June 13, 2008

Redundance Revisited…

Category: News — Ira @ 6:50 pm


“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing
over and over and expecting different results.”

—Benjamin Franklin — or not

It never stops. The adventure, that is. Not exactly the kind of adventure I’d choose if given the choice, but one must take them as they come. And roll with the flow. Or the punches.

A new tenant moved in last weekend. Or tenants, to be accurate. Two single women, who work for the same employer, and needed a place to live. An old friend of mine dates one of them, and he approached me about renting the apartment for them. I was dubious, but said if they could come up with two months’ security deposit, plus one month’s rent, I would let them in. With two months’ security, I figured, I could weather just about any potential storm.

They came up with the money. So one night last week, I met with them and went over the lease. Explained every paragraph. What would happen if the rent was not paid. What they could expect for winter heating bills. What I expected as a landlord. No loud noises, loud music, especially at night. No disturbing the neighborhood. And so on and so forth.

Eager to proceed, they nodded happily and agreed to all terms and signed their names with happy flourishes and shining eyes. A place of their own. Oh, my. They were excit-ed. I felt a little puff of satisfaction. Helping them out, I was. For a price, of course. I smugly deposited my money in the bank.

On Saturday, it was blitzing hot outside. They moved in a lot of furniture, and by Sun-day afternoon, were comfortably ensconced upstairs. So far, so good.

As I usually do Sunday evenings, I left to eat dinner with my friends Paul and Anne Marie Zook at their home. We always catch up with the latest on our Sunday night chats. I spent a couple of fun hours with them. Then around 7:30, I headed home so as to be in time to catch The Simpsons at eight. Nothing more than that on my mind, so help me.

It was hot. I cranked up Big Blue’s air conditioner and sped merrily down Peters Road to Rt. 23. Turned right, toward my house on the next corner.

I approached the turn, and my house. Strangely, there seemed to be a lot of vehicles parked on the road outside my house. And a lot of people in my yard. A lot. I looked more closely. These were people I’d never seen before.

This could not possibly be good. Trust me, if you ever approach your own home and the yard is full of strangers, with cars parked about on the road, willy nilly, that can never bode well for anyone. Never, under any circumstances. Perturbed, I checked out the scene as I pulled up to my own drive.

One of my new tenants seemed to be having an altercation with a strange man I’d never seen before. A short, bearded man with red hair and many tattoos. Standing toe to toe, faces inches apart, they were hollering loudly at each other. Screaming. Curs-ing. Gesticulating. Running back and forth across my yard. Others milled about list-lessly, watching the two go at it. A large hard-faced buxom woman off to the side was holding on to two frightened little kids. Redneck city, right in my yard.

I parked the truck. Walked into my house. Their screams penetrated my living room. This was completely unacceptable. I opened my porch door and stepped out. They paused briefly and stared at me.

“If you guys have issues, take it off my property,” I said. “I don’t want this noise and all those vehicles parked around here.”

The short tattooed red-haired man mumbled incoherently. The two of them charged across the street, off my property, and stood there on the sidewalk and resumed their screaming and cursing. Something about kids.

Three or four vehicles were parked on the street. Looked like extended family. The tattooed man’s, no doubt. Supporting him.

I called my friend who had rented the apartment for the girls. Where was he? In New Holland, he said. There’s a situation here, lots of people screaming around out in my yard, and it’s not a good thing, I hollered. I’ll be right up, he said. I hung up.

I walked back out. The two had re-crossed the street and returned to my property. Both in total meltdown. Screaming. Cursing. At the top of their voices. I glanced ner-vously at the neighboring houses. Several porches sported couples sitting side by side on lawn chairs, enjoying the show. Looking curiouser and curiouser, they were.

I groaned inside. This was all I needed. Just unbelievable. I was horrified. What kind of wackos lived in my house now? Get rid of one and now this. And where the (bleep) was my friend who had got them in?

The screaming and hollering escalated. “HE’S TAKING MY KIDS,” she screamed, red-faced and about to pop, her voice ricocheting through the canyon of houses along the street. Kids? I didn’t even know she had kids. No one had mentioned any kids.

The Amish neighbors directly to the east ambled about busily in their yard in their Sunday clothes and tried to act disinterested. I imagined I saw the glint of binoculars.

Pure madness. The whole thing. But it couldn’t get much worse, I figured.

I figured wrong.

Because right about then the cops showed up. In two cruisers. Thankfully, no flashing lights or sirens. They parked in line with all the other vehicles on the street. A real party. Maybe I should fire up my grill. Just feed them all while they’re here. Might calm them down.

All we need now, I thought to myself, is for a leather-jacketed Harley motorcycle gang to show up yet. And have a real rumble. I felt like a character in a cartoon strip. At that point, Porky Pig could have popped out of a car and not surprised me. Or Wile E. and the Roadrunner.

My mind flashed back to a conversation I had with a local detective some months ago. “We used to get called out to your house all the time,” he told me. “All kinds of fights and ruckuses. Haven’t been there in a few years now.” I’d felt proud that I had man-aged to maintain order, so the local cops were unfamiliar with my place now for the last seven years.

Well, they were back.

Two officers emerged from the police cruisers and walked stiffly up to the screaming couple. Separated them. Young guys. I pitied them, walking into a mess like this. At my house, yet.

Several more neighbors appeared as if by magic on their porches up and down the street and stared. Curiouser and curiouser. They must be alerting each other by phone. Why watch TV when the real live show was unfolding right before them?

My friend who’d talked me into renting the apartment showed up, red faced and em-barrassed. Wasn’t much he could do. The girl involved in the fracas was not his girl-friend. The other one was.

Twenty long minutes later the cops finally got everything straightened out and sent the two kids with the tattooed young man and the extended family. The convoy rumbled away and out of sight. My friend and his girlfriend, who had now arrived as well, stood about and we talked a few minutes.

“Your issues are none of my business,” I told them. “But your issues exploding like this in my yard are my business. It better not happen again.”

They assured me it would not. I got in my truck and backed out of my drive. Never got to watch The Simpsons, even. As I roared away, the poor girl who lost her kids sat on the back porch steps, holding her head in her hands, too exhausted to even weep. And so I left them.

And other than that little incident, my first week with the new tenants upstairs was quiet and peaceful.

Anyone interested in a nice two-story, two unit brick house in New Holland, PA? Talk to me.

Well, a real chance for a Triple Crown winner for the first time in thirty years, and he blows it. Big Brown, the horse that couldn’t. Shriveled up like a whipped puppy. Didn’t even look like he was trying.

It’s a rare thing and a tough thing, the Triple Crown. To win three of the big races in a five-week span. It’s hard. Hasn’t happened since I was sixteen years old, back when I thought I knew everything and was, well, pretty ignorant about a lot of things.

I was home on Saturday afternoon in plenty of time to watch. All the talking heads were pretty much crowning the winner already, which made me a little uneasy. Talk all you want. You still have to win the race. Or the game. Ask the Patriots.

During the race, Big Brown lurked on the outside, just like he had on the two previous races. In third place. But when they got down to the last few furlongs, when he should have accelerated, he seemed lackluster. Instead of surging, he lagged. And fell behind. His jockey pulled him up, and he finished dead last. Irritated, I turned off the TV and left the house. I had no stomach for all the talking heads trying to cover their predictions (and their butts).

Gas prices continue to climb. Big Blue’s consumption now approaches close to $100 a week, for local driving. Not quite what I had in mind when I bought the truck. And the winter heating bills, I shudder to even think about them. Of course, we can all rest in the knowledge that Obama the messiah will take care of everything after he gets elected.

Congratulations to Reuben Wagler and Barbara Graber on their wedding Saturday, June 14, in Jamesport, MO. I couldn’t make it, but I send my best wishes.

Barbara and Reuben



  1. Hello Ira,

    I met you at Steve and Adas several months ago as we were eating oyster soup. I so have enjoyed reading your “blog”. I can relate to a lot of what you write about. I know the biggest thing that caught my attention was the fact as a kid you had an interest in driving truck. I too have had that desire as long as I can remember and have pursed that dream and now have been criss-crossing this beautiful land in some 15-plus years. If you want to know a little more about me ask your freind Paul Zook as we went to grade school together.

    Keep up the great writings! I’ll look for you at the “PUB” for a refreshing beverage or two or three or four or five…..My name is Tom Beiler. Have a great day!!

    Comment by Tommy Beiler — June 14, 2008 @ 4:52 am

  2. Very mature picture there, Ira. I expected an update on the one at the head of each blog first. Nice surprise. Both are good artwork.

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — June 14, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

  3. Howled with laughter, not at the situation itself of course, but just because I could picture your horror at having to deal with all this!

    Love the new picture of you! Very dignified and handsome.

    Comment by Janice — June 15, 2008 @ 3:18 pm

  4. I’m with Janice. I laughed until I cried. The only other person I can think of that would be as horrified as you is Wilm B. :) So sorry about your stressful Sunday.

    Comment by Anne — June 16, 2008 @ 6:46 pm

  5. The “most gross” catagory of renter tales I have ever witnessed was when some of our reletives rented a small house close to us and upon going to clean it, we discovered the “buger wall” where someone apparently had lots of free time and spent it picking their nose and rubbing it on the wall, literally!

    Another well writen work, uncle–

    Comment by Dorothy — June 16, 2008 @ 11:35 pm

  6. I feel sorry for you, Ira. You’ve had your share of wacky renters. Hopefully the guy you currently have will stick around for a while.

    As I write this, the repossessed condo. below me is being gutted. Boom! Bang! Shake, rattle, and roll. This sort of thing doesn’t bother me, though. I know it will end and I’m all for the improvement of home spaces.

    It’s the loud noises that get me reeling. Those that can be avoided, that is. Like loud music with a heavy bass. It’s like a torturous drop of water drip, drip, dripping on the center of my forehead as I lay in wait for death to carry me the heck away from my musical offender. I can’t tell you how many apartment doors I’ve pounded on to request people turn their mode of entertainment down. I just can’t take it. Nor should I have to.

    One thing that breaks my heart is when children have to witness the screaming and yelling of those that brought them into the world- the two “grownups” that are supposed to be a united force, a source of sanity and comfort, guides for a life yet to be lived for their little ones. Very sad business for all involved.

    As a teenager, my friend and I were walking to our other friend’s house when we stumbled upon a couple having a boisterous tiff on their front lawn. All I remember is a white man and a black woman with neon yellow underpants blatantly exposed after she lifted her skirt and gave the guy directions on what he should do with certain private body parts. Oh, how I wish I could get that scene out of my head.

    Have a great day!

    Comment by Francine — August 6, 2014 @ 11:26 am

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