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Sunday, February 3, 2008

No Place is Perfect

Photo by myself outside the Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue and 29th Street.

Each gold ribbon outside the building represents a US service person killed in Iraq.


I'm replacing a post I'd written on a great job offer I received last week.

I decided to revise the post because, well, to spare everyone. I'll make my decision in the next few days and we'll see. It's not an easy decision. I happen to be a very hardworking, devoted employee, who doubts her own abilities. Egad.

Of course, no office is perfect, no employee is perfect and no city is perfect, either. In terms of jobs, it's either the people or the boss or the pay. In terms of cities, it's the weather or the cost of living or the crime rate. There is always something.

Without the somethings, though, wouldn't life just be boring? If there were no troubles in the city where you live, no traffic to hold you up, no homeless people in the street, no flights of stairs to climb with the groceries, wouldn't things seem meaningless? I think so. If every day resembled The Stepford Wives, we'd go berserk.

I suppose this is where I should launch into a diatribe about balance. I will spare everyone and tell a story about my Upper West Side apartment, instead.

My apartment was the result of a minor ordeal. The small, two room apartment located on a beautiful, historic block on the Upper West Side was listed in the Times. I could live there if I sublet from a woman I never met. I signed the lease with the landlord, who said the previous tenant had moved to Jersey.

Fine. A couple years passed. Then I received a letter from the mysterious woman, saying she planned to move back. I had to leave.

Just about that time, I met a woman who lived a couple floors below me. She'd lived in the building many years and was eccentric (meaning, she was close to nuts). This woman, whom I'll call Alice, asked if I was new. I said yes, and that I was subletting from the mystery woman.

Alice then tells me the mystery woman was the landlord's daughter, who'd never lived in the building. So instantly, the plot thickened. Seemed like landlord and daughter had faked the sublease, and were trying to kick me out so they could increase the rent. The apartment was rent-subsidized, and with each new tenant, you were allowed to increase the rent a certain percentage.

I got myself a lawyer. Under his advice, I withheld my rent. And because of my refusal to pay rent, I was taken to housing court.

Before the court date, the landlord glued both my locks shut on two occasions, which required a locksmith and some 200 bucks to change the locks. I called the police. I considered getting a surveillance camera. My coworkers couldn't locate me one day and feared foul play. A case was in the news during that time, where a landlord did away with his tenant. Everyone's imagination was on hyperdrive.

In the end, I went to housing court and before anything could happen, the landlord caved and we signed an agreement that gave me a real lease. It was a long, nerve-wracking ordeal, and if the same thing happened to me today, I'm not sure I'd do the same. I was idealistic, younger and more tenacious then.

So as I was saying, not every place is perfect. I know from personal experience.


Spandrel Studios said...

First, congratulations on the job offer, Kitty! Whatever you decide, I'm sure there are great things in store for you.

Second, isn't it incredible, what landlords try to get away with? How awful that you had to go through all that!

Ah... Why can't everyone just follow the rules? Guess I'm way too idealistic...

Kitty said...

Thank you Spandrel!
I have to get over the shock of the job offer. The interview came out of the blue, and I feel pretty lucky.

As for the apartment, it's hard to believe I survived all that. Thankfully, it's just a faded memory that makes for a good story.

happy sunday eve!

penpusher said...

Hey kitty :)

Congrats on your job offer! I have been away, need to catch up on your posts!

Your old landlord sounds horrible! Thank goodness you pulled through :)

I agree with spandrel, I'm sure whatever your decision is, great things are in store for you :)

Hope your weekend was great.

sid said...

Hmmm ... true. If life were perfect it would be boring. I would have nothing to blog about. Anyway I think that most of the drama in my life exists because I often want things that I can not have. I want to MAKE guys fall in love with me. And I can not understand why some of them don't instantaneously fall in love with me. I mean I AM PERFECT.

Susu said...

Hi Kitty,

Like you say, there's always something little that to pinches, that ruins the perfect paradise, supposedly so that we learn to live this life of ours with whit. Being happy and contented regardless of the circumstances remains a life-long challenge.

Bon courage - good luck -with the important job decision!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Congrats on the job offer Kitty. I have to say I smiled and nodded my head in agreement when I read this..."I happen to be a very hardworking, devoted employee, who doubts her own abilities."

I'm exactly the same and I'm quite cautious when it comes to stepping outside of my comfort zone into a more demanding role, but I could do it if I put my mind to it and you can do it too if that's what you want. Best of luck!!

Kizz said...

I just discovered that church this past spring and am enthralled with their tribute. The green ribbons are prayers for peace and the blue ones mean something, too, but I can't remember what.

Reluctant Blogger said...

Well done on the job offer. You'll know what is the right thing to do. Take a bit of time to think about it.

Landlords can be the pits. I've had a few run ins in the past but now I just wouldn't have the energy. I tend to pick my battles very carefully these days.

Hope your trip is going well.

Kitty said...

Thanks everyone, for your kind wishes. It's so nice to read these things while away from home.

Sid, you are hilarious. I'm sure you will meet your match!

Kizz, I think the blue and green ribbons come from parishioners who cast their wishes. A friend belongs to that church and she loves it.

And yes, the landlord was horrible. Fortunately he only stayed a few more years before selling to another guy who was much nicer.

Freaky things happened in that building, though, that I will have to write more about!

Tammy said...

Congrats on the job offer and I'm sure what ever decision you make it will all work out for the best. Hugs Tammy