Sunday Afternoon 7/29/2018

Sunset was approaching when we finally finished cleaning and arrived at the condo.

We are out of the house!

The landlord was a no-show for the inspection this morning. We arrived at the house with Cheryl and Alan at 7:15, and waited around until 8:30. Brett texted the landlord at 7:45 and he started out with “I forgot.” Then he began listing all the other appointments he had set up and had to get to (????), that his workers were no-shows, etc. At 8:30 we messaged him that we were leaving the keys and garage door openers on the kitchen counter (we took pictures of all of us at the house, the keys on the counter, etc.) and that we would see him in small claims court. Then the excuses started, each one contradicting the one before – he kept trying out different reasons for not showing up, I guess trying to find one he thought we might accept. He said we were “panicking” and that he didn’t need us there to do the inspection (Hawai’i law would beg to differ on that), and that he would have our check tonight – he was the one panicking! We sent him our forwarding address and told him to mail our check because we were done with him and all his excuses at that point. Anyway, the house was SPOTLESS and we took TONS of photos. We’re pretty sure the landlord knows at this point that his goose is cooked, and we doubt we’ll ever see our deposit, but the Hawai’i tax department is definitely going to be getting a message from us before we leave the island. I’m normally not a vindictive person, but after all the work we put into cleaning the house, his no-show and subsequent messaging is going to end up costing him a whole lot more than our deposit.

Pound cake french toast with Nutella, fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

On a brighter note, we had a wonderful breakfast with Cheryl and Alan at the Kountry Kitchen. Alan and I had more traditional breakfasts, but because it is Cheryl’s birthday today she and Brett decided to have the completely decadent (and delicious) pound cake french toast. How they finished it I don’t know, but they both managed to clean their plates. After breakfast Brett and I did a little grocery shopping so we’re set for the next couple of weeks.

I can’t express enough how nice it is to finally be at the condo. It’s air-conditioned, and we slept like babies last night although the bed is a little soft for our liking. It’s very quiet here – we can sleep with the windows closed and not have to listen to loud neighbors, screaming roosters, fans, etc. In fact, last night was the first I’ve been able to sleep since we arrived in Kaua’i without having to wear earplugs. The condo has a garbage disposal and best of all a dishwasher, something we’ve done without for the past four years. And of course there’s the pool! Brett and I are heading down there in a short while to walk some laps in the lazy river and lay out in the sun and RELAX!

We found out this last week that YaYu has to have her wisdom teeth removed ASAP – one of had become infected. She saw the oral surgeon last Monday, but they didn’t have any open appointments until September. Then we got a call on Wednesday that there was a cancellation on August 6, so she will be going in that morning to have three wisdom teeth removed. Hopefully it will go easily and she’ll only miss one day of work. Both Meiling’s and WenYu’s wisdom teeth came in without any issues, but they of course had to endure years of braces which YaYu didn’t need, so I guess the universe decided that things needed to be evened out.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I finished Standard Deviation (loved it!), am still reading The Child Catchers, and just downloaded a new book by James Fallows and his wife, Deborah: Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey Into the Heart of America. In 2012 they splurged and bought a small plane and then spent five years flying around the United States, visiting small(er) towns and cities all over to try to understand the country at a more local level.
  • Listening to: Nothing – it is blissfully quiet here. Even the appliances are super quiet.
  • Watching: No one has been watching much of anything this week, although I did catch a few episodes of the new Netflix show, Sugar Rush. I’ll just say the show has potential, and I also now want to stop by Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie when we’re in Sydney. I also watched the latest episode of The Great British Baking Show on Friday. Tonight we’re going to watch Endeavour on an actual TV!
  • Cooking/baking: Although it was fun eating out for a while we are all glad to be where we can cook our own food again. I’m especially looking forward to eating more healthy foods again – restaurant meals and processed food were not my friends, and I gave up trying to avoid carbs. We’re having mabo dofu tonight (I brought our wok from the house), but I’ve put yakisoba, spaghetti with marinara and grilled Italian sausages (the resort has several grills available for guests to use), a soba salad with chicken, and noodles with pork sauce on the menu for this week. Even if YaYu is not home for dinner she said she will enjoy the leftovers.

    Lots of places in the girls’ shower for mildew to hide and grow, especially under that bottom ledge. Definitely NOT the best shower surround design for a house with no A/C in a very humid climate. The white stuff coming down from the bottom is a bleach paste I used to get rid of the mildew.

  • Happy I accomplished last week: The house was spotless when we were supposed to meet the landlord for the inspection this morning, all except for the floor being stripped and waxed, but that’s because he had told us he wanted to do it (we did thoroughly mop the floors though). The cleaning took a LOT of work, especially at the end, but we kept at it and got it done. You might think the house was filthy because of all the work we put into it, but it really wasn’t – things just get dirty here very fast. For example, I deep cleaned the girls’ bathroom nearly two weeks ago, and got rid of all the mildew that grows underneath the edge of the shower wall and other nooks and crannies. From then to now, the shower has not been used, and the windows in the bathroom and bedroom have been closed. Still, the caulking ended up covered again in mildew because of the humidity we’ve been experiencing, so I had to go in with the bleach again and get it off – ugh! Brett washed the house and cleaned all the screens last Tuesday, but our next door neighbor mowed his lawn on Wednesday and our lawn care guy came on Thursday, both of which filled the screens again with dust and dirt so Brett had to stop and wash them again. That’s the kind of stuff we found ourselves up against again and again, and along with packing and sorting, trips to the thrift shop, and the heat and crazy humidity it caused the cleaning to take longer and be more difficult than we imagined. Anyway, we also sold the last few things that needed to go last week (microwave, fan, folding table) and took more stuff to the thrift store on Friday (but we still have a couple more bags of stuff to go).
  • Looking forward to next week: Both Brett and I are so looking forward to doing nothing but sleeping in (in air-conditioned luxury), and relaxing out by the pool or swimming every day. It’s been too hot and way too humid to walk (and we’ve been too busy), but I’m going to walk several laps in the pool’s lazy river a couple of times every day.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: We sold the car! Alan and Cheryl decided it was a great island car for them at a great price and they are buying it from us! Neither Brett nor I are interested in owning a car again, but I have to admit I’m going to miss our little Civic. It it was also very convenient having two cars this weekend to get us moved over to the condo (our rental car is tiny!). I met some more wonderful Kaua’i people this past week and got to talk story with them for a while when they came to pick up the things they bought. These interactions will forever be one of my favorite Kaua’i memories. There are definitely some very strange/weird people here on Kaua’i but there are also the friendliest, warmest, and kindest people I have ever met or had the privilege to interact with and get to know.

    Smoked salmon board at Sam’s Ocean View – there was enough salmon left over for our bagels next morning! We also had a grilled cheese board (brie with fig jam), crispy cauliflower, and a small but yummy pizza.

  • Thinking of frugal things we did: I used my last Southwest gift card that I had earned through Swagbucks when I purchased WenYu’s ticket to come to Portland for Christmas and saved $50. We still have to get her return flight to Boston but she doesn’t have a date yet (she wants to spend time in Oregon with her best friend and with Meiling before she goes back). We also kept to our budget while eating out this week, and enjoyed some very tasty meals.
  • Reporting gains and losses for July: We no longer have a scale so I have no idea if I’ve lost or gained weight. I’ve probably gained a few pounds though because we’ve been eating out so much and we haven’t been walking. I’m not really tracking our travel savings for the time being as we’re currently using the savings!
  • Grateful for: We thought it would be amazing if YaYu could earn a couple of thousand dollars or so this summer, but she will put more than double that amount into her savings account by the time we leave Kaua’i. Restaurant work here can be very lucrative, but YaYu is also a hustler, and has been proactive about picking up extra shifts, always willing to substitute for others when they need time off. We’re all very thankful that the restaurant manager took a chance on her (she literally had no job experience before she started) and that she’s been able to work and save so much toward her college expenses. Her scholarships covered most of her out-of-pocket costs this year, but she should have enough saved by the end of summer here to cover next year’s costs as well.

    My brown linen pants after cleaning blinds – lovely, aren’t they? The blue pants I was going to take along with me on our travels were also ruined.

  • Bonus question: What was the most difficult thing to clean for the move-out? Poor Brett put in a LOT of work this last week cleaning off the tops of the kitchen cabinets. What should have been a couple hours’ work took nearly four days because our wonderful landlord had apparently sprayed the tops of the cabinets with a ton of Pledge or some other kind of wax, and even though we regularly vacuumed up there, the heat and humidity had turned whatever he used into a thick, black sludge that had to be scraped off by hand. There was less dirt/grease on the tops of the cabinets in our Portland kitchen where we lived and cooked daily for nine years than what was on top of these cabinets – it was nasty. The landlord had also insisted that the tops of the ceiling fan blades should be sprayed with Pledge because “then the dust just flies fight off.” Uh no – Brett had been scraping off Pledge sludge for over two years because of all the dust that had stuck to the melting Pledge on the fans (which of course all had a grooved design in the blades). He put a very light coat of Pledge on the tops of the fan blades for the inspection but did not put any on the top of the cabinets – he said he just could not do that to the next tenants. My toughest cleaning job was getting the fabric tapes on the blinds clean and white again. It took several days of work and I ruined two pair of pants because of bleach splatters and stains. The smell was awful too, but that’s gone now and the tapes were clean and white and ready for inspection.

That’s it for this week. I am still exhausted from the cleaning and inspection, but the worst of this move is over and we are moving forward again. How did your week go? What good things happened for you? What did you accomplish?

16 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 7/29/2018

  1. JJ says:

    Wow, what an ordeal! I can’t believe your landlord didn’t show up. I bet he has pulled this BS with others in the past and got away with it, but he didn’t realize you and Brett aren’t pushovers. Good for you for sticking up for yourself. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with your deposit.

    I’ve lived in a lot of apartments and the only requirement when moving out was to leave it “broom clean,” not spotless. I’ve never heard of such a thing. Landlords usually have a cleaning crew go in and clean and paint when someone moves out–they don’t expect the tenant moving out to do that for them. Weird!

    What was the bleach paste you used in the shower? I have an awful time with mildew and haven’t found anything that works that well.

    Enjoy the rest of your stress free time in Kauai!

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    • Laura says:

      Yes, I think he thought we were going to be pushovers and was caught off-guard when we called him on not showing up. At one point in his litany of excuses he was asking us if he could get us coffee and pastries so we could “work this out.” Our favorite excuse was, “This is Kauai.” Alan drove by at around 12:30 pm and said the landlord was at the house then (guess he didn’t actually have the all-day appointments he gave as one of the reasons for not showing up).

      We’re especially ticked off because our deposit was a substantial one. The landlord has said he will mail us a check, but neither of us think he actually will. According to Hawaii law though, failure to return a security deposit can earn him a judgement of 3x the amount of the deposit (although collecting it would be a whole ‘nother can of worms).

      To make the bleach paste mix together baking soda with bleach to a nice, spreadable consistency (not too thick, but not too thin either). Brush the paste over the mildew, cover with plastic wrap (if possible) and let it stand for 3 hours to overnight. Mildew will be gone! Wear gloves, and use a cheap paintbrush – the bleach will quite literally eat the brush!

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  2. Vivian says:

    Of all the possible scenarios, it never occurred to me that the landlord would be a no show. I hope you do take him to small claims court. Such a shame he turned out to be a bad guy.
    Glad you finally made it to your air conditioned condo.
    I feel for YaYu. I was sick with tonsillitis and had both a tonsillectomy and my wisdom teeth out at the hospital. Had to stay overnight and was off work for 7 days. I hope her experience is much easier.
    Can’t wait for your big adventure to begin.

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    • Laura says:

      The no-show was a surprise for us as well, and extremely maddening considering all the work we put into cleaning the house. Brett has saved all his messages from today (actually has all his messages going back to earlier in the year) – he’s even got one from the landlord today saying we didn’t need to be present for the inspection! Every message from him had a different excuse though – he started with “I forgot” and ended with how it was our fault he didn’t show up! We do plan to take him to court – we told him we had documents and photos (we do), and witnesses that he was a no-show.

      Just 23 more days until we leave. I’m excited, but so happy we get to spend our last few weeks here in the condo – it’s fabulous.

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  3. Janette says:

    WOW! I will join the group who are amazed that he did not show up. I think I would begin texting him daily on Wednesday asking where your check is. Not a long text—just enough to tickle his fingers. It would be fun to see what he comes up with. Can you have your friend send him an “official letter” asking for the return of the deposit?
    Just so darn disappointing.
    So glad, though, that you sold your CAR!!!! WoooHOOO! Now you can really sit back and enjoy the time left.
    We are thinking of coming to Oahu in July 2020. The humidity though…do you think we would survive? There will be lots of littles…but several in school so any other time of year would not really work. HUMMMM.
    Enjoy the week!

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    • Laura says:

      He has 14 days to get a check to us (that’s at least get it postmarked within 14 days). In our case, that will be August 14. So, if there isn’t a check waiting for us at Brett’s sister’s house when we get there, he has violated Hawai’i law. It’s almost funny now to read his messages from this morning because he is all over the place. He told us we were “paranoid” and that we needed a “written agreement” to the date and time for the inspection – uh, no. But then he was going to buy us coffee and pastries if we came back. Or, if we met him tonight he would give us our check (or more likely, in our opinion, stand us up again). And, that setting up the repairs for the house was more important than meeting with us for the inspection (even though we were giving him back three days and we wanted to make sure our inspection was done before repairs began!).

      Summer is a great time to visit Hawai’i – the humidity is bearable if you’re at the beach, or out doing things. And kids don’t notice or feel the humidity as much as adults do. But make sure wherever you’re staying has air-conditioning. We went to Honolulu in June and it was humid, but we had A/C in the room, so have no complaints about the weather.

      We are super happy that we sold the car, and we know Alan and Cheryl will enjoy having it (plus we gave them a good price). We’re doing all the paperwork and getting the title transferred tomorrow.

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  4. tpol1 says:

    That landlord is a piece of work! I hope, he will get his lesson. Poor YaYu! Three teeth at a time is a lot of pain but she is a trooper so, she will recover fast. I am so glad the house saga is now over and you and Brett can rest and have fun before you leave. The condo sounds like a wonderful place. Enjoy your time in Kauai!

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    • Laura says:

      Piece of work is right! The whole reason we wanted the walk-through with him is to make sure we were in agreement about things (for example, he had asked us not to strip and re-wax the floors and there was a door lock he had said he would repair when we moved out – we didn’t want to get charged for those things). We’ve listened to him disparage other tenants ever since we rented from him, and know he’s said stuff behind our backs about us, so we just wanted to protect ourselves. Plus, he’s also way overcharged people for repairs/cleaning. So the no-show and then all the excuses for the no-show was really maddening.

      The condo is amazing – so comfortable and cool!

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  5. Snoskred says:

    I don’t know how you do things as far as saving messages but my one suggestion is to take screenshots of everything and throw it into a dropbox, or email it to yourself at gmail. Actually both might be a good idea, if you email it to yourself you will have a trail any small claims judge could follow at a later time, and if you save the screenshots in dropbox then it doesn’t matter if anything happens to your phone, you can always go in and get them.

    So glad for you that you are out of there. We’ve had some great landlords over the years and one utterly fantastic rental agent and then two deeply terrible rental agents. Currently our landlords are my parents, and generally they’ll take care of things pretty quickly. Much more so than they take care of their own shiznit.

    It took me 10 years to convince Mother to install screen doors on her house. As soon as she did, of course it was the best thing ever and wow we save so much money on the energy bills because I can open the house up in summer rather than use the aircon. Yes, I knew all of that which is why I kept telling you to install the door! *boggle* 🙂

    I hope you are going to float on the lazy river for at least an hour each day as well as walk. I know I would! 😉

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    • Laura says:

      Brett is doing exactly that – taking screen shots of all his messages and sending them to himself in Gmail. We have a year to take him to small claims, so depending on whether he actually sends us a check (very doubtful at this point in time) we may be back on Kaua’i next year with a court date.

      We thought our first landlord here was a pain until we dealt with this guy. After nearly three years of listening to him badmouthing both previous and prospective tenants, or threatening to send bills for repairs to tenants who moved out over a year before we moved in, we were expecting to get screwed this time and he didn’t disappoint. Oh well – we have a few tricks left up our sleeves so we’ll see what happens.

      I walked two laps in the lazy river yesterday – it was like carrying 50-pound weights on each leg the whole time – really a work out!

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  6. Laurel Hill says:

    Wow! What an ending to that house story. I hope the landlord gets what’s coming to him. What a jerk.

    Poor YaYu. I remember every one of my kids having that wisdom tooth problem about the same age. I guess that’s when they cause trouble. Hope it goes well and she recovers quickly.

    That condo looks fab and makes me want to take another Hawaiian vacation. 🙂 Enjoy it! You worked hard to get there!

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    • Laura says:

      The landlord has 14 days to send the deposit refund to us – but we gave him Brett’s sister’s address and if it is not waiting for us when we get there we will trigger that “something special.” What we think he may do though is give us a portion of the deposit which when added to the rent we withheld last month for his purchase of the washer/dryer, dresser & nightstand, and SS kitchen worktable equals the entire amount of our deposit – which means he gets the stuff he “bought” from us for free.

      Getting my wisdom teeth out was not a happy experience so I really hope YaYu’s goes better. Neither of the other girls nor our son needed to have theirs out though, so I guess we lucked out there.

      I am loving this condo so much – it’s the perfect antidote to those last three miserable weeks in the house.

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  7. beautea97 says:

    What a piece of work that landlord is!!! Sheesh… and to think they call themselves business people!! Good news you are rid of him (well mostly). Enjoy your well deserved rest and relaxtion!!

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    • Laura says:

      He is a racist and nasty troll, and from what we know of him lives to screw over his tenants in one way or another. We couldn’t wait to be done with him. The condo is nice enough that it’s helping us forget.

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  8. Denise says:

    I am a landlord, myself, and what you have experienced truly saddens me. I have never without a security deposit (even when I should have) and have always treated my tenants respectfully… as friends and neighbors more so than a commodity for me to profit off of. People like your ex-landlord give the rest of us a bad name. My advice to you is to make sure you get every penny you are owed and do not back down. Someone needs to stand up to him and you and Brett are the perfect people to do so.

    I’ve followed your journeys since back in the ‘I’m Losing It Here’ days and not sure if I have ever commented before, but this situation has truly irritated me enough to bring me out of lurk-dome. 🙂

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    • Laura says:

      Landlords here tend to fall into two camps; Greedy and unscrupulous like ours, or ones who cultivate a good relationship with their tenants while still earning an income from their rentals. I met one such landlord who came to buy something from us – he owns four rental properties on the island and all of his tenants have been in his properties for at least 10 years. They work together to maintain the properties. Likewise our neighbor across the street from us – he has rented the house for 17 years (!), and had his first rent increase this year.

      We will come back and take our landlord to small claims if we have to. He does not want to appear in court, believe me. We’re very sure he has never paid any of the required Hawaiian GE taxes on any the rental income he received from us. And, if he hasn’t been paying those taxes it means he also hasn’t been declaring the income from the rental on his taxes. We have no moral issues with reporting him before we leave the island, but it’s another reason he does not want to appear in court.

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