the lurking landlord

The landlord’s starting to creep me out some.

And he seems to be leading a witch hunt to get me out.

Shortly after I’d deposited the rent in his mail slot, he appeared at the door with a receipt and document in hand.

“We’re not going to renew your lease for next month.” (The lease is month to month.) “Here’s your copy.”

“What?! On what grounds?”

“After our talk yesterday about the scents.”

“As I said, the diffuser’s gone, packed up, with the oils. I’m not using scented candles or burning incense.”

He looked at me disbelieving because he doesn’t want to believe.

“You’re using candles in your apartment,” he said.

“Unscented tea lights in small votive holders,” I responded.

(I use them for protection on the window sills because I live on the ground floor and my windows face a grassy dirt path between two buildings. Not a lot of people pass through the shortcut but when they do, it’s alarming and shadowy, especially at night. I’ve not felt safe because of it so the candles let passersby know someone’s home.)

“I also use battery candles in the votives. From now on, I’ll use only electric candles. Done.”

I’m creeped out. The only way he’d know about the candles is if he were in the passageway at night near my windows in the middle of the passageway. Otherwise, they’re not visible from either end of the long narrow building.

Creepy.

Then there’s this.

“Yesterday I smelled vinegar around your door.”

{WTF?!}

I use a solution vinegar and water in a spray bottle in the apartment from time to time to freshen and cleanse the air. The scent lingers no more than five minutes. As part of my cleaning, I’d sprayed it around the interior door frame.

From the outside, you’d have step up verrry close to the door for a slight whiff.

“I use vinegar for cleaning,” I said. “Is that acceptable? Or is vinegar also banned?”

This is on the heels of something else a couple days ago. The landlord was in the boiler room and thought he smelled incense. (I’m sure he immediately thought of me since he’d told me recently not to burn it.)

So he went down the hallway sniffing door to door to find out where it was coming from.

He concluded that it was from my apartment.

Only: I wasn’t home. I hadn’t burned incense in a couple of weeks. And my diffuser was not in use.

When I relayed these facts, I don’t think he really believed me — because he doesn’t want to.

Something weird’s going on with the landlord. A witch hunt. Efforts to railroad me out. It’s weird, strange, spooky and kinda creepy learning that he’s sniffing and lurking around in search of reasons to evict me.

In the absence of scents from candles, incense or diffuser, he’s latched onto vinegar. (The lease does not ban use of vinegar.)

What’s next?

I took the copy of the 30-day’s notice he handed me — note: I moved in only a month ago. He said he’d rescind the notice if I quit the candles. I repeated that I would and would use only electric.

Instinct tells me that this isn’t over. That he’ll turn over every stone, sniff at my door and peek down the dark passageway for any ANY reason to get me out.

He’ll use the scent of cooking, claiming it bothers the residents with respiratory ailments (himself included). He’ll say he still keeps smelling the scent of candles I’m not burning or vinegar or fill-in-the-blank.

He’s on his witch hunt and I’m not even a witch! Just a gal living — tryg to live — in a studio apartment.

If he continues, if his actions become weirder and weirder, more and more invasive and prying, I’ll need to consider speaking with the building’s owner. I’ve had many landlords through my years but none like this.

Creepy. Halloween comes early.

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Crockpot cooking curries no favor in this community!

It is prison in hell.

The matter of cooking smells from residents’ apartment came up yesterdays discussion with the landlord about incense, candles and diffusers.

In short, a resident complains about an odor from a food you’ve cooked, the landlord will deliver the complaint and instruct you not to cook that food.

Let me repeat that as you lift the jaw off the floor.

If a cooking odor from your apartment annoys or disturbs a resident and s/he complains to the landlord, the landlord will communicate the complaint and advise you not to cook that dish.

The reason?

“So everyone in the apartment community can be happy.”

I know, I know, it’s a logic beyond comprehension or reason or reality!

Somehow smushing down one resident to please another(s) is the road to peace, harmony and happiness?

Tell me how that works because I’m not seeing it.

What I’m seeing is one person being trampled on, disregarded and dismissed to please a whiner and complainer who is showing no tolerance or grasp of community living.

What I’m seeing is a landlord who is spiritually unaware and caught up in mundane appearances and the belief that you shut down the perceived “troublemaker” and peace, harmony and happiness are restored to all.

What I’m seeing is a landlord, a man, who is likely doing the best he can within his limited understanding and beliefs about the dynamics of individuals and groups.

He’s like a Caveman Landlord. “We group. We hunt. Man over there in cave alone. Not right. He make deer meat. We make corn and rabbit. He bad. I go hit with club. Now everybody happy again.”

Imbecilic, infantile, injurious, intolerant.

It deeply bothers me that a single complainer in the building wields such power as to motivate the landlord to tell the “source of the problem” to quit it.

It deeply bothers me that I could get a knock on the door and delivery of complaint and instruction to discontinue that dish, especially as we move into winter and crockpot cooking of aromatic, flavorful and nutritious soups and stews.

It enrages me that any one man has the arrogance to tell a resident how he can or cannot feed himself because someone else in the building is offended by a scent.

It is prison in hell.

And if you refuse the instruction, there will be consequences. The next time(s) you cook an aromatic dish, you’ll receive another complaint. Then another. And another. There’ll be no end to the complaints. The word will spread. You’ll gain a reputation as being uncooperative. Not community-minded. Uncaring, rebellious, unwilling to give others consideration.

When in truth is it not you the cook being intolerant. It is them.

“There’s safety in numbers,” it’s said. That’s true for them but that’s never been true for me. For me, there’s danger in numbers.

So, as I said, as we move into autumn and winter and the crockpot cooking that I adore with a new crockpot that I just love, I’m trepeditious to say the least.

The crockpot scents that give a home that warmth and inviting and homey ambiance are in my community “guided” by this particular landlord potentially huge cause for attack, control and snuffing out of one’s right to prepare foods desired or needed.

All because one landlord empowers one complainant! It’s madness. Prison in hell.

Along these lines, for the record — it came up in yesterday’s discussion — there’s one vegan in the building of 19 residents. He is bothered by meat odors. Whether he specifically asked for a building-wide ban on cooking meat I don’t know (wouldn’t surprise me a bit); I do know that when the topic came up between him and the landlord, the landlord saw a ban as “excessive.”

A blip of reason anyways.

Yet cooking a curried pumpkin soup is a potential no-no because a whiff of curry will bother the residents with the respiratory issue (inc. the landlord)?

Madness.

Enough said on that topic. As it is, I’ve a lovely cauliflower soup I’m hungering to create in the crockpot, rich with Indian spices like turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon.

I hesitate because I fear the consequences: the intolerance and complaints most probably from the same crew (incl. landlord) who complained about the negligible scent from the diffuser (since packed away) and, in the case of the landlord, the incense that I was not burning.

Prison in hell. There’s no other way to put it.

I’ll find my way through the bars. I will.

It begins with a prayer.

In the Light of God*, no harm can come to me.
In the Light of God, no harm can come to me.
In the Light of God, no harm can come to me.

Amen.

*God, Spirit, All That Is, Divine Intelligence, Universe