Yesterday was the day of our scheduled lease renewal inspection. We’ve been pretty well behaved tenants for the past 2 years. We're nice. We don't smoke or play loud music. We put down grass seed in the wasteland they had the nerve to call a backyard. Basically just a couple of squirrels trying to get a nut...and hide the fact that we have a husky from our landlords. Is that so wrong?
We’re not crooks, ok. We’d love to have an extra $250 lying around to give to “the man” so we could have our dog and still remain “within the boundaries of our lease agreement.” We’d also love it if we had a decent dishwasher and a roof that didn’t look like it was about to cave in, so you’ll forgive us if we’re feeling a tad rebellious.
Wednesday was the day it all went down. I swept, mopped, vacuumed, and scrubbed the unidentifiable brown muck off the wall behind Brutus’s kennel while Gary rid the house of any canine paraphernalia and artfully covered up the holes in the carpet with a tarp and a half painted chest.
Then it came time for the backyard. Gary hadn’t considered when he was building the mammoth sized dog house that we might one day have to move it in order to avoid being evicted...so naturally it took four fully grown Texans to get it into the back of his truck. (Where it stayed. All day. Much to the amusement of Gary’s coworkers and regular customers at John Deere Landscapes.)
We’d done all we could do; now it was time to wait. We dropped Brutus off at my sister’s house and headed off to work in a nervous sweat. I chewed off all but my lucky fingernail worrying about the inspection. I couldn’t shake the mental image of a team of FBI agents scouring our home, donning facemasks and using tweezers to place individual dog hairs in plastic bags to be sent to the lab for examination.
When I finally arrived home at 4, I wanted to check to make sure the coast was clear before picking Brutus up and bringing him home. I searched the whole house for the sheet of paper telling us we had to be out by tomorrow or else, but found nothing...until I entered the kitchen and spotted it on the counter. I stopped to try to slow my breathing. This could be it. This could be the letter that changes everything. A week from now we could be out on the street with Brutus as our only means of drying off after showering in the public fountain in Acacia Park.
I walked slowly across the kitchen, took one last, steadying breath, and picked up the piece of paper.
“Please remember that lawn care is the tenants’ responsibility. Please be sure that the lawn is mowed ASAP.”
Here’s the moral of my story: If you’re trying to hide something, maybe try messing up something less important but more conspicuous. It might just save you $250.
***It just came to my attention that this is the second time I've used this title. I guess we've come full circle.