I have a crazy landlord. She is a Russian lady with bleached white hair who has an unhealthily close relationship with her mother and an obsessive drive to make everyone else crazy. She LOVES the house she rented to us, as it used to be hers and now she does not know how to relinquish it and just let us live here. We pay her a ridiculous amount of money to rent this two bedroom house plus garage and with it we get a beautiful home and her craziness (past episodes include phone calls that she believes the gardener is “stealing her roses” and anxiety that our dog may be hurting her flowers so we shouldn’t let him outside unsupervised anymore).
When I was un-pregnant me, the deal was that I always deal with her. My husband upsets her because she feels he is not tip-toeing around her and praising her craziness enough. So, I dealt with her. Dealt with her just as I would deal with my clients. A person with a personality disorder. Calm, steady, understanding, but firm. It works pretty well.
Two weeks ago I get this phone call from her:
Her: I need to put my refrigerator in your garage.
Her: My refrigerator. I have nowhere to put it. I need to put it back in the garage. You remember? It was there when you moved in?
Me: I remember it was there, we asked if we could use it, you said yes, and then you took it away from us.
Her: Yes, that one.
Me: Well, we’ve already bought another small fridge for the office in the garage and there is no space for your refrigerator anymore.
Her: Oh it is no big deal, we will just put it back where it was before.
Me: Um, I really don’t think there is space?
Her: Yes there is, I’m bringing it over.
So I hang up. Fuming. Who does she think she is? She can’t just put her shit in our garage? What the hell? But, I kept it together, chose my battles, and decided to let her put her damn refrigerator in the garage. Then I forgot all about it.
Until today. My last client of the day cancelled and I had an opportunity to duck out early at 4:30. After a killer 12-hour day yesterday that left me passed out and crying in bed when I got home at 9:00pm, I took the chance and ran home. As soon as I walked in the door, I put on my pjs, opened up Netflix, and settled in to relax.
And then I hear it. Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. On the back door. Shit. I instantly knew what it was. I go to the door, composing my face in an expression on innocent concern and readiness-to-help her and she says ”Why is your car in the garage?? I need to put my refrigerator in your garage! Why is your car there???”
So, I stay calm, pitter-patter out in my PJs to move the car. Meanwhile (as I’m moving the damn car), she starts up, ”But why did you not clear a space for my refrigerator? I asked you to clear a space. This is its space. Right here. You have boxes and cabinets and electronics and where am I supposed to put the refrigerator?”
So, here I am, trying to move my car out of our alleyway, while a man in a BMW honks at me and she stands in the garage berating me, and suddenly, I am no longer therapist-me, I am PREGNANT ME. Aka, SUPER HERO WOMAN who does not give a shit about upsetting my crazy landlord. So I shout, ”Just let me park my car!!!” She shut up.
PREGNANT ME TO THE RESCUE!!!
I park the car, storm into the garage in my pink plaid flannel pants and say, ”You know what? We paid for this garage. We rent it to put our things in, including MY CAR. You decided to take away the refrigerator and now you want to put it back once we have already moved in and lived here for a year? You can’t just do that to us.”
She says in a shocked voice, ”But this refrigerator belongs in this garage. Where else am I supposed to put it? What am I supposed to do with it?”
Me, channeling PREGNANT ME, ”I don’t care what you do with it.”
Her, gesturing at the “refrigerator space,” “But you have all of this stuff here, where am I supposed to put it?
I looked at the space and said, ”We live here. We pay for this space. You can’t just put things in this space. It’s like if you suddenly want to put your couch in our house. You can’t do it.”
She won’t back down. ”But I told you I was bringing it back. The movers are here….” She gestures toward three men and a moving truck. The men look like they want to gauge their own eyes out and send me apologetic looks.
So I gesture to a spot against the wall. “Fine. But the refrigerator there.”
She mumbles to herself, ”But that is not its ‘spot.’”
I looked at the movers, still not looking at her, and said ”If you need me, I will be inside my house.”
They are still out there. So far, not a peep. I guess she “won” since the damn refrigerator will end up in our damn garage. But I stood up to her, told her what I thought, and didn’t give a damn. What’s the worst she can do? Evict us?? Please do. I want out of this two-year lease in a two-bedroom home (when we really need three) for much more than we should be paying her. Whew. Deep breath. Thanks, PREGNANT ME. It’s fun to be a super hero.
Oh, and the best part is? Before she went all psycho crazy, she says, ”Oh sweetie, did you notice? Someone left a pacifier on your front gate. That means you are going to have a baby!”