My Dog Ate My Homework …or maybe it was the goat

(I flew from Israel to NJ and after a short visit with family, I flew to Cincinnati. Currently, I am enrolled in an online course with a great teacher, Dr. Joy Greenberg, but this week  I didn’t do my homework.)

You probably won’t believe that my dog ate my homework since most of the world does their writing in a computer. And, I don’t even have a dog. But I will be happy to explain why a mature seventy-four-year-old woman feels compelled to take a young teen’s subterfuge.

My system has suffered a shock. After three months in Israel I feel like a stranger in my Cincinnati home and I have not adjusted to dark, cold mornings. I will give you an expose on one and a half of days of my week here and you will understand why I had a meltdown. My first appointment on Wednesday was at 7:30am. It was a dark and rainy morning (sometimes trite works) and I could not read the street signs. I was late to meet the gentle jolly giant who was going to give me a quote on moving everything from the inside one of the rental houses that I manage, to the driveway under the watchful eye of the County bailiff.

I was in the process of evicting three generations for not paying three months’ rent. Their eviction date was Friday, but on that day Ashley asked us to wait for Saturday. “Okay” I said. She called on Sunday and asked for Sunday. “Okay I said, but no more than that.” When I called Sunday evening she asked for noon on Monday. Finally, at 2pm she said I could pick up the keys.

“Did you only have one key?” I queried.

“Yes,” she answered, “My son broke off the other key in my car’s ignition.” Then I was treated to a harangue in exchange for my allowing them to live in the house rent free for three months and not having the bailiff come and throw out their belongings on Friday.

Her “facts” began with “I wanted to pay the rent, she said, “and I wanted to speak to you woman to woman, but I was told you were out of the country.”

“I was.”

“Dorothy said you wouldn’t take the rent.” That was news to me. Since tenants deposit the rent directly into the company’s bank account, I wondered if a pack of wolves kept her from entering the bank.


She had moved in six months ago. Part of her stability factor was that she had won $40,000 in the lottery. At that time, I suggested that she and her mother clean up their credit and get a mortgage. Then instead of paying rent of $900 a month they would pay the bank approximately $300 a month which would include their taxes and insurance.

So, I asked her why she hadn’t purchased the house. The purchase price is $69,000. With $40,000 down it would have been easy to get a mortgage.

We can spend our money however we want,” she retorted.

 “Yes,” I said to myself. “And you can also get yourself evicted.” I speak to myself a lot when I engage in conversation with my tenants.

She told me she still had stuff in there and would leave her boyfriend in the house so that she could re-enter and that she would lock it up using only the doorknob locks. “Okay,” I said. Please remove the garbage and sweep up when you finish.”

When I went back to that evening to ensure that the house was locked and that she kept her word, I found six mattresses, one overstuffed chair, a dresser, microwave, about 20 bags of garbage, a partridge in a pear tree and hundreds of black fingerprints on every white surface. Since she not removed everything, I could not legally take possession of the house and had to make an appointment with the bailiff and remove everything, minus the fingerprints, outside under the bailiff’s watchful eye. She could have claimed that I locked her out since there were no witnesses to her handing me the key.

I rushed back to my home where I have a crew fixing it up and getting it ready to sell. My house is much like the shoemaker’s daughter’s shoes and is the last to get attention.

I recently purchased a much smaller home and will be moving on Sunday. I must be a glutton for punishment because I just moved from one apartment to another in Israel. The house I am presently in is 4000 square feet, including the finished rooms in the basement and the two plus garage filled with things that neither me or my husband never threw out and materials for my rehab business. My new home is 1050 square foot house. My husband volunteered to fly in and help but I reminded myself about the old but true joke:  When you have asked your husband to do something, do not keep reminding him every six months. I knew I would have less aggravation if I just did it myself.

From there I rushed to the dermatologist for my yearly check up. When she finished, I told her she could also examine my scalp since I no longer have hair. I unwrapped my scarf and as she was examining me, my phone rang. It stopped and rang again. And then again. I thought Dr. Fu would give me a karate chop, but she said, “Your head wrap is very creative. Better answer your phone,” and I could see she was smiling even though she wore a mask, and waved as she left the room.

The phone call was from Tony who was sanding and varnishing the first floor floors of my new home. He was upset because the painters were still working upstairs and they refused his request to leave. If he finished varnishing on the first floor, they would be trapped upstairs for a day, or the bigger possibility is that they would walk on the wet floors and destroy his work. “I will be there as quickly as I can.” I got lost but finally arrived a half hour later.

Now it was the painters turn to complain. They wanted to finish.

“Sorry, you told me you would be finished yesterday.”

“We had to plaster yesterday and we could not make the plaster dry that quickly.””

“That I understand, but you told me you would finish yesterday and I made the floor schedule based on your promise. Now you have to come back on Thursday.” They were supposed to have finished their work two weeks ago, but that’s another story.

Zip ahead to Friday. They did not show up on Thursday and now that the carpet guy was laying the carpet on the second floor, they wanted to paint the steps.

 “No thank you,” I said. However they wanted to get paid so they left for an hour and came back to paint the steps. Net result was that I had to pay the carpet guy and could not go upstairs to see if they did a good job. 

Back to the past; it is still Wednesday. I rushed over to Home Depot to pay for a water heater and whatever parts necessary for installation. The hot water heater decided to sacrifice its life the day before I left for Israel.

I rushed home for a bite to eat and then drove to my oncologist’s office. I waited an hour in the aptly named waiting room before I was shelved in the examining room. I usually spend an identical amount of time in the examining room. I had already answered my emails, so I decided to do my exercise routine. Fourteen minutes later the doctor came in and found me on the floor doing a child’s pose yoga stretch as I finished my fifteen minute work-out routine.

The doctor was excellent at hiding her amusement. “How are you feeling?” she asked. That was an improvement over the question than I got on my last visit three months ago. Then she was only interested in who I would be voting for. I had turned the question back on her. She interrupted her writing, almost jumping while turning to face me, leaned in close, and trumpeted, “Maybe Trump!” Fifteen minutes of political discussion ensued and she was ready to dismiss me. “Wouldn’t you like to examine me first?” I demanded to know.

Today, I wanted to steer the conversation so I quickly answered “Crappy” Then I gave her my list of complaints. 

I received her usual answer. “You had a bad cancer.” In other words, we saved your life so suck it up and stop complaining.

My phone rang incessantly that day with people asking about the two houses we have for rent. The most popular question was “Do you accept Section 8 (welfare).” My stock answer is “No, we do not because it is impossible to deal with their beaurocracy.”They all argue with me and so I parade out my litany of woe, “Section 8 once threatened not to pay me because the tenant did not keep her bathtub clean, I have a tenant whose rent they have not paid since June because they insist that the address the tenant lives at is non-existent, despite the fact that he, and nine other tenants receive their mail at that address, with a few more choice examples.

One young woman called and wanted me to explain exactly where the house was located. It had said so in the ad, but I patiently gave her landmarks. Suddenly I got a dial tone. I called her back and said, “I believe we were disconnected.”

“No,” she countered. “I hung up.” And she hung up again.

Another wanted to know how large the basement is. No one ever asked that question before, so I asked her what she planned to do in the basement. “I’ll call you back” she answered. That left me wondering if her plan was to raise pit bulls there or grow pot.

I just love my tenants. One recent tent moved into a very large two bedroom unit. We had torn the bathroom apart and put in a new toilet, new shower, built in a linen closet, installed a new sink and cabinet to house it, a new tile floor and painted the walls and ceiling. My project manager informed me that day that she wanted us to tear the bathroom apart and build her a larger shower. She told him that we should be happy to do this since we had just received the first month’s rent of $625, and $625 security. Now, this woman was large when she came and looked at the apartment and decided to take it, but she didn’t get any larger in the month that she was there.

Knowing what I say to my project manager will not get repeated, I glibly answered, “Ask her to consider showering at the car wash.”

Without even time to eat dinner, at 7pm I left to pick up the leader of a tahara team and drove to our local funeral home. She and I were booked to two tahara and we had two women to help with the first one and two other women to assist with the second one. Both tiaras were more difficult than usually.

When I came home from doing the taharas at 10:30pm, I was ready to collapse but pushed myself to do one more thing towards the move. I had packed twenty-one boxes of books but I wanted to do one more thing. Aha, I spotted a bottle of wine, three quarters empty. “If I drink the rest of the wine, I will have one less thing to pack” I said to myself. That was my last work for the day.

The next day I woke up and checked my bank balance. I discovered that the bank cashed the $75 check I gave the hot water installer but subtracted $750.

I zipped over to the bank and asked them to immediately look into this to discover if they actually paid him $750 or if they made a posting error. They had paid him $750. I demanded an investigation, but decided to play dumb with the worker and wait to see what would transpire. He was doing a thousand dollar job at a different house and, worse case scenario, I would subtract the overpayment and wave goodbye.

He called me an hour later and asked me to meet him at Home Depot so I could pay for the supplies for the tenant that needed plaster work. Then he confessed.

“Why didn’t you tell the teller?”  I asked.

“At first,” he said, “I thought the bank would eat it and the bank always screw me so, let them eat this. But then I realized the bank would take it from you. I am honest so I am returning the money.”

“I already knew” I said. “I was waiting to see if you would tell me.”

As you have gathered, the dog did not eat my homework. I am just too worn out and two hopped up getting through each day to concentrate or even have the time. Next week, it will be different. I am determined.