Close readers may be aware that I’m moving to a new place. Today we finally met Idiot Landlord (one day late) for keys and walkthrough. Apparently the dishwasher is purely decorative and the much-ballyhooed gas stove doesn’t have functioning electricity, so the oven doesn’t work and the stove only works if you light it manually. There was a Bic lighter on the counter.
I’m not sure why landlords think that owning a house near a university absolves them of providing functioning appliances or, for example, doors. Nor why some people seem to treat renting their house like a hobby more than a professional engagement, refusing to do things like keep appointments or respond to messages. Idiot Landlord seems to enjoy the Winnipeg landlord’s favourite pastime, playing games of Find the Asshole with tenants. The exact malice to incompetence ratio is not clear as yet, but I wish I could just pay my rent on time and not be bothered.
Moving in was fairly easy. The house has no stairs except down into the basement, so the moving complications were minimal (I’m sharing the master bedroom with my girlfriend on the main floor). It turns out I don’t own very much stuff; the hardest thing was the books (five boxes, with two bags still to go, plus library books and a couple of stragglers on my nightstand). There’s nothing else that really merits boxing up, and all I have left to move is my bookshelf, nightstand, desktop computer, clarinets and music, and “misc.” The bed frame went together with minimal intergenerational cussing and the mattress delivery went off without a hitch.
Mainly it was easy because I’m not taking up residence just yet. My girlfriend is working out of town and it’s still a couple weeks before she’ll be able to live full-time in Winnipeg, and I feel somehow it would be churlish if I christened the bed with all my bodily emanations two weeks before she moved in. The spirit of chivalry is not dead.
The house was not in bad condition, all things considered, especially compared to some of the cesspits we visited back in May. It’s got a good location, a lot of space, and parts of it are pleasant or even charming. But the kitchen is grimy. We scrubbed cupboards and drawers for hours and still our cloths turned brown. The cupboard doors have ancient metal handles with a horrid greasy coating. I scrubbed the edge of our slide-out cutting board for hours, and it’s still sticky.
For some reason Idiot Landlord didn’t think we would want to cook meals, so instead of repairing his broken oven he “installed” a toaster oven that looks like someone has been murdered in it. And sifting through the abandoned possessions of the previous tenants, I found the probable murder weapon: a knife handle with no blade, presumably because it was in somebody. There was rusty cutlery, a yellowed tetanus-inducing cutting board, and a greasy old George Foreman grill.
Through elbow grease, wax paper, and compromised expectations we eventually got the kitchen into something resembling shape. I unloaded some kitchen basics while one of my roommates made Kraft Dinner. Then I unpacked some of my books and began to shelve: one bookcase for music books and scores, one half-bookcase (the upper shelves look a little rickety and dubious) for reference works, compendia, and anthologies, and my current bookshelf (once it’s moved) will house novels, single-author collections, nonfiction, criticism, etc.
In other news, I recently turned 22, the oldest I’ve ever been. 1993 is in the sweet spot where the Taylor Swift song is not yet hopelessly passe. My girlfriend got me a nice dinner, a French press, and (most exciting) two bags of books from the Millennium Library sale. The bags are in transit now, so I can’t give a full list, but it’s a huge variety from Margaret Atwood to the Alcoholics Anonymous handbook. Somewhere in there is a novel by the late lamented Tom Piccirilli.