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2007-10-19 - 2:56 p.m. politics....

Friday afternoons. They can be glorious when your work day ends at 1:30pm (like today)! This week was a bit more relaxing. I was able to squeeze in another yoga class on Wednesday, and I got to SLEEP for an extra three hours yesterday afternoon. It was heavenly to climb between sheets for an afternoon nap, especially after working long days and weekends. And now today I am enjoying a few moments of sun in the solarium.

I guess the big news of the week is that my startup money seems to have come through. Of course, the woman in charge has not emailed me about it (she is very nice...and very slow - detect a theme). I found out about the money from my contacts in the dean's office. But since I am waiting on the official woman-in-charge, I imagine that it will be another week before the news officially reaches me. (This being Mountain U - paragon of speed and efficiency that it is - no the clock still does not work; no the electricians still have not fixed the deficiency; in fact the electricians do not even KNOW what work they have done. oops blood pressure going up - time to stop this parenthesis NOW.)

Exciting news of the week is that K has decided that he really wants to go to Seattle next weekend. This MIGHT have something to do with the fact that our landlords are holding a huge party downstairs and are expecting us to participate and help. This tends to stress K out - he likes to participate, but doesn't like being EXPECTED to participate... And so there is a good chance that we will be in Seattle next weekend.

Every time our landlady phones these days, K gets stressed out. It's really strange because people rarely stress K out. But this one is an exception. We think the difficulty is that we neither of us can interpret the subtext of her conversations - either from email or personal contact - and we usually come away with the sense that we've offended her or caused a problem. But the strange thing about this is that it is very rare for BOTH of us to get this feeling from someone. And it seems to happen EVERY time we communicate. We don't have this problem with other people, just her. So we've come to the conclusion that there is just something that doesn't click between us.

Part of this has to do with the fact that K and I have a very functional relationship when it comes to tenant/landlord relations. Although we can enjoy personal relationships with our landlords (and certainly had a family-like rapport with our landlords in Queens), we want to keep the business end straightforward and separate from anything personal. We want the leaks fixed, the toilet to work, and the washer not to shred our clothing.

I think these issues develop into problems because she wants us to feel involved in the decision-making process of how these items will be resolved. Neither Klaus nor I feel like this is our place. We want to be kept informed, but we don't really feel like we have a role to play in deciding which wash machine is bought to replace the current machine - we just want it done. So her effort to involve us (K, mostly), winds up making us feel rather uncomfortable.

Gifts are presented to us in the same way following a problem. Following the latest leak, she gave us a lovely care package, including a baby gift, some wines, and some local foods. The gesture was exceedingly nice, but it made both me and K terribly uncomfortable. We didn't want gifts - we wanted the long-standing problem fixed. The same thing happened last year when the roof leaked and the ceiling collapsed. We gave them a Christmas gift. They gave us a Christmas "thank you for being understanding tenants" gift (I am quoting what was written on the card). It kind of had a sting to it for us - because a Christmas gift is a Christmas gift. I don't want a thank-you gift for tolerating a leaky roof and a replastering job that got white globs all over my dress shoes. I want the roof fixed.

I still have not had the time to even acknowledge her lovely baby gift to me, which I know is causing a bit of tension. (She called K today to ask if I had gotten the gift). I am writing a thank you card today - do I need to apologize for not having the time to acknowledge it before now? This is exactly the point. They are nice. And they make me (us) feel slightly uncomfortable and as if we have not performed properly. Gifts shouldn't make us feel uncomfortable asking for necessary repairs or for dollars exchanged in a business transaction.

Anyway, I keep telling K not to worry about it. Stand firm on the business end and try not to over-interpret the strange responses we don't always understand. We've had too many good experiences with people for us to be constantly second-guessing our actions in this case. Things are probably okay - just difficult to interpret.

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