"I was goin' more for a batsh*t crazy thing."

The second—and last—installment of the washer/dryer saga:

After informing Julie and Ethan via note-taped-to-door and yet another voicemail that Maryann and I were going to sell the w/d if we didn’t hear from them within 24 hours, this is the response we received in our inboxes the next day:

Hi Clare,

I understand that you and Maryann want to recoup some of the money you two spent on the washer and dryer, so you’re offering them to us for a total of $120.

Unfortunately, due to the terrible condition in which you left the house (as detailed below), and due to your repeated breaking of promises regarding your move-out date (which severely disrupted our ability to pack, move, and unpack, Ethan’s summer classes, and my job in Houston), we were under the impression that you left the washer and dryer for us as some sort of compensation.

First of all, by “your repeated breaking of promises regarding your move-out date,” I’ll assume you meant to say “your incredibly generous offer to allow us to move in three days before our lease started, while you were still paying rent.”

Now, it is easy to confuse “We’re going to see if the landlord wants to buy the w/d, and if not we’ll sell them to you” with “Damn, dude, I’m sorry I’m such an awful, messy bitch; please accept our washer and dryer as compensation.” I mean, I know I’ve made that mistake before—and our intent must have only gotten more confusing to you when we started emailing and calling two weeks ago, offering them to you for sale.

However, we do understand that Maryann is not at fault because she moved out weeks before you (and when she promised us), and we wish to be reasonable, so we’re making the following offer:

Oh, how could I have forgotten Maryann’s promise to you to get out of your way weeks in advance? At least you’re willing to be reasonable, even if I’m incapable of it.

We will pay you and Maryann $120-(standard charges for the mess you forced us to deal with). To be as fair as possible, I will use the list of Standard Cleaning and Repair Charges from my previous apartment complex for the charges, using the minimums of the price ranges to err in your favor.

When we moved in,

(1) The refrigerator and freezer were dirty, inside and out, especially the freezer, which had hardened ice cream and bugs inside: $20

Well, where else do you expect us to keep our bugs?

(2) The kitchen cabinets had streaks of yellow goo all over the doors: $10

(3) The blinds were dirty and broken: $15

(4) The bathtub was filthy and needed scrubbing: $10

(5) The walls, doors, doorframes, mantle, telephone stand, windowsills, fan blades, etc. had an assortment of bugs, gunk, smudges, and dirt on them: $? (not defined on my list)

Well, see, we had this yellow goo fight the same night that I wanted to find out what miniblinds taste like, and then Maryann had to wash me off in the tub, so I didn’t have a chance to go forage for the bugs that we would normally have stored in the freezer. It was one wild night—is that so unforgivable?

(6) You had left behind junk such as Jesus candles, rubber ducks, a picture of a toilet taped to the toilet, a box of spinach, etc. (trash removal): $25

This, too, has several simple explanations: the Jesus candles were to ward off evil spirits, the rubber ducks were to keep me company when Maryann bathed me, the box of spinach was to feed to freezer bugs, and, well, you don’t want to know what happens if I can’t remember which household fixture is the toilet. I was hoping you’d see those items as the gifts they were intended to be. Apologies for my misunderstanding.

(7) Worst of all, the floors were filthy. There were wads of cat hair everywhere. Our poor cat Owen, who had not had fleas since his initial infestation as a stray, suddenly got fleas again when we moved in because you didn’t clean the floors. We immediately bought flea medicine for him, but we are still struggling to eliminate the infestation after two doses.

Flea medicine: $58.97; floors: $50

The floors… the floors… how could I possibly have left the floors in such a horrible state? Oh! I know! Remember when I let you move in three days early and your stuff was all over the house? I wonder if some cat hair got trapped back behind your furniture, or if mud got tracked in when your friends were helping you move? I mean, ok, so maybe I did shave my cat the night before I left, but I could have sworn I cleaned all that up…

As for the $58.97 flea bill, you’re going to have to talk to Squeak about that one, and she’s notorious for not returning phone calls when she owes someone money.

All this cleaning you left for us to do totals up to $120, remarkably, not even counting the flea medicine you necessitated, and even using the minimum prices on the apartment complex’s Charges list. Counting the flea medicine, the total rises to $178.97.

Now then, $120 is clearly less than $179, which makes our above offer somewhat pointless, since we actually owe you less than you’ve cost us. However, just so we can all get on with our lives, we will call it even if you and Maryann will. Maryann, I really am sorry that you’re having to deal with the consequences of a bad situation that you weren’t responsible for. You were nothing but friendly and reliable with us. Unfortunately, Ethan and I have had to spend so much time and money dealing with the mess left behind that the washer and dryer actually amount to an adequate exchange.

I hope this seems reasonable to the two of you. For now, goodnight, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Once again, I’m so glad you’re willing to be reasonable. Some people might say that the condition of the house was something to bring up with the landlord when you moved in—perhaps when she specifically asked you if you had any complaints—but you and I both know that it’s much more appropriate to bring your list of charges directly to us, the former tenants.

It especially makes sense to consider your complaints about the condition of the house relevant to the sale of the washer and dryer that Maryann and I owned (and let you use for a month and a half free of charge). I’m sure the past two weeks since we heard that the landlord wasn’t interested in buying them and offered them to you were spent laboriously counting bugs, and I sincerely apologize for each and every dry, shriveled corpse you came across.

Clare (and Maryann)


Sadly, the above response was never delivered, since Maryann and I figured it would be better to simply get the bothersome appliances out of their way, just so we can all get on with our lives.

So, I imposed upon the landlord to meet Steven at the house 11am Friday morning, and I imposed upon Steven to impose upon his friend Joel and Joel’s truck so they could haul the w/d to Jono’s house, where we planned to impose upon his carport until we could sell them.

Happily enough, no one had to haul anything anywhere because when the landlord called Julie and Ethan at 10:30am to let them know we were coming by, they suddenly decided that they did want to buy the w/d after all. The landlord informed us of this, and Ethan left a two-minute message on Maryann’s cellphone to the same effect.

So we made the generous, entirely reasonable offer of selling them for $120 in cash, which Steven and Maryann would pick up at noon. And, in the grand tradition of many a shady drug deal, Maryann showed up at noon, Julie handed her an envelope full of cash (which Maryann and Steven counted and checked for traces of anthrax), and everyone narrowly escaped getting shot.

So. In summary:

Cleaning bill, assessed a month and a half late: $178.97

Washer and dryer, in good condition: $120

Being in the right and getting $120 cash: priceless

6 replies on “"I was goin' more for a batsh*t crazy thing."”

i’m confused. were you leasing the house from them? did they make you sign a copy of their old apartment lease in a strange my-house-for-your-apartment thing?

i think you should assess them for the days that you paid for their pad, plus a fee for expedited moving expenses. throw in a ‘you are jackasses’ fee for good measure, and you’re good to go.

I think my favorite line from their letter was “to be as fair as possible…”

That, and the way they turned a normal human interaction, which could have been reasonable and advantageous to all sides, into some weird sociopathic pain-in-the-ass. That takes skill, and an alternate reality to live in. Kudos.

Remember the refrigerator when we moved into the Newfield house? I swear it had evolved an entirely new species of bright orange mold. And the rat droppings that gave poor Amy lasting emotional scars after she cleaned them out of the kitchen cabinets? Ah, memories.

weird. who are these people? if they were going to be so anal, why did they not pay 80 bucks for a professional cleaner and bring that up with you immediately after they moved in? i’m so confused.


i had ALMOST successfully repressed that memory. thanks a lot, leslie. thanks a lot.

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