“you can’t shampoo death out”

My family is quite fond of nicknames.

In fact, we have a Spud and a Pudd in our family, as well as a Hoagie and a Slideshow who we count as friends.

So it would come as no surprise that we bequeathed monikers to the rental properties we visited yesterday, to keep these gems straight:

Boo Radley.

The Piss Palace.


The-Only-Slightly-Livable-Option-Which-Isn’t-In Fact-Available-You-Landlord-Bastard.

The day started with us missing our first apartment showing.  I would not call myself a punctual individual, and due to the holiday traffic–we were doomed to make our appointment.  A special treat for myself, A, and our lifesaving traveling companion MF, were the slumped cosmetology students in the alleyway, perhaps discussing whether the bob was in or out, of perhaps snorting meth off of their smocks.

Delightingly, the next property was JUST DOWN THE STREET OH JOY!  The landlord (following the joyful trend of the local ‘lords who practice a special type of delusion) talked up this second floor apartment to a level akin only to Valhalla.  Once we merry men pulled up to the apartment, which we decided Boo Radley must have left for greener pastures,  I had two epiphanies:  First, when you don’t even want to exit your car, that’s a problem.  When you convince yourself that at least it’s better than the BEWARE OF DOG house next door with a sad mint green checkerboard of missing siding–THAT’S A PROBLEM.  We were greeted by a toothless handyman costumed in a wifebeater that was held together only by the week’s grime — AND THAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT. Split wood on the windows, old pizza left on the tables, kitchen drawers hanging loosely on their runners and women’s underpants providing too much of an obstacle to step onto the life threatening “full deck” that was promised, and was actually a disintegrating balcony I wouldn’t maroon the worst of my ex-boyfriends on.   For $450/month plus some utilities, it was not worth risking lockjaw.

The next landlord apparently saw the handsome crew I had assembled and thought to himself, “THEY WOULD LOVE TO LIVE IN A CRACK DEN!”  So off we scampered: one Bataan Death March down an endless hallway to a woeful apartment with a postage stamp bedroom, one that was designed by a female architecture student who had a penchant for loud, patriotic wallpaper and another we dubbed, “The Piss Palace”.  This final property was located right between a battered women’s shelter and a house with a small boy shrieking in apparent terror in the lawn.  We bellied up to another sad second floor apartment (which, for newbie apartment hunters like us, is a euphemism for glorified attic of abandoned despair) and were immediately attacked with the overwhelming smell of urine.  Our rambling, senile, delusional (of course) travel agent of tragedy repeated again (as he had in all of the other properties) that this smell was the tenant’s fault.  THE TENANT’S FAULT.  And it would smell like a fresh meadow of babies that plopped in after a spring rain … with just a vacuuming once-over.  Depressingly, this was the most promising unit, with lots of light and …….. character.  If we forgot about the laundry services located across the parking lot and the peeling wood paneling I shoved my hand behind and asked would be fixed (“uh, no, that’s going to stay,” says DUMBASS LANDLORD.) and the CARPETED BATHROOM AND KITCHEN that was found in every meth lab we visited.  After almost bursting into tears (on my part), we swiftly descended the death stairs, only to be saluted by the unmistakable smell of rotting animal flesh on our way out.

Twitchy and famished (on my part), we decided to increase our rent bracket by one hundred dollars–which inspired Mr. Bring the Pain himself to show us one final building.  We entered a property whose facade didn’t make us need to first get a tetanus shot and were completely wowed.  This historical property was true to its turn of the century roots and showcased beautiful mahogany woodwork and a spiral staircase.  A, MF and myself were ushered into a private corner apartment … and I fell in LOVE.

The early afternoon sunlight spilled abundantly onto the beautiful (CLEAN) carpet from floor to ceiling windows, that followed the building’s structure of the half moon room just off of the foyer.  A spacious kitchen opened up onto a wonderful balcony with a spiral staircase.  The rent was very reasonable and A took out his checkbook to put the deposit down.  And then the Crypt Keeper said ….

“But … units like this aren’t available.”

After that admission, I daydreamed about throttling that man until his wrinkly, fossil-like tongue lolled out, but in the end we left that town to tour nearby offerings–which proved to be equally depressing.  Unavailable, no pets allowed or occupied with only THE MOST AWFUL GEEZERS ALIVE, who make it a point to block the exit to the parking lot in their obnoxious, I’m-Close-To-Death Monte Carlo to tell us we need to, in fact, exit the parking lot.  Was his four hour erection cutting off the reasoning centers to his brain?  Who knows, but for the second time I pictured murdering a member of the Greatest Generation.

So at the end of the day, we drove the excruciating three hours back home, with the thoughts of impending homelessness hanging over our adorable heads.  Do we call a Hepatitis Fantasia our new home?  Do we bunk in a church or coffin (both ideas discussed in my dismal car that day)?  Do we abandon my new job prospect and stay put?  After returning home, to our seemingly perfect studio apartment, I sobbed for a while–festooning A in the day’s mascara–and did more research.

Luckily, we stumbled upon the properties my friend is helping to launch–which are truly beautiful and unique. Wish us luck–or Mr. Monte Carlo gets it.



4 thoughts on ““you can’t shampoo death out”

  1. rlh1020 July 3, 2011 / 9:02 pm

    I feel somewhat responsible for leading you to these properties…please tell me not all of my suggestions were ones listed above? And PS–you have such a way with words–it did make me laugh a little (but cry on the inside, for fear that I suggested them to you in the first place)…

    • domesticait July 3, 2011 / 9:48 pm

      haha NOPE. all of the ones we viewed were ONLY ones I had picked out by my superb screening abilities. UGH.

      the ones you pointed us to were unavailable on the weekends, no pets, etc. so we didn’t get to see any of them. however, we appreciate the help in our time of extreme need!

  2. Whitney MF Tait July 3, 2011 / 7:55 pm

    Tears of laughter, one of the best blogs evah.

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