Something in the Water, Part 4

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Oct 15, 2014

Filed under: Personal 104 comments

And here’s the end of the story, which you probably guessed. The thing about apartment hunting is that it's all failure, because if you succeed you stop doing it. All the places are losers until you find the winner.

October

We finally found a winner. We met the landlord, toured the place, and signed the lease in the space of a couple of days. We were ready to accept any hovel, no matter how ugly or sketchy, just so I could escape the cats. But when we did find a place it turned out to be more than we could have hoped for. It was actually nicer than any of the other places we looked at.

“This place feels like it's too good for us,” my wife says.

I nod. My oldest daughter said the same thing earlier, and I've been thinking it to myself all day.

We had a list of stuff we needed. (Three bedrooms, no pets, good wiring, in our price range, available NOW.) We had a list of stuff we wanted. (FOUR bedrooms, two bathrooms, a place for my office, nice neighborhood.) We had a list of stuff that we would wish for if we found a genie. (Laundry appliances. Four bedrooms. Nice view. Good sound insulation. Whole-unit air conditioning. New appliances. A spot for a bit of a garden.)

I love the view here. I mean, it's not glorious or anything, but we're up on a hill so we can see the sky when we look out a window, and not the side of a crappy building.
I love the view here. I mean, it's not glorious or anything, but we're up on a hill so we can see the sky when we look out a window, and not the side of a crappy building.

This place has everything except the dedicated office space. Aside from needing to steal half the living room for my office, this is better than we could possibly have hoped for.

Everything came together quickly. We saw the place, signed the lease, transferred the utilities, and moved the bulk of our stuff in the space of four days. This is the most panicked, ad-hoc move we've ever done.

I was in really bad shape by the end, walking around glassy-eyed and open-mouthed, pumped full of inhaler that did just enough to keep me out of the hospital. I wasn’t in physical danger yet, but I had pretty much stopped being a functioning adult. I didn’t really grasp how bad I was until a couple of days after we moved in. My lungs cleared up, my head cleared up, and I got some blissfully peaceful sleep.

Now that I’m alive again, I’m anxious to get back to work. But we’re on day two of a five-day internet blackout. So no work. (Except for writing this.) So I’m running a massive decontamination operation here at the new place. Everything has to be cleaned as it enters the house, or we'll end up dragging the poison into the fresh clean new place. All the clothes need to be laundered. All the furniture needs to be wiped down. Instead of packing the empty cardboard boxes away (like we did after out last move) we throw them away. (Boxes are magical dust magnets. Dust can even stick to the sides!)

The vigorous cleaning is a lot of work on top of the move itself. It might be overkill, but we're better safe than sorry. I don't fully understand the mechanics of how dander works. I doubt anyone really does. It's not like there's an animal dander equivalent of the Geiger counter that I can just point at some blankets and know how sick they'll make me or how much they will contaminate the air around me. The only testing apparatus we have are my lungs, and exposing yourself to possible hazards to see if they're hazardous so you can later avoid them is probably the stupidest possible approach to safety. So, we're just assuming that all fabric from the old place is poisonous until washed.

There are many bad things about this move, but the most vexing is the load it has put on Heather. In an ideal world, we would have had friends and family lined up to help with the move, but we couldn’t get help on such short notice. (There was actually a long-planned family event going on the day of the move. There were other family members we might have asked, but all the healthy young people are busy.) I don't dare go back to the old pace, which means she and my oldest daughter (16) did most of the literal heavy lifting. So Heather has been working full-time, then coming home and moving all of our furniture herself.

All moved in.
All moved in.

As if to drive the point home, the neighborhood around the old place has gotten suddenly creepier. Some idiot drove by the apartment building across the street from the old place and fired a shotgun through one of the windows. (At the old place, my son could look out his bedroom window and see in the window where the attack happened. Thankfully, this was a couple of days after the move.) While my wife and youngest daughter were loading the car, a sketchy guy walked up to her, grabbed heather firmly by the arm, and started telling her how sexy she is and how big his dick was. The water company is back for some reason, and even swiped my wife's parking spot in front of our old place, forcing her to lug furniture half a block. The thoughtless jerk could easily have moved anywhere he liked, since he was just sitting behind the wheel, but instead the guy from Pennsylvania American Water just sat in his truck and watched my wife and kid schlep stuff down the street while he sat in our parking spot at the bottom of our steps.

Basically, the old neighborhood is like this twilight zone where people are always thoughtless, mean, and dangerous. We had a good first year at the place, but I don't think I'll be nostalgic for it anytime soon. While I wish we could have moved under less panicked circumstances, I’m really glad to be out of there.

Epilogue

Image unrelated. Sort of. It's not worth explaining. The point is: Here are some pretty plants.
Image unrelated. Sort of. It's not worth explaining. The point is: Here are some pretty plants.

We’re doing good now. The worst of the move is over, and the family was able to help clean the old place up. I’m healthy again, Heather has recovered, and it looks like we’ll end up better off in the end. The house is nice, the neighborhood is nice, the water isn’t cloudy with bits of plastic, and I’m not suffocating.

I’ve run the numbers. Because we couldn't properly plan the move ahead of time, we're going to have a full month of overlap where we're paying for both places. Rent for the old place, then (modestly higher) rent for the new. Plus the security deposit. Plus utilities at both places. Plus the cost of missing out on an Escapist column. Plus the cost of the stuff that got broken in the move. (My main monitor, and some random bits of furniture.) Plus the incidental costs of moving, which actually aren't all that incidental. The final cost of this move will be thousands.

Here’s the thing: The only reason we were able to do this was because of my Patreon money. It probably sounds like hyperbole to say that the campaign saved my life, but I honestly don't know how I would have gotten out of that jam without the support. You folks really did make a huge difference and saved our family from all kinds of heartache, uncertainty, and (much worse) financial loss.

So thanks. To all of you. Thanks for giving, thanks for reading, and thanks for taking interest in our little adventures.

– Shamus Young

 


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104 thoughts on “Something in the Water, Part 4

  1. kerin says:

    I think we can all agree: it’s great you guys are alive and well, and we’re looking forward to more of your unique brand of analytical nerd-writing. Hope your daughter wasn’t too upset by that jackass on the street… no one should have to put up with that.

    1. Not clear but it wasn’t the daughter, it was me, the wife whom he grabbed and propositioned, rigorously. Es (14) actually witnessed the scene while carrying chairs down the steps, told the dude to go away because he was creepy. He then apologized, shook our hands, and left.

      1. TouToTheHouYo says:

        Wow, that’s… was it some “Candid Camera” sketch? What kind of guy goes from “hound dog” to “almost gentlemanly” , especially after being told off by a 14 year-old girl? That place must really be the Twilight Zone.

        1. Otters34 says:

          Could be for that reason exactly. The dude might be one of those people who needs other people around them to call them on their bullshit, otherwise they say and do stupid stuff without thinking. Not malicious, just thoughtless(though the line there is…thin). EDIT: Mrs. Young clarified below that he was high. Well that explains it.

          Really sorry to know you experienced that, Mrs. Young. :( Glad it didn’t get worse. And that your daughter is growing up so take-charge.

      2. mom says:

        Shook your hands?! ewwwww

      3. Mechaninja says:

        When we lived in Utah, my wife – while dragging multiple sub-10 year old children around a thrift store, including some she was babysitting and our newborn, and while still carrying obvious baby-weight – was propositioned.

        That Y chromosome does some weird things sometimes. Glad it wasn’t any more interesting of an experience than it was.

      4. kerin says:

        Ah, I definitely misinterpreted. Well, I… Eugh. Should never have happened at all. So glad you’re all out of there!

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    ” Some idiot drove by the apartment building across the street from the old place and fired a shotgun through one of the windows.”

    So thats what Josh was up to these days.I guess he wanted to fire at your house,but got confused because of all the hard liquor.

    1. Primogenitor says:

      I expect the mugshot to be wearing a bonnet, and the car to have an unused incinerator on the back seat.

      1. TouToTheHouYo says:

        “The only mugshot the police could get of the suspect was an old photograph of President Theodore Roosevelt. Strangely, every picture, regardless of the device used, mysteriously developed as the same photograph of the president, adorned with a flow laden bonnet despite the apparent conflict with historical sources. As such, the suspect’s true identity remains a mystery – save for his penchant to scream “STOP SHOOTING ME!” regardless of the situation, and laugh suddenly and hysterically for no apparent reason while supposedly communicating with up to four other, quite possibly imagined, accomplices. The suspect is armed, believed to be dangerous, and known to exhibit erratic and persistent hopping.”

        1. Ofermod says:

          “We have managed to get a blood sample; unfortunately, we were unable to complete a DNA test as the obscenely high BAC and presence of basically every drug known to man (and some our department has never heard of) made skewed all results. Surprisingly, witnesses say that the suspect showed none of the impairment that would be expected from these results, possibly as a result of all the drugs and alcohol cancelling each other out in his nervous system.”

        2. John the Savage says:

          “Proceed with cautioun. Suspect appears to have incredibly quick reflexes, as if he were able to see several seconds into the future.”

        3. Ciennas says:

          Oh my goodness. That was AMAZING. Submit that to the SCP Foundation,cause it sounds like it would be right up their alley.

    2. Scourge says:

      Or he just used a weapon where he didn’t put any skillpoints into.

  3. Mersadeon says:

    I think it says a lot about your writing skills that you are the ONLY person where I actively enjoy reading about your private life.

    I’ve learned a lot from your Autoblography and Twentysided in general, so I feel a little bit of Paypal money is the least I can do. I think reading your stuff has made something clear to me – that even if I make mistakes and even if I haven’t perfectly found myself, life can be really good.
    So thanks, Shamus.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Basically, the old neighborhood is like this twilight zone where people are always thoughtless, mean, and dangerous.”

    Its called the balkans.

  5. Bryan says:

    “While my wife and youngest daughter were loading the car, a sketchy guy walked up to her, grabbed her firmly by the arm, and started telling her how sexy she is and how big his dick was.”

    To your wife, or your daughter? Either way, what a lowlife!

    1. It was me, the wife whom he grabbed and propositioned, rigorously. Es (14) actually witnessed the scene while carrying chairs down the steps, told the dude to go away because he was creepy. He then apologized, shook our hands, and left. Clearly high, he was. Thinking straight he was NOT.

      1. Isy says:

        That’s a new and exciting variation of creepy you’ve encountered. I guess he gets credit for apologizing and leaving…. I kind of don’t want to give it to him, though.

      2. Ithilanor says:

        That’s incredibly creepy; I certainly wouldn’t give him any credit just for apologizing.

  6. Johann Weller says:

    Shamus, I’m glad you and your family are now able to relax a little and settle into your new surroundings.

    I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but I’ve followed your various blogs for a fair few years and it feels good to know that you seem to have landed on your feet with your new place.

    Take care!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Just read this whole miniseries and I’m glad you’re feeling better. Good luck in your new place.

  8. I’m glad you got it sorted out, and it sounds like this place will be better for you in the long run.

    Have you thought about getting a respirator mask (something like this? http://www.amazon.com/3M-62023HA1-A-Professional-Multi-Purpose-Respirator/dp/B002NMICB2/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1413388047&sr=8-5&keywords=respirator). I don’t have allergies or anything, but I assume that something along those lines might help.

    Obviously you wouldn’t want to wear it all the time, but if things get bad again it would at least let you breathe as you looked for a new place. It might also let you visit friends and family that have pets. You’d look silly, but you at least you could visit.

    1. guvnorium says:

      I don’t know about Shamus’ allergies, but with my brother cat dander irritates his eyes, in addition to triggering respiratory symptoms.

      1. Do the irritated eyes hinder breathing? Not being sarcastic, I don’t know. If they don’t though, it still comes down to “shitty” instead of “life threatening”. Maybe not worth visiting someone anymore, but still gives you (literal) breathing room if the new apartment situation goes south.

  9. pearly says:

    Dang, man, if I’d known your cat related lung holocaust was this bad, I would’ve given more. This whole story sounds so hard and scary for the whole family. Good to hear that it has a happy ending, though.

  10. Mephane says:

    I’m very happy to hear it worked out so well in the end. :)

  11. Paul Spooner says:

    Yay! New place! Do you have good neighbors? I know that’s always the most fun for me when living some place different, is finding out what kind of other people live in the area.

    1. Shamus says:

      The next door neighbor has a dog named Thor, which I thought was pretty funny. “Thor, the Dog of Thunder!” Was disappointed when I scanned the local wi-fi and didn’t find a network named “Asgard”.

      1. Supahewok says:

        No lie, when I lived in an engineering dorm at college one of the local wi-fi networks was “Bill Wi the Science Fi.”

        Always made my day.

      2. Cuthalion says:

        Missed opportunity for sure.

      3. SeekerOfThePath says:

        Coincidentally, we got a puppy three weeks ago and named him Odin. I originally wanted Thor, but a) that reminded my girlfriend of the alien from Stargate series too much and b) I would get never-ending comments from all the people who have seen all the new Marvel movies.

        And the wi-fi name’s Mount Cheyenne; hope that’s geeky enough :)

      4. Lars says:

        Wait a minute: You moved in next to a dog? That sounds like escaping the hornets by jumping into the piranha pool.
        Is your dog tolerance that much higher? As I recall: Your first really big allergic reaction was because of two dogs. (How I learned – part 4 or 5) But I also remember that you had a dog later, that stepdad Dave could shoot. (How I learned – part “The Dark Year Is Over”)
        Now I’m confused.

  12. Jack of Spades says:

    With every story of your personal life I am increasingly convinced that marrying Heather was the smartest thing ever done by man.

    1. Noah says:

      Until this point, I had not wanted a “like” or “me too” button on this blog.

      On this comment, I do.

      So yeah, that.

    2. Destrustor says:

      Heather is basically the best person ever.

    3. mom says:

      Smartest? I think he is in a tie with his brothers on that score.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        Well, at an absolute minimum I think we’ve established that Shamus’ Mom is basically the best mother-in-law ever.

  13. WhiteBirch says:

    You had to flee your apartment in terror because your landlord’s failure to enforce the lease regulations literally almost killed you, and you’re still paying him rent?

    A contract is only valid if both sides hold up their end of the bargain. His failure to enforce his side caused you massive expenses and seriously damaged your health. You’re under no obligation, under any ethical system I can think of, to pay him rent for the apartment you had to flee from because he was willing to bend the rules for a family member.

    1. Shamus says:

      The lease ended in March, so from then on out it was month-to-month. And the lease simply said that I wasn’t allowed to have a pet. It didn’t say anything about other tenants. I could have run off without paying, but I don’t think it would have been the right thing to do. From her perspective, I’d just be another deadbeat.

      1. Abnaxis says:

        Don’t take this wrong, but when you say that, do you mean you were worried that the landlady would think less of you, or that whatever message you were trying to send wouldn’t get through, or that it would cause possible legal strife to no end?

        I ask, because I think a lot of people would react the same way, and I want to understand it. I know from experience that I won’t pay in those cases. From my perspective, A) the landlord/landlady lost my respect, I don’t care what they think, B) whether the message is received or not, a month’s rent is a decent chunk of change, and C) if they really want to go to the mat, I’m pretty sure I would win the legal battle.

        I think being cantankerous is genetic for me. I’m curious, is it the opposite behavior–an aversion to conflict–that makes people go the other way?

        1. Cuthalion says:

          It’s much easier to say, “Well, why do you care what they think?” when you haven’t met them. ;)

          1. Abnaxis says:

            I’m not just talking as an outsider, but someone who has been in a similar situation and reacted differently. I’m curious how other people approach it. I have actually blown of paying rent to people I’ve met before. In my case, it wasn’t deadly pet dander, but rather an invading scourge of vermin from neighboring apartments that the owner wouldn’t handle (the dander problem seems way way worse).

            They didn’t get that last month of rent, and they knew better than to pursue me for it.

            1. Deoxy says:

              I generally wouldn’t just stiff someone, but I have given an ultimatum before in problem case.

              Of course, my ultimatum had some serious legal weight, so it was easier:

              “I’m breaking my leave with you at the end of this month, you are getting no more money from me at all, and you are returning my entire deposit, or I will contact the Fire Marshall.”

              They rolled over faster than I thought humanly possible (it wasn’t even just a individual, it was a large company), which told me they knew I had them by the short hairs and were just happy that’s all I wanted.

        2. Isy says:

          I sympathize with Shamus. At a certain point, just paying the money is worth it to not have to deal with a long, drawn out slog of irrational people, who hold all the cards unless you drag them to court. Time is money, and if Shamus wanted a double-scoop helping of stress and other health problems ruining his day, he could have just stayed in that place. From an outsiders perspective, it seems like he could/should have explained the situation and requested that he not have to pay for the final months, but in his place I wouldn’t have bothered either. Weighing the chances of that paying off vs. the chances of it being a frustrating waste of time with bad blood on all sides, it seems like a losing proposition.

          That being said, this is what I mean when I think he’s too obliging. Somehow hopping from “my life was nearly in danger because their relatives get special treatment” and “paying them rent was the right thing to do” reminds me of myself in my younger days. In other words, it got me walked all over by some seriously creepy people. I worry about you, man!

          1. Adam Haase says:

            I have to agree… Shamus, I love your writing and stories, but you are allowing yourself to be a victim.

            Moving out was the right move. You’re probably right that the landlord would not have been able to do anything about the cat or the smoking. And the neighborhood sounds like a good place to put some distance from too… But PAYING your last month of rent?

            Did your land lord repair things? No. Did they try to do something about the pet that you CLEARLY had issues with? No. And what do you care if she thinks you’re a deadbeat? She obviously didn’t respect you enough to notice your increasingly poor health.

            I just hope someone doesn’t sneak a cat into your new apartment building… Just hoping the problem goes away and avoiding confrontation is not the answer.

            1. Abnaxis says:

              I want it on record that I did my very best to word my reply in a way that didn’t encourage people to come in criticizing how you live your life. It’s not my business nor anyone else’s on the internet who (I assume) have never spoken to you to tell you how to live your life. I just have a lot of trouble understanding people, and delving into the psychology of people I differ from helps.

              1. MichaelGC says:

                In my view you always do a great job of expressing your opinion whilst politely but forcefully allowing for dissent.

                Aaaand in my total guesswork: you probably understand people better than other people who don’t even try.

            2. Isy says:

              It’s more a matter of philosophy. I’m 100% behind Shamus’ decision, because I suspect I have the same line of thinking he does. Paying the money is better for him than getting in a big fight that could drag out for months, and involve lawyers and legal fees. Ditching without paying rent does feel wrong unless you explained the reasons to the landlord, which puts us right back into “big long stressful fight” territory. And there’s certainly little to be gained from trash-talking them on the internet now that everything’s settled.

              I’d never want to say his empathy for others is a bad thing. It just triggers anxieties in me because I used to do the same thing, and in the process wind up apologizing for people who were super duper behaving unacceptably.

        3. Arstan says:

          It is perfectly ok if you do not pay, as long as you don’t feel guilty. I always pay in those situations, because if i do otherwise, i’d feel very guilty, and that would hurt me much worse than some argument or bad impression on others, or even a lawsuit.

          1. swenson says:

            Yeah, morally I would be uncomfortable with not paying in this situation, especially if the landlord didn’t actually violate the terms of the lease (even if they did in spirit).

            1. Abnaxis says:

              That’s an interesting distinction. Does the ethical calculus change is the landlady is fully aware that the reason why someone moved there is because of the lack of pets? My understanding is that finding out whether “no pets” means “never pets allowed” or “pets were allowed until someone abused the privilege” was a crucial action in Shamus’s apartment hunting process. While it’s never been specifically mentioned, my assumption is she knew full good and well that he had allergy problems, and that’s largely why he was renting specifically from her.

              To me, this knowledge makes it an act of negligence to do nothing when the next door occupants bring a cat, regardless of what the lease says. Does the actual wording of the contract make a difference in the ethical calculus to you?

              1. syal says:

                The current fight is with the other tneants, which is resolved by the move. Problems with the landlord are resolved by the move. Not paying the landlord is starting a new fight with the landlord, which is not possible to peacefully resolve. It’s not just a question of the landlord’s morals, it’s a question of whether it’s moral to start a fight that can be avoided.

                Plus there’s the problem where you leave something behind accidentally and now you can’t get it back because the landlord hates you.

                1. Abnaxis says:

                  I see. If I understand correctly, you’re weighing one injustice–paying someone who has been negligent in the exact duties your paying them for–versus another–creating a conflict where none currently exists. But then, how do the terms of the lease play into that? If it was down in writing that no dander was allowed, and the landlady still let her in-law have a cat, does that mean that “she started it” and it is now morally imperative to fight back?

                  Also, this is purely anecdotal, but in my own experience I haven’t owned anything that costs more than a month’s rent to replace (well, other than very large things like a couch or a PC that you aren’t going to forget).

        4. Well, for me it’s a combo.
          I hate conflict, it freaks me out and makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I also am very empathic and people upset around me will make me upset (even if there is no reason on the planet I should be) so I do my best to make people around me happy (not excessively, but I smile, am polite, compliment others, that sort of thing). Combine with low self-esteem as a child and adolescent, being very easy-going, and avoiding stressful situations like the plague, and yeah I’d probably have paid. The emotional discomfort would not have been worth the money to me, especially if I was sick.
          It upsets me when other people don’t like me. I know it’s not rational, and I’m getting better about dealing with it (thank you years of therapy). But the stupid depression jerk in my head spent years telling me I wasn’t worth anything and making someone else smile was a quick and easy way to get an esteem and mood boost.
          Edited to add: Obviously I can speak with certainty only about myself. Shamus’ reasons are his own, and I sincerely hope have nothing to do with a depression jerk in his brain (because I would not wish a depression jerk on anyone).

          1. Zak McKracken says:

            I have struggled for a long time to understand this kind of behaviour in other people I know.
            … then some huge guy insulted me for trying to help him and I apologized reflexively… that sort of opened my eyes to the fact why telling people to just stand their ground doesn’t help. This stuff, like depression, takes patience and hard work.

            It’s lovely to see, though, when things eventually come together. There’s a really good positive feedback cycle in there.

        5. Hamilcar says:

          I know that I am much like Shamus, here. I tend to avoid conflict and payup just so I can forget about it and move on with life. So I sympathize here. But then I married a Chinese woman. She would have wound up driving the tenants out and letting me live for free. She doesn’t let me or her get pushed around for anything. I’ve gotten out of alot of things thanks to her, big and small. Doesn’t matter if its legally binding or not. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=-m8XnkmRgzE#t=102)(Yeah, it says “Asian Parents”, but it’s really about true-blue Chinese people.)

        6. Joe Informatico says:

          I don’t know if Shamus lives in an area where landlords typically want references from incoming tenants. But if that’s the case, leaving with a good reference from that landlady might have been worth more than stirring up trouble with her. Especially since Shamus’ last post implies she was apologetic about the whole situation.

      2. topazwolf says:

        Wow, you’re too nice Shamus. I would have both tore into the neighbor for his stupidity and flagrant abuse of the rules (giving a long and very detailed speech on how exactly what kind of stuff he caused me) and made my displeasure known to the Landlady (her opinion of me would matter not at all since my opinion of her would be that she is lazy, inept, and impotent to not have fixed the issue). I probably also wouldn’t have passed the last month rent unless obliged to do so by a rock solid contract (she deserves at least the smack on the wrist of not getting paid for time I will not be occupying her inglorious abode). I does occur to me that you likely did not have the lung capacity to give such speeches at the end. This must mean that Heather is also a very nice lady to not have done it in your place.

        But now that it’s over and you made your decisions based on it, I suppose it is time to put it all behind you and raise your glass to a better future.

        1. Zak McKracken says:

          If I get angry in front of people, it never achieves anything good for me. That much I know.
          I’d probably have either delivered that speech and made matters worse, or formulated one in my head and pre-empted it’s uselessness.
          In the latter case, there’s a certain chance I’d have actually taken the time to formulate a polite but clear letter (and actually send it)! That might actually have worked (I am getting better at this lately). It’s not unlikely that I’d have given up halfway through, though, because it’s just effing terribly difficult to sound firm but friendly when I’m actually both super-angry and stressed out.

      3. Matt K says:

        Out of curiosity did you end up explaining to the Landlord why you guys moved. I wonder if she would have prorated the rent in that instance. That said if I was a full year lease I would have had words with the landlord to break the lease but since it was only month to month I would have accepted finishing it out (it’s rare to be able to move without some overlap).

        ETA: Also I’d suggest planting some veggies in the garden next year, fresh grown stuff is amazing.

        Also, sounds like it ended up for the best in the end anyhow since your old place sounded like it was going downhill cat or no cat. Also (also) it’s always surprising how rough moving ends up being both physically and financially. You always think it’s manageable and then once you start you begin to wonder why on earth you thought it would be easy.

        That said, just skipping out on a lease can have a lot of negative consequences on your credit in the future so Shamus was smart not to take that option. But I know in Maryland that the Attorney General’s Office does deal with Landlord-Tenant issues and tries to mediate a fix or helps with breaking the lease. I would strongly suggest for people having issues with their landlord to at least look into it if the Landlord essentially ignores the issue.

  14. purf says:

    Glad it all worked out in the end. Nice view, too. I’ve never lived anywhere where I had both an horizon AND stuff to watch at the same time.

    I moved this July so (we hired a cheap-ass company to haul our stuff as it was a move from a high third floor to a city 220km away and just the two of us + toddler. No. Way.) the horrors of moving are still present.

    Find the spot where you could replace “dander” with “getting the deposit back” and still have a perfectly meaningful sentence ;)

  15. Cuthalion says:

    Glad you’re healthy and in a new place. :)

  16. Y’know I have a monitor I’m not using if you want one. I mean it’s old, 3:4, low res and…we have a shit ton of animals in this house. Y’know what, nevermind. I might as well be mailing you a bomb. :P

    Congrats on it all working out though!

    1. ET says:

      Sell it on Craigslist, and send Shamus the money! :)

      1. kdansky says:

        Ancient hardware doesn’t fetch a price worth dealing with people. I gave away a 60 cm $1000 sony TV (CRT) with all the snazzy features you could buy in 2000. Tripple RGB-Scart In, VGA In, flat glass (not round!), 100 Hz (!!), and it took me three tries putting it up until someone wanted it for free, just so I don’t have to deal with 50 kg of garbage.

  17. Isy says:

    I kind of want to conduct a poll: is there any man alive who walked up to a random woman, said some variation of “hey hot stuff, I have a huge dick”, and got anything but a negative reaction? Because I seem to recall a study done where men tried propositioning random women without the crude language, and they were turned down 100% of the time. I’d just like to know if there was any reason people do this beyond making others feel skeezy.

      1. Mechaninja says:

        I want this video clip in my body.

    1. ET says:

      I’d bet there’s people who would respond positively to such a proposition, but I’d also bet that:
      1. They’re a very small minority of the population.
      2. They probably know enough to meet up at dedicated bars/night clubs/hookup-websites/etc.

    2. Zak McKracken says:

      I think there will be a number of “pickup artists” who think that this is how women want to be treated (though maybe slightly more elegantly executed..?)
      I also think they probably only apply this to women in certain places, in certain circumstances, and after “checking them out” a bit … I guess?
      So those people may think it works, and they may be influencing others to do the same but they might also be generalizing from a very very cherrypicked sample of the population.

      My outsiders’ perspective has long been “why do people get rewarded for treating women like shit?”. These days, I think it’s just code-talk within a group that shares a mutual interest. Anything I could learn from them does not apply to any meaningful interaction I’m interested in.

      Also, drugs make people behave in weird ways…

      1. Shamus says:

        My theory: He was high, and he saw this woman moving out without a man helping her. He figured this was a break-up, and now was his big chance.

        I dunno. People are strange.

      2. Deoxy says:

        My outsiders' perspective has long been “why do people get rewarded for treating women like shit?”.

        Because the traits that are most statistically likely to be rewarded by women are also the traits that are statistically most likely to result in women being treated like shit?

        Seriously, go check in to what the very best and most solid science tells us about how attraction works in women (you can tell it’s the best and most solid because, among other things, it claims VERY LITTLE – only the stuff that is really solid).

        As a group, women reward self-confident jerks* with sex. The long-term outcome of that is not a good relationship, but that is a penalty born largely by women (as those kind of men move on to the next woman).

        Yes, there are exceptions, but that’s the stats. That is what the pick-up artist community has picked up on – how to manipulate female attraction. The serious ones don’t claim that it always works, only that it works much more often than anything else. As best I can tell, if you all you want is sex, and you don’t mind being a complete asshole, they are completely right.

        *Not all jerks, it’s a bit more specific, but that’s longer than I’m going to go in to here.

    3. Isy says:

      An article referencing the study and some others: http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/gender-differences-and-casual-sex-the-new-research/

      Conclusion: it might work if you’re Johnny Depp.

  18. Here’s hoping that the new place is an awesome home for you guys for many years to come!

  19. McNutcase says:

    I’m glad you’re out of danger. One thing this has convinced me of: if I ever meet you, I won’t shake your hand. I have two cats, both of them somewhat clingy, so I’m a lethal dander-and-cat-spit bomb. We’ll wave hi to each other instead.

    1. evileeyore says:

      Yeah, I’ll just send him an imogi… wait, that might carry dander too.

  20. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So,has anyone put Shamus’s face into a quarian mask already?

    1. Aaron says:

      this makes an alarming amount of sense, although it might cause an ebola scare…

      also glad we were able to help out, and some advice for you never ever accept an invitation to a warehouse, they are nothing but dust factories…and product shippers too, but mostly swirling dust that collects inches deep in unused areas waiting to pounce

  21. DaveMc says:

    Phew. I’m so glad this turned out to have a happy ending! I couldn’t have borne it, if it had turned out that you died at the end.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      You joke,but…

      1. Doomcat says:

        …That link is something special.

        OT: Not dying at the end is generally good, I’d have had a bit of a tiff if it ended with “cats fall, everyone dies.”

      2. MadTinkerer says:

        Well he did finish the story on day 2 of the internet blackout, so it’s possible he could have set up the chapters to automatically post then dropped dead right as the blackout finished. We already know that’s not true because he’s posted since he finished the story, and commented on this post, but it’s possible. Just don’t drink any tea, Shamus!

        Actually, on a bit of a downer note, I can actually think of an instance where something like that happened just last year. A particular internet celebrity I was following died and it was a week before his death was confirmed at the main site because there was a bunch of content set to automatically post and his associates had initially dismissed the news as a hoax for several days until they got his next of kin to confirm what happened.

        …Well that ruined a perfectly good joke. Now I’m sad. :(

      3. MrGuy says:

        “The eel doesn’t get her. I’m explaining to you because you look nervous.”
        “I wasn’t nervous. Maybe I was a little bit concerned, but that’s not the same thing.”

  22. Blake says:

    “You folks really did make a huge difference and saved our family from all kinds of heartache, uncertainty, and (much worse) financial loss.”

    You’re quite welcome, I hope things are much happier, healthier and more stress free from here on out!

  23. Dragmire says:

    Woo! I love a happy ending! I am very glad things worked out well for you.

  24. RCN says:

    It really looks too good to be true. You should scan the neighborhood for rat nests, hellmouths, C’thulhu cultists, Village Elders who prat too much about the “Greater Good” and, above all else, GARDEN GNOMES!

    If none of the above actually exist in the immediate vicinity of your new home, congrats, you found a housing jackpot. Pray to whatever Gods or concepts you fancy that your landlord doesn’t realize that and start increasing rent.

    (Or maybe I just played too much Constructor in the 90s)

    1. Florian the Mediocre says:

      Eh, garden gnomes aren’t that bad. At least if you have a rocket launch site nearby…

      1. MrGuy says:

        I see what you did there…

    2. Groboclown says:

      Maybe there are neighbor punks that want you to get rid of that grotty fence.

  25. Artur CalDazar says:

    I really hope this new place works out well for your family, but your old neighbourhood sounds scary as hell.

  26. Zaxares says:

    Fingers crossed that it all turns out well this time, Shamus. :) I really, really don’t want to jinx it, but usually if everything seems too good to be true, there’s usually something wrong with the place that the previous seller’s not mentioning. (After all, there must be a reason why THEY’RE selling it.)

    1. Isy says:

      Maybe it’s haunted. That’d still be super good for Shamus, because ghosts shouldn’t trigger his asthma.

      1. syal says:

        In fact ghosts should scare away the cats and dogs in the neighborhood!

    2. MichaelGC says:

      Well, it could be that the previous occupants moved, after five years of astonishingly uncommon good luck, to their own small Pacific island. From which they commute via jetpacks!! Gold-plated jetpacks!!!

      Ahem. Er… Many things are possible, I guess is what I’m saying. Even moreso when leasing.

      There’ll always be drawbacks, o’ course. But it’s what you make of ’em: Pet Sematary in the yard? Awesome!: Shamus finally gets a pet which won’t kill him, and which has additional utility in any situation requiring emergency straightening of hair.

  27. Zekiel says:

    Phew! Wishing you well in your new place. And hooray for Heather!

    1. Zekiel says:

      PS And Shamus thanks for writing such readable stuff. I really admire how you manage to tell the story of a hellish experience without asking for sympathy or badmouthing any of the people who contributing to making it so difficult. That’s really impressive.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        I normally don’t like it when folks just say “this,” but after reading Zekiel’s comments the utility of the phrase has become a little clearer to me …

  28. Hoffenbach says:

    Congratulations on your new place, and I’m glad that you can once again breathe easy!

  29. Chris says:

    So glad to hear the move was successful and hoping you have many years ahead with happiness and no-moving to look forward to. :)

    ..I have to wonder if the origin of stories about evil spirits/monsters stealing the breath/life of a person while they were sleeping was a result of someone in ye olden days not knowing how to understand what they suffered from was allergies.. hrmm..

  30. kdansky says:

    Next time you have to move and need people to schlepp things, you could ask here. While I personally won’t be able to help because I live on a different continent, I’m fairly certain that you would have found four or six extra arms. You should play the cards you were dealt, and “a tiny bit internet famous” doesn’t make up for “dies to cat spittle” in the slightest.

  31. SKD says:

    I know I’m kind of late to the party, having been out of the loop for a while but I wish I had had the money to contribute to your patreon back when it started. I often avoid those types of things although I doubt my normal objections would apply with you after all I have read here over the years. Now that I have gotten past some recent financial difficulties of my own and have made the transition from contractor to employee (having done contract work for a few years showed me it was not a good setup for me) I will look at making one of those donations I always wanted to in the past. It may be via Patreon or it may be through Paypal but you and the crew deserve something for all the entertainment you all have provided to me over the years. Good luck with the new house, may it be a source of many pleasant family memories.

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