Saturday, January 07, 2006

Trauma and Drama on the Home Front: Part 2

Anybody wondering if our situation with the two upstairs tenants, Guildenstern and Rosencranz, has cleared up, allow me to quickly disabuse you of that too sanguine notion: it’s gotten worse. Guildenstern the Bad is still not paying his half of the rent and has not written and signed a letter I requested of him stating his intention to leave the apartment on January 31. Rosencranz the Good did pay his share of the January rent and wrote his letter, but, unfortunately for him, his fortunes are tied with Guildenstern’s, as both their names appear on the same lease. So this is what we had to do:

This morning (Saturday), we had a constable come to our house. My wife, who works in the court system, had gotten his name from a friend. His name was Pat and he stood at least six feet tall and was fat in a stocky and powerful way; in other words, he really filled a doorway. He strode up to our front door wearing a tapered cap and athletic training suit. His manner was hearty and bluff and he had a face that was ruddy and still youthful; he couldn’t have been more than 30. It was the sort of face that could show cheerful friendliness or cold hard-heartedness with the same ease. When I shook his hand, it felt like grasping a small ham. He accepted my check for $60 and then I handed over to him two 14-day notices to quit for failure to pay rent. In exchange, he gave me a succinct letter detailing the service he was about to render.

I directed him to the rear of the house, where he rang the buzzer for the upstairs apartment. When Guildenstern and Rosencranz didn’t respond, I let him in the back entrance where he proceeded up the private stairway to the landing where the apartment door was. From downstairs I heard him rap on the door very loudly while calling out in a booming voice, “Hello! Hello! This is the constable!” We found out afterward that it was Rosencranz who was first roused and answered the door. Pat told him to go wake his friend, as this was an important matter he shouldn’t miss. Rosencranz presently brought Guildenstern back with him and the constable gave them each their notice to quit. When he asked if his visit came as a surprise to them, Guildenstern replied, no. And that was that.

This little incident capped a busy week for me. Besides returning to work, I’ve been showing the apartment (with Guildenstern’s and Rosencranz’s cooperation) nearly every night. I advertised it over the Internet and the apartment drew a good response. I think if you’re the type who likes to meet people, a career in real estate might satisfy that desire. While I’m no misanthrope, I can’t claim to be a meet-and-greet kind of guy. I have a tendency toward shyness, owing perhaps to a slight stammer, so doing this sort of thing, meeting strangers and trying to sell them something, requires a certain exertion of will. But in spite of this, I think I carried things off remarkably well. The apartment, of course, is perfect. It really is. It’s only been lived in for a year and everything in it is completely modern. It has an unusually large, marble-floored bathroom that features a huge, claw-footed tub. Both bedrooms are way over the average size, the ceilings are rather high, each room has its own ceiling fan, and there are hardwood floors throughout. It even has central air conditioning! Who wouldn’t want to live there?

The missus and I have settled on a young couple with a five-month-old child. They are moving from San Francisco. The husband is a microbiologist by training who works as a field engineer in robotics. He tried to explain to me what he did in some depth, sometimes remarking, “Well, you must have heard of this,” or, “Certainly you’re familiar with that term,” but nearly everything he said of a technical nature bounced directly off my skull. He was very friendly and could speak Spanish, which certainly helped ingratiate himself with my wife. His wife, by the way, is Japanese, and she also has some lofty scholarly attainments to her own credit, only I can’t remember them now. Both the missus and I have a very good feeling about them.

What made this morning’s incident painful to me was involving poor Rosencranz, who has been a model tenant. He and Guildenstern are truly a study in opposites. While Guildenstern has the unctuousness and glib tongue of a snake oil salesman, Rosencranz is simple, friendly and open. He appreciates an interest in taken in him and gives honest and thorough answers to anything asked. Quite frankly, he’s my kind of guy. It really caused me some distress to serve him a notice to quit along with his deceptive friend, and, after an hour or so, I called Rosencranz on his cell phone to apologize for his being dragged into this mess. We had no other choice; Guildenstern forced our hand. Both tenants had to be served. I promised him I would try everything possible to keep him out of it, and this Thursday, during an appointment I have scheduled with an attorney, I will explore what can be done. Rosencranz is very concerned about his name going on record in a negative way (as he’s done nothing wrong) and I don’t blame him. I suggested he speak to his friend about it.

This story isn’t over over, of course. Certainly there will be more to come.

19 Comments:

Anonymous LL said...

I hope the best for you, and your new tenants...

Now if you'll excuse me for a moment... I've got to put my dictionary back on it's shelf. :P

Don't look at me like that people... it's not like any of you knew what "constable" meant either... ;)

9:29 PM  
Blogger Farrago said...

"Constable." Isn't that the former name of Istanbul, the capital of Turkey?

Oh, no, wait. That was "Constabinople." My bad.

Hey, Schprock! You could start a second blog just dealing with your land-lordial exploits! No, it's not that I don't like such of your installments in your regular blog. Stop thining that!

There's got to be something wrong with the couple you like. He'll have strange experiments go awry in the middle of the apartment. Or your wife will take a disliking to him because he doesn't roll his "R's" long enough. Or the child will decorate the ancient, perfectly restored woodwork with the one thing that should never be applied to it.

I don't want you to think I always see the negative side of things. I don't. But watch. Just for saying that, I'll probably get run over by a bus tomorrow.

7:34 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Don't look at me like that people... it's not like any of you knew what "constable" meant either... ;)"

I wanted to hire a bobby, but, no, the lawyer said it had to be a constable.


"'Constable.' Isn't that the former name of Istanbul, the capital of Turkey?

Oh, no, wait. That was 'Constabinople.' My bad."


Right. And New York used to be New Hamsterdam.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Spirit Of Owl said...

Bobbies are English only, but you could have got a constable called Robert. Eh?

I feel sorry for Rosencranz too, and I really hope that things can be worked out for him. As for Guildenstern, I couldn't care less, except I hope that Rosencranz learns his lesson and stops thinking of the douchebag as his friend.

By the way, I'll take that apartment. :)

3:17 PM  
Blogger Mrs.T said...

I abhore being a landlord. I will never, ever do it again. Now of course because I've said never, it will probably fall into my lap to have to be dealing with tenants again. *smacking my head*

Good luck!

5:00 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"As for Guildenstern, I couldn't care less, except I hope that Rosencranz learns his lesson and stops thinking of the douchebag as his friend."

That's what the wife and I think.

It took me 15 seconds to get that one about the constable named Robert, BTW.


"I abhore being a landlord. I will never, ever do it again. Now of course because I've said never, it will probably fall into my lap to have to be dealing with tenants again. *smacking my head*"

Oh, but you must know what a real character builder it is, Mrs. T! It's good for you in a masochistic sort of way.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Farrago said...

I heard this quote from a fairly recent interviewee:

"Adversity doesn't build character, but reveals it."

Just thought I'd share....

5:46 PM  
Anonymous LL said...

"I wanted to hire a bobby, but, no, the lawyer said it had to be a constable."

Not even a gendarme?

And Spirit... nice work on the Robert... :aok:

6:07 PM  
Blogger Henry said...

I dated a girl whos Dad was a constable. (i can't remember his name, but it wasn't Robert)
Some years later, I stopped at my future wife's apt. and there on the table was a business card from him. Seems he was looking for a former tenant. (So they told me)
Small world.

5:32 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Adversity doesn't build character, but reveals it."

I'm writing that one down. Good one, Farrago.



"Not even a gendarme?"


Not even Inspector Clouseau.



"Seems he was looking for a former tenant. (So they told me)"


That is weird.

Or was it that you were less than honorable with his daughter and he was pursuing you, hmm? What's your answer to that, young man?

6:07 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Like Owl, I feel bad for Rosencranz getting stuck with the mess that Guildenstern has created for you all. I can't wait for January 31 when he doesn't move out. Will Pat the Constable come back?

7:13 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

That's why I would never co-sign a lease. Most of my friends are idiots. Of course, in this podunk town, nobody makes you sign a lease. People come and go too quickly around these parts.

7:59 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Will Pat the Constable come back?"

I like that: "Pat the Constable." Maybe he'll be a recurring character on The Schprock Report!


"That's why I would never co-sign a lease. Most of my friends are idiots."

Like I told Rosencranz, sharing a lease is like a marriage. If I were him, I'd get a divorce.

8:03 AM  
Blogger Chloe said...

I'd forgotten how much I love the word constable. Thanks for reminding me, Mr. Schprock! My next post will be about my favorite words. Can I steal constable?

10:14 AM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Lion claw bath tub??? Are you sure you want that couple living there because I can be packed and at your doorstep in 4 hours.

10:32 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Can I steal constable?"

You cannot steal what I would freely give to you.


"Lion claw bath tub??? Are you sure you want that couple living there because I can be packed and at your doorstep in 4 hours."

It's HUGE! And it's sort of in the middle of the floor, which also makes it interesting. I'll try to show a picture of the bathroom in my next post.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous LL said...

"Not even Inspector Clouseau."

Ok... I don't know who's giving you the advice, but not even Clouseau? That's just wrong. He can solve any problem with zimmers...

"I can be packed and at your doorstep in 4 hours."

Wow, that's dedication, not to mention a killer commute every morning.

10:53 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Wow, that's dedication, not to mention a killer commute every morning."

Nypinta knows that if she can get her and her belongings here in 4 hours, I can have the lease drawn up in 4 minutes. Only for her.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Actually, how's the job market in Boston? Depending on how things go on January 23, I might need a job...

5:22 AM  

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