem one was the room I was in was the room the three girls used as a closet. The Queen sized mattress fit in lengthwise against a wall, but only barely, as there were embedded shelves against one wall, which was...? A feature? Am improvisation? It certainly was something, I just have no idea what it was. It made a pretty small room 7x10. That's right, I was in the room closest to F Street and closest to Whatcom Middle School and it was the seventy square foot former closet. I started to feel shitty about this considering I would be in there for a year and I was still working nights. I was working THAT night, also. My uncle said as we finished the second load that he had a bad feeling about this. That statement contributed to mine as well.Things only got worse, as after I had worked ninety minutes arranging things, Chris went "mind if I smoke?" Uhm, no, but don't make the entire house smell like it because that stuff gives me anxiety because the last time I used weed I fell off a balcony and lost a chance to get close to the coolest girl I knew at the time. So it was established that Chris smoked but he would try to smoke only outside EVEN THOUGH THE LEASE SAID "no smoking inside the house." So that was a thing to be concerned with. By the way here was the roster of housemates and the rent implications.

Chris, Stephanie (Girlfriend of Chris) and Scorpio (Child of Chris) - ONE ROOM, 600/MONTH
Me - single Keith - ONE CLOSET, 400/MONTH.
Girl/girl couple whose names I forget - ONE ROOM, 600/MONTH.

There was a fourth bedroom in this house. You know who slept in it that first night? Baby Scorpio. At least I thought so because I left shortly after one of the girls involved in the girl couple came to the house in tears because apparently, the night before, she had been popped for a DUI. Can't make this stuff up. Why would you drink heavily the night before you moved? Why didn't I? That was a thing I should have done. Instead I went to Jacson's 30th birthday at Boundary Bay and avoided the emotional fallout that I thought would occur. After boundary I went to work. After work I walked home because no bus on labor day. My pathway home took me past the Humboldt house I applied for and really wanted to live in to a place to purchase toilet paper because my bathroom didn't have any. It's a good thing I did because I got home and in my bathroom there was a pile of baby crap on the floor. Welcome back home after a hard night's work. This ended day one of the lease.


I honestly don't remember too much from this day except for a couple important details. First one was that the utilities were on but no Internet, so I lived vicariously through my mobile Internet. Second one was that it was American labor day but I had to work that night. Third one was the really important one.

I was trying to get some sleep before work when all of a sudden I hear a lot of moving and rustling about. I was thinking "hey, aren't we supposed to be done here" and I open up the door, and here is this other guy with his girlfriend, moving on in, into the empty room that baby Scorpio had occupied the night before. I realized at that point that I had been used and immediately went into shut down mode,where my anxiety high tails it and I don't want to talk to or hear from anybody. At all. I mean this other guy was moving in for the school quarter rent free and had a better room than me. For free. I wasn't impressed by this situation, in fact I was disturbed to the point where I called into work and told them there was no way I could come in that night. I tried to play it off and be cool, telling the roommates "yeah, I called into work, now I can hang" but the reality was that I hung out in that room for six minutes,imagining the lease I signed bursting into flames, catching the house on fire and leaving me with nothing.

The lease itself was a piece of work. In it, it detailed who was permitted to live in the house and what substances were to be in that house as well. A couple of things about that lease - Firstly it detailed that there was to be no smoking inside the house. Second, it detailed that there were to be only the tenants on the lease living there long term. Third, no pets. Amazingly there was some other detail that was important to note here but I have already forgotten it because time washes away a lot of bad things, one of these bad things was a significant detail of why I moved. Tragic. So these three things in the lease - the people on the lease, the smoking, and the pet - these were or were going to be violated.

I keep mentioning a pet. One of the girls in the girl/girl couple brought her cat along. During the work day the cat would be in her room with the door closed. Sorry cat, this house and living situation was made terrible by humans, you probably think you did something bad in your life but you're the only one that gets out of this story unscathed.

Oh yes - when I woke up the next afternoon not only was it


but it also reeked of cheap weed. So much for only smoking outside. I saw, on either this day or the day before, one of my roommates coming home from work, throwing her work apron off, reaching for her glass pipe,and getting ready to light it up up up (sorry, that annoying song is in my head, stuck there waiting for a trigger to set it free. This happened to be the trigger). Cool, person in a tiny room next to my tiny room. I had already had my emotional release about the house the night prior so now my brain was in "deal with it" mode.

TANGENT - That day I went to soccer practice - second week of tryouts. I had not realized until this day there was a girl on the team named Adele - yeah, just like the ultra famous singer. So it was this day that the head coach and myself would have a little fun with that, trying to shout out Adele song titles in our coaching instruction. So we got Rollin' in the Deep, Turning Tables, and chasing pavement references in, and then I won the day, amazingly, mercifully, with this reference - "Adele, Someone Like You should have no trouble controlling the ball!" This stopped practice and sent the head coach into a laughing fit so hard that he fell over and couldn't continue for about a minute. See? There's something positive about this period of time.

Back to the 3.5 day lease. After soccer practice I made my way back to the house and started leveling with myself about the situation I had gotten myself into. I had a conversation with Chris' amazingly understanding girlfriend and tried to take positive vibes from that.My mom checked in with me in Facebook to see how I was holding up and discovered I lived with a bunch of potheads. Awesome. I was prepared to just deal with it and not restart the moving fiasco. Somehow I would make it work. Ironically I was on my way to work when I got an email that asked if I was still interested in a previous house I had visited but came up short on. I made a call to my mom and her boyfriend, and this is where it gets weird. My mom's boyfriend was in constant contact with his lawyer friend who was on vacation on a sailboat, answering questions about lease laws. It was perfectly clear, however, that I would have to get out of there for any hope of survival. I said "well if the lease is still there i could scan it and email it to you." All I had to do was hope the lease was still on a bookshelf in the living room and the rest of the house wouldn't be up until ten anyways so nobody would know. I had an escape plan set for the next day, I just didn't know what time it would happen at or where I was going to escape to in the long term. So the unknown looked far better than the known for maybe the first time in my life.

I got home after a long night's work and there was the lease, in plain sight, on top of a bookshelf I had brought into the house but not into my room because there wasn't any room in this room. I scanned the lease into my computer (I still have it, thanks for the memories), e-mailed it over to my mom's boyfriend, and... went to bed. I woke up a few short hours later to a phone call saying it was all going down today – the move and relocation. I got that message as I was going to help out the soccer team, so I went to the soccer practice, said hello, and then was on my way back to the house for the last evening. Along the way I paid back a debt my friend had graciously given to me. He later stated he forgot about it, but I didn't, and that's all that counts. So score one for me at that moment.

I got home again and started re-packing everything into boxes and trying to get everything I owned back in moveable condition. I really didn't want to talk to anybody for the remainder of the day, but I chose to talk with Chris, who was home at this time (at every time,it seemed) while his live-in girlfriend was at work. I told him I was moving out that day. He asked if it was related to the smoking, I said “yeah man” and did not clue him in to the rest of the story of me scanning a lease, a lawyer checking it out, and all that going down. So I went and casually repacked my stuff by myself, trying to make a quick escape from the terrors of that damn place on F Street. My mom's boyfriend had looked the information over and was going to try and talk to Chris about it. That was going to be awkward, but more awkward was that Chris looked at me in this conversation and said, “You are just so... random...” Oh, cool deal, that's the best you can do, huh? That was, indeed, the best he could do. Long story short I moved out, the roommates did find someone else to move in, and I got my deposit and some of the rent money back. I think I was eventually out $300 from the whole deal after a flurry of e-mails, documents being delivered, my Mom getting curse words lobbed her way (from Chris of all people) and some other house I lived at not working out. At all. I told one of my soccer players there's a lot of things I would have rather bought with the $300, she said "CANDY" and I just nodded my head. Yes, candy, that's it, that's exactly what I would have spent it on.

By the way here's what the money my mother graciously donated to me went to: part of it went to F Street, part of it went to paying a friend back, another part of it went towards rent for the next place I lived at, which also was a huge tragedy of a place to live in. So, sorry about that, Mom, but I had no idea that everything would be such a bad decision on my part.

Another by the way – that other house that opened up late? Turns out before I could get there to sign an application someone else did so I got there and was already second in line. AFTER MOVING OUT JUST FOR THAT SECOND PLACE. Nothing worked for me for two months, that was pretty frustrating.

Anyway,that's the story of the three and a half day lease. It took me a year to write this out and three writing sessions to hash it out. I still feel bad that I got suckered into this but hopefully this prevents other people from being suckered.

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