July 21, 2012

Lies Tenants Tell...

So, I've officially survived 3 1/2 months managing an apartment complex. It hasn't done much to improve my already somewhat bleak outlook on humanity, that much I can tell you. It's made me feel rather House-like, in fact.

I've already touched on my House-like tendencies before (I believe the post was titled "I want to be an evil genius too!", and may have been on my old MySpace blog, but it could be here... I'm too lazy to go hunting for it). Now I've taken it a step further by adopting a new operational theory of the universe that can be summed up as the following:

Tenants lie.

Here are some of their favorite lies to tell...

#1) "I didn't know that!"  - Pssht. Yeah, right. The fact is that we take an hour (or longer) out of our lives to sit down and go through the lease with you so you know what the rules are, and then you get a copy of every single document you signed, and you seriously are claiming that you didn't know that you couldn't do that? What "that" is varies greatly, but I've even had people become greatly perturbed at me when their car was towed because they parked in another resident's parking space or because they parked in the non-reserved parking without a parking tag. In neither case did I instigate the towing, and I'm certainly not about to call the tow company and demand they return your car. Besides, they wouldn't do it anyway.

#2) "But _____ said that it was fine!" - In this case, ______ can be any one of the most recent five managers of this place, though some of them can remember even farther back than that. And the "it" that is "fine" can be anything from "borrowing" extra parking passes from the office, to having someone not named on the lease live in your apartment while you go live elsewhere, to growing marijuana on your balcony. A variation of this one is "But ______ knew about it!" This was the line used by my marijuana-grower, and according to him every manager previous to me has known about it. Well, there was nothing in the file and nobody told me, so maybe they all have some great psychic bond that I do not share. Or you're full of it.

#3) "I'll pay it on _______." - Now, see, I would have liked to believe this one. I'd like to be able to be understanding and go, "Oh, well, since you don't get paid until the 5th, it's okay to bring your rent payment in on the 6th." Unfortunately, it's due no later than the 4th. And real grownups who know they aren't getting paid until the 5th pay the rent out of the check they got on the 20th (or thereabouts) of the previous month. Granted, some of them actually do pay it when they say they will... but it's still late, and they're still paying an extra $75 a month by paying a late fee every month. One resident, who should serve as a shining example to all others, gets paid only once a month. On the 15th. She pays every month on the 15th, but she pays for the coming month, as in bringing me August rent on July 15th. This is how you do it. But fairly often they don't pay when they say they will anyway. My former account rep whom I miss dearly (the new one does not banter as well... or indeed at all) told me not to believe any of their stories and to stop caring so much. Good advice, I think.

#4) "I used to manage apartments...." - Oh boy... this one is my favorite! This is the sentence usually used to preface telling me what I'm doing wrong and how bad I suck at my job. Man, if I had a nickel for every time a resident told me they used to manage apartments, I could quit this job. I wonder how so many of them ended up living here on housing assistance if they have management skills, first and foremost. Perhaps they manged apartments and really sucked at it? Also, even giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming they did "used to" manage apartments, they probably weren't doing it recently enough to know that there were like a zillion changes to landlord/tenant law in 2010 and everything they think they know is probably now wrong. My marijuana grower "used to manage apartments" too, and he was pretty furious about the 30/14 he got for having 19 pot plants on his balcony. Because when he used to manage apartments, you gave a warning first. Ha ha ha... that is your warning, silly! It's a warning that you have 14 days to get the pot plants off of your balcony! (Or 30 days to find someplace else to live, your choice.) What more warning do you need?? I think people just get all riled because it says "30 day notice of for-cause termination" at the top, and they don't bother to read the bit about the 14 day cure date. If there's a cause, there might be something you can do to remove that cause... the one you need to really worry about is the "no-cause termination" notice. That's the "pack your things and go" notice.

Anyway, this post was sort of a rant. I'm out of major lies now (though there are more minor ones) and this is just a subject that has been kicking around in my brain for a while, so I'm purging it. I promise my next post will be a great tale of adventure, as the Chamaco and I had one of those today.

Song o' the Day: "I Miss the Misery" by Halestorm. For no reason other than it's catchy.

July 15, 2012

Becoming a Fruit Bat...

So last night I finally did something people had been telling me for quite some time that I ought to do, but I just hadn't found a space of time in which to do it. I watched this little documentary on Netflix called "Forks over Knives". For those not familiar with the film, it centers around two doctors (both of whom are now in their 70s) who were basically the pioneers in thinking that eating meat is not actually all that good for you, and that all of the processed foods in the modern American diet are killing us.

I know you've heard that and rolled your eyes at it before, but they've got some pretty surprising research studies to back it up. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say I was pretty convinced... convinced enough, at least, to give it a go.

So for at least the next week (and possibly longer, unless I decide there are no measurable differences in how I feel), I'm going to be trying something different with the way we eat and prepare meals around here. Here are the basics:

*My primary objective is to cut out processed foods. By "processed foods" I mean "things with ingredients on the label that I can't readily identify". Example: I know what "milk" is. I know what "chicken" is. I know what "soybeans" look like. I could probably draw you a rough sketch of any of the above. I do not, however, know how to draw a "polysorbate 80". The rule of thumb is basically not to eat anything with ingredients that didn't exist when my grandparents were children.

*I'm not cutting out meat entirely, but I am reducing quantities and sticking to chicken, fish and maybe the occasional pork (we were never really into red meat anyway). After I've exhausted the current stock on hand, I'm going to look into getting organic meat and see how much it will hurt my wallet.

*Another thing I'm cutting way back on is dairy. This saddens me greatly, because cheese is one of my favorite things, but the documentary also made a pretty convincing argument that casein, one of the major proteins in dairy products, makes your risk for certain cancers go through the roof. This gives me pause, because apparently there is more of a history of cancer in my family than anyone ever really acknowledged before my mom was found to have colon cancer in 2006. This, in fact, seems to be moderately common on her side of the family. It's on my list of things to avoid... at least until I'm 50 or so. My mom said chemo apparently works really well for skipping over that whole menopause thing.

*The only thing I've so far decided to eliminate entirely that I would have considered a "staple" item two days ago is Diet Coke. I have, in fact, eliminated any beverages with any sort of chemicals and/or artificial sweeteners in them, particularly aspartame. So I've been drinking lots of water, and trying to relearn the art of making my own flavored water at home, which is something I picked up in Mexico.

*What we are still eating is a lot of fruits and vegetables, along with rice, quinoa, beans, and stuff like this. And I personally have seen some success with this sort of eating before. When I was pregnant I pretty much only wanted to eat fruit (and McDonald's chicken nuggets, for some reason), and I lost 45 pounds while I was pregnant. Yes, that's right. LOST 45 pounds. You read it correctly. My doctor was initially very concerned and did a lot of careful measuring and monitoring of both of us, and finally threw up her hands and said, "You're getting smaller, he's getting bigger... all I can figure is that he's eating you! But you're both healthy so I guess we'll let it slide." So I know it works, my question is if I sustain it without having a growing human inside me. I guess we shall see.

Dinner tonight shall consist of teriyaki chicken (mostly for Damian, because he will have to be eased into this more gradually), couscous, and this amazing fruit salad I have constructed, along with home-made lemon-flavored water (well, I didn't make the water or the lemons, but I did artfully combine the two). I may put up pictures later if it's particularly epic. The caffeine deprivation headache is already beginning though, and based on the events of Friday tomorrow is likely to be a MONDAY. In all capital letters like that. So we'll see if I make it through or if I cave and run across to 7-11 for a caffeine jolt.