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The Landlords… again

By alison - August 21, 2006 (Updated: November 28, 2014)

I have been dreading tonight for the past week. I will spend all day worrying about what will happen. No, I’m not headed back to the commune. It has the potential to be even more stressful … the landlords are coming!

Don’t get me wrong, my landlords are very lovely people. They were extremely helpful and kind when we first moved in.

The problem they are coming to address is in our bathroom. In fact, virtually every problem we’ve had with the house since we moved in has been in this bathroom. (You may recall a previous incident involving leaky shower tiles). I honestly believe the bathroom is cursed … or worse, they are sabotaging it so they have a reason to keep an eye on things. (Okay, I’m really not that paranoid, but it would help justify my apprehension at dealing with them.)

Most of my issues with the landlords revolve around my own insecurities — not being able to speak their language past a two-year-old’s level, never having the house remotely clean enough to suit mevrouw’s standards (Martha Stewart couldn’t meet those standards), having completely opposite taste in home décor (I’m really not in love with the textured, yellow wallpaper — in every single room) and worst of all — our opposing ideas of personal privacy.

You see, I’m a firm believer in personal space. I’d blame it on being Canadian and coming from a huge, empty country, but Andrew doesn’t have the same issues. So I guess I have to blame it on my own insecurities.

I don’t like it when people show up unannounced because I don’t have time to prepare — (i.e. clean the house from top to bottom and put on clothes that I haven’t pulled out of my ‘around-the-house-only’ drawer).

Because I work from home, my attire mainly consists of pyjama bottoms and (depending on whether the Belgian weather has decided to be freezing or scorching) a t-shirt or sweater — none of which I’d be caught wearing in public.

If someone I’m not expecting comes to the door when I’m wearing the aforementioned ensemble and haven’t vacuumed up the cat hair in a few days, I generally just don’t answer the doorbell. I assume if it’s important they will phone me or stop by again. This solution doesn’t always work with the landlords.

Despite promising us at least 24 hours notice when we first moved in, our landlords show up unannounced — often. This is even worse then a friend dropping by because, in fact, it is their house that I’ve not bothered to clean.

They don’t just ring the bell once and leave when there is no answer. No, they ring the bell more often than the town crier.

Andrew thought I was exaggerating, until a few nights ago.

We had just settled in to watch a movie in our around-the-house-clothes and neither of us felt like dealing with the outside world.

The doorbell rings.

“Oh no, it’s the landlords,” I moan.

“We’ll just ignore it,” says my unassuming husband.

*ring* *ring*

“Wow, they’re persistent,” he chuckles nervously.

*ring* *ring* *ring* *ring*

“Surely now they’ll give up,” he asks, rather pleadingly.

Then his phone rings. He looks at the call display and sees the landlords’ number. As soon as it stops, my phone begins to chime.

*ring* *ring*

We consider hiding under the bed, but slip in to the backyard instead.

When they finally give up, I realize that I’ve been reduced to hiding in my own home because of my insecurities about cleaning.

I think about how silly I’m being, especially since my house really isn’t that messy compared to some people I’ve visited — happy, carefree people who don’t seem phased by visitors noticing a dust bunny or two.

Do I resolve to be more like those untroubled folk? No, I resolve to clean more often.

Oh and unplug the doorbell.

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Alison

Alison

Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She is currently slow travelling through Europe in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison
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1 comment

  1. Comment by Di

    Di August 21, 2006 at 17:03

    Lol, poor you …!!
    We have to ‘encourage’ our landlords to come fix things, and the repairmen phone up and make an appointment.
    On the downside, they’ll never repair the broken balcony awning because it’s an ‘extra’, fitted and broken by the previous tenant.

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