The exact opposite of the Midas touch

Oh, this should be fun ...

The woman who owns the condo upstairs from me is going to be renovating the unit over the next few weeks so she can sell it. Now, I don't want to say anything bad about her, in part because she is the kind of woman for whom the phrase "would just as soon kill you as look at you" was invented, but let's just say she is a bit of a character (by which I mean completely dysfunctional alchoholic nutjob).

Anyhoo, here's how she got the ball rolling on her little project ...

After leaving the upstairs unit empty for four months (heat off and windows open, by the way, a really excellent idea during winter in New England) she stops by out of the blue, parks in my parking space, and proceeds to break the glass in the front door to get into the unit. She does not have a key. She does not ask to borrow my copy of the key. She does not call in a locksmith. She does not sweep up the glass. She does not bother to cover up the jagged hole in the front door, which now serves as an announcement (Hey, look! The upstairs apartment is abandoned!) and also as a tutorial (Psst, burglers: see how easy it would be to break into that other apartment?).

It gets dark around 5 p.m. now and when I get home from work she and her two helpers are ripping out the carpets. In the dark. I know that it's her and not burglers or squatters because of the overhwelming stench of alchohol and cigarettes wafting down the back stairs.

She knocks on my door and says she forgot to bring lamps with her and asks if she can borrow one of mine. "Uh, sure," I say, because you seriously don't say no to this kind of person. "Do you have electricity up there?" To which she replies: "No. We were going to run an extension cord downstairs -- do you have an outlet we can plug it into?" At this point she is holding the table lamp that I just gave her in her hands. I eye it (and her) nervously and agree to let her use my electricity to do her night renovations. Later, I take the dog for a walk and see that the upstairs unit is lit up like a frickin' Christmas tree. There's no telling what they're up to up there with the electricity they borrowed from me.

After several hours of banging and dragging noises that literally shake the house (and after the obligatory packey run) she stumbles downstairs to return my lamp, which is now covered in dirt and grime. But she brings me a gift: an ancient and dusty roll of little-old-lady scented drawer liners that previous tenent left behind. The corner of the box has been chewed away by mice.

After she and her helpers leave, I go and put cardboard over the jagged glass in the door and sweep up the front porch. I throw the glass and the drawer liners in a trash bin in the back yard and see she has already started to pile up construction debris back there. And I would be pissed about that except that I'm too busy worrying whether or not she will notice that I threw away the drawer liners and be insulted. Because this is the kind of person you want to avoid insulting if it can be helped. I make a mental note to get a bag to hide the mouse-chewed drawer liners in.

The next morning, I put the lamp back and the prongs on the plug are all bent and when I finally get the plug into the socket, the bulb burns out with a crackle and a pop and the lights all go out in that part of the house.


Now, I understand that there's not neccessarily a correlation between the fact that she used the lamp and the fact that the bulb burned out and the fuse blew when I tried to plug it in. But you have to think there is some kind of a connection. Because this is the kind of woman for whom the phrase "everything she touches turns to shit" was invented.

And all of this was just from the FIRST DAY.

Oh, yeah ... the next few weeks are gonna be fun.


J9 said...

Oh my gawd!

Anonymous said...

hey, no fair - j9 stole my line.
I'll say it again anyway, OH MY GOD
P.S. Yikes

Anonymous said...

oh, and I love the pizza/toast tree story.

Kim said...

Scary! And... dude, you're a nice neighbor. I'm not sure I'd have opened the door in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Hey G,
Since you are probably the only G in Swampscott, and you don't know how computer savy your co-condo person is... or one of her grungy helpers.
Rememeber there are crazys out there and you never know what they might do...


Anonymous said...

A truly well written and entertaining account. Here comes the "look on the bright side". You will eventually get a new neighbor and hopefully one who is not a nutjob and not thoughtless and not scary. There is always that possibility.
Auntie A

Gienna said...

Yes, there is always that possibility. There is also the possibility that the next person will be more nutty, thoughtless, and scary.

But at least it will make a good story, right?

Glad you guys liked this one -- KK says I have to write more entries to bump it off the page. She is afraid for me! (Meanwhile, I haven't seen hide nor hair of the upstairs neighbor since this incident.)