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2006-12-31 - 10:56 a.m.

...She plucked from my lapel the invisible strand of lint ...

So it's New Year's Eve, and K and I started it out by sleeping as late as possible. I think I was in bed for almost 12 hours - although I did at least spend a few of those hours reading. I can safely announce that we have the happiest cat on the planet. Mizzy was there with us, encouraging us in our sloth, for the whole 12 hours. The cat is TINY, and a complete cover hog. And she has an amazing knack for looking sweet and innocent the whole time that she is hording real estate in the bed. "If I purr and look cute, maybe they won't notice."

I've since gotten up and thrown together the next loaf of bread - this time a sourdough that I started on Friday. Making sourdough is quite a process. The loaf is now rising over the radiator. Yes, I am a bread-making monster, as long as I am on holiday, that is.

K and I have another long list of chores for today - the next on my list is to go for another run, or at least a long walk/run. We have discovered a fantastic little track just down the street, part of an elementary school, I think. It has lovely views of downtown and the mountains. I also like that the neighbours all bring their dogs to play in the center of the track. K was mortified that this was allowed on a school track - who wants to play where dogs have done their business? I guess that he's right, but I like to watch dogs socializing. One woman actually brings her cat as well - "Miss Parker." I've never quite understood calling your pets 'Miss' and 'Mr' - I've sort figured that once you've scooped your cat's shit you deserve to be on a first name basis with them.... but that's beside the point.

Next on our list is shopping, haircut for K, and cleaning. I'm going to encourage to do the shopping and the haircut while I run in circles for an hour. And then we can clean together.

Which brings me to the laundry. I've tried to avoid tirading about our landlords in this diary, but the truth is, they are a bit peculiar. We are paying a rather steep rent to enjoy this location here, but I didn't think that our contract included a tarp-wrapped sundeck, roof holes, freezing cold, a broken toilet, and a crap wash machine.

One of our house guests helped us fix our antique toilet - thank god - because our landlords somehow didn't seem to think that it was an issue that required prompt attention. The house guest fixed it at the end of December - we have lived with it since August, and by October we found ourselves fixing it so often that we just removed the lid and put it in the closet. Plunging our hands into the water to readjust the stopper became a thrice-daily routine. Okay, so this is just an annoyance, and if I owned the house I'd deal, but since I am paying a rather steep rent, I kind of feel like I shouldn't have to do this, and K shouldn't have to ask the landlords five times if they will fix it.

So the toilet was an annoyance; the leaky roof and frozen hallway was something that couldn't be avoided in an old house. The landlords have actually been rather responsive to the latter two problems.

But it's the wash machine which we share with our landlords that irks me most regularly. Our clothing comes out COATED in lint. Because there is no lint filter on the wash machine. Our clothing is simply not fit to be worn in public, it is so coated in fuzz. We've asked about this several times, and they don't seem to be remotely concerned. I think that they are regularly losing lint dolls in the wash machine, because my clothing comes out covered in them. I am astounded that our landlady - she is a rather meticulous person who has painted our baseboards three times since we've been here, and noticed a 'spot' on our carpet the third time she was up here - would put up with a lint problem. Her suggestion was that we put all of our laundry into the dryer, which has a lint filter. But, we don't use dryers - they waste energy, they shrink your clothing, and they tear them apart (actually, so does this wash machine).

So we are stuck, in a house that we've rented WITH a wash machine, taking our clothing OUT to make sure that it can be worn.

In the grand scheme of things I accept that these are kind of small things to worry about. (well, maybe the leaking roof onto our coats in the hallway was a bit much). And, truthfully, I am not certain how to proceed. I see that there is a large roof repair just outside of our bedroom in the future, and it is going to be very unpleasant - especially if the construction in the front hallway last month was any gauge (they tracked dirt all over EVERYTHING).

Does one ask for a rent reduction from landlords who live downstairs? Our landlady gave us a Christmas package of candy and said that this was to "make up for the problems." I thought that one gave Christmas presents out of kindness, and not to make up for things? Anyway, we had prepared a little gift for them as well, but because we wanted to, not because we were trying to make up for anything..I think that her card to us was a little clueless - it even irked K. But in the end we both agree that she probably meant well in her way, and we did enjoy the drinks they shared with us later that evening.

I guess I've always been very lucky with the places I've lived, or perhaps I've just gotten pickier. My landlords in Queens were sweethearts. My absentee landlords in Germany kept the place in tiptop shape. There are also many nice things about this place, and in general we like things. The landlords themselves are rather nice people with a few quirks that make the situation complicated from time to time.

I've tended to interpret my discomfort with these things as a sign that I am ready to own my place, where I can replace the antique toilet and tub if I want, where living with the wash machine will be MY choice, and not a landlord's.

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