I recently told an old and dear friend, “Dude, I not only live in a trailer park, I work in them. I do evictions. Tell me I am not living the most entertaining life ever.”
There are still days when I’m looking around this new little reality of mine and thinking, How did I get here? Those are the days when I’m quite sure God has a wicked sense of humor. The company now owns fifteen mobile home parks, so that’s roughly 375 homes to manage. I’ve been in each and every one of these homes over the last five years. I’ve cleaned them, inspected them, painted them, photographed them. If anyone has a question about a home, I have an answer; Yes, that’s the one that had the toilet that got clogged and the tenant continued to use it for two weeks without being able to flush before calling us; that’s the one the tenant painted the interior florescent orange and we had to use six gallons of Kilz to cover it; that’s the one where the old lady died sitting in the chair on her porch and neighbors just waved at her for like a week; that’s the one the cat hoarder used to live in and we found dead cats in the insulation. I know how many bedrooms and baths each has, I know the repair/renovation history on them. Each home has its own personality, despite the fact that they are all just rectangular boxes.
This is why when a former tenant comes into the office a year after vacating their home and complains about the amount that we turned in to the collection agency, my ears instantly tune into the conversation. She mentioned the “lot number” of the home she used to occupy and the hamster in my head began to run on its wheel. Yes. Oh, yes. I remember that home. I remember that on Easter Sunday I was driving through that particular community on my way to drop off something to a friend who was working that day. I remember spotting the UHaul in the driveway at the aforementioned home and thinking that was odd because no one had given us notice that they were moving out. No notice given? Yeah, you’re gonna owe or another thirty days of occupancy with no notice. And the following day when I went to work I checked to see if any keys had been returned. No, no keys were returned, which means we have to change the locks, soooooo, who pays for that? The former tenant was indignant about the $150 cleaning charge that had been added to the bill. “I cleaned that place myself!” she insisted, figuring that after a whole year went by no one would remember a minor detail like that.
You cleaned it? Really?
“Any of this look familiar?” I asked, turning my laptop in her direction.
“How ’bout this?”
“Or this? And by the way, where did our stove go?”
“You’ll have to let me know when you start that new cleaning agency of yours…”
Liabetes. There is no cure.