Monday, April 11, 2011

Landlady Chronicles, Part I

When I was a landlady, years ago, I met an array of different people. I had some good tenants that the neighbors hated, and tenants that the neighbors loved, but were hard to deal with. I could go on and about the lady who bounced her checks almost monthly, or the guy who was married to a young Columbian woman who later had an affair with another neighbor, or I can tell you about the lady that almost was my first tenant.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent..or not so innocent.

Her name was Ophelia. Ophelia was the first person who answered my rental ad. She made an appointment to see my condo one afternoon and she seemed to be a really nice, down to earth person. We were in a hurry to rent the condo, and I was still pretty new to all this landlord stuff. I hadn’t had a clue of really what to look for; and I was just anxious to move out, rent my condo, and move into the home we were planning to buy. Ophelia, I thought seemed to be a really nice lady with good intentions of keeping the condo nice and clean.

Well Ophelia liked my condo so much, she asked to come by the next day and have her “boyfriend” come look at it. Ophelia walked her boyfriend through the condo excitedly. We'll call the boyfriend, Anthony. Anthony seemed to be a nice enough guy. He seemed really interested in some of pictures, and other things around the house that screamed: “I’m PORTUGUESE!” Was it the statue of Maria de Fatima, or was it my little souvenir dolls? I’m not quite sure. Anthony finally asked me if my family was from the Azores, and it wasn't long before we went on to talking, and then learned that his mom was also from the islands. He seemed to be a nice Portuguese guy with good intentions, so I thought.

I pretty much made up by mind by then that Ophelia was going to be a good tenant, and I was ready to call her with the good news, but later that day, there was a knock on the door, and who should be standing there, alone at my door, was Ophelia’s boyfriend, Anthony. I was a little surprised, to see him there.

“Hello Julie, I know this is kind of strange, but I feel the need to tell you something about my girlfriend, Ophelia.”

In short, Anthony went on to explain that his “girlfriend” was a nut case. Lovely. He went on and on to tell me in detail all the reasons why Ophelia would not be a good tenant. Not only was she messy, but she could not pay rent, and he had some documented incidents of her going off the deep end, where the police had been called. One incident involved her throwing a brick at his windshield, and then there was Christmas dinner at his mother's house. Apparently, Ophelia had flung the Christmas ham across his mother's dining room table in a fit of rage.

“Julie, you seem like a very nice person, and I can tell you have a very nice Portuguese family. I would feel badly if I didn’t tell you what a mess Ophelia really is. She will wreck this nice place up."

I was saddened to realize that my search for a tenant was not over like I had hoped, but I was appreciative of Anthony's warning. I went on to explain to Anthony that I was glad he had come by because I was just about to call his girlfriend and offer the place to her.

“Just tell her you ran a credit background check on her, and you won’t have to explain a thing to her.”

Good advice. Duh.. I didn’t even think of running a credit check before offering her the condo. I told you I was all new to all of this.

Well, I thanked Anthony again for his warning. I felt like he did me a great service. I guess he thought he owed me one because both of our moms were from the Azores. My Portuguese souvenirs and the statue of Our Lady pulled through once again. I did still feel very badly when I called Ophelia telling her that the condo was no longer available, but at the same time I thought her boyfriend did me a favor. I didn't want anyone to tear my place apart, nor did I want someone so impulsive and looney toon the way her boyfriend described her. Why they were still together still didn't make sense to me though.

Months went by, and while at work, I ran across Anthony's name. This is not good. I mean, I work for a county agency for Probation, so whenever a name “pops up” for someone, it’s not usually for good reasons. No, Anthony was not as good as he seemed, and then I felt badly for his nice girlfriend. I wondered if they were still together. That was all but years and years ago, but today, his file is back on my desk. Without getting into specifics, let us just say this guy is a criminal who lies so very well. So, now I don’t know if Ophelia was in fact a nut case who threw the Christmas ham across the poor Portuguese mother’s dining room table. It all could have been just another bunch of lies, but WHY he wanted to “protect me” from the “nutso” who he called his “girlfriend” still boggles my mind. May be he just didn't want her to move.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Soul Expressed

This entry is about my son, Andrew. The kid never ceases to amaze me. He started writing poetry when he was 13 or was it 14? I couldn't really tell you when to tell you for sure. It started with him and a few friends meeting after school during his Jr. High days at a friend's house, listening to beats, and playing with rhymes. I had no idea what was going to become of it. At the time I remember, sitting in the car waiting for Andrew to finish practicing beats, usually he was late getting out of his friend's house, and usually, I was quite irritated about it. Nicholas, who was a baby at the time did not like sitting in the car, and usually he was quite fussy in a hot car waiting. Who was I to know it was the start of something special. I had no clue. But, this hobby did not stop there. Soon it turned into all night sessions in his grandma's closet, with a microphone hanging from the ceiling. Who knew my mother's sweaters would provide just the right sound. Studio sessions are now mainly at home in his walk in closet. Who knew, my little, shy, cautious, skinny little boy would write poems, and perform on stage so naturally, from open mike sessions or on his high school stage. Who knew really!?

Years before, a "psychic" told me of what my kids would become in adulthood. She mentioned great things for both of my children. She went on to say my daughter would accomplish many things, and that my son would turn to music and become very successful in that field. I was glad to hear all these predictions, but I wasn't quite ready to take this woman's predictions seriously. I never really saw my son Andrew, who was 5 at the time gravitate to music, or pick up a musical instrument. Sponge Bob Square Pants was his musical favorite, and he loved to recite the songs from that cartoon, but other than that he didn't seem very interested in music. I bought him a toy piano for Christmas anyway. He hardly used the thing.

He won the poetry slam last Thursday night, and the following poem was the one he recited on stage. I wish I could attach the video to this entry, but alas, me, Mom, obviously does not know how to use a camera correctly. I'm hoping one of his friends will share the video so I can one day share. He usually performs with music, but he didn't need it. He expresses himself so well...he amazes me every time. I may sound like any mother who is proud of her son, and yes I am. I say that proudly. This might be the start of something bigger, or not--but I'm his biggest fan of course.

I wanna spit something so great and find a way to escape.

Someone help me out this mess cause I've been twisted by my fate

I speak emotion pronouncing punch lines till my mind is weak from this poetic potion

So make a motion to express

Show devotion cause nothing less will shift my ocean

I'm more than just a kid man I've proved myself up off these battle grounds

Sometimes I break down cause my attitude is different now

Different how?

My will is passionate

Ration this then my life will end, not quit

I spit until my lungs give out like heart attacks I'll clog you out

Rush the ink inside my veins

My pain is simple yet sustained

See advice from the wise keeps my eyes open wide so I can understand this life and find a better way to survive

Feel a thrive to show whats inside I stride to glide across the sky

An out to the universe

But surely you'll break apart an cry

Cause the one you love will scar your heart and die

My soul is petrified beyond the rhyme rhythm and whats left of time

Watching the one you love the most drifting away in the distance becoming possibly a ghost

Literally or figuratively either way it won't make sense

No ones parallel to my prison cell so to you this won't make sense

I'm tense drenched by reality and reflected by fatality

Tears dripped off my cheek writing this its actuality

Something real!

Something true!

Something for just me an you!

Glance upon this fairy tale like the story is ya point of view....(silence)

Then I flew away from all this pain an death

My breath is kept whispering the meaning of life

An that whisper I might never hear

Some fear that its the end for them

But I'm happy in this atmosphere

Even though bliss may not be it

My path will surely balance it

Life attacks the soul strong an its up to you to challenge it....

So challenge it

Diminish the evil inside your heart and grasp the essence of whats pure

Cause no matter what you say or do we probably won't ever find a cure..

Just a way to escape from it all

An me

I've found a way to be free from it all

What I speak right now

What I write there and then

To liberate my soul within

Is Simply Soul Expressin

- Sincerely Soul Expressed Copyright @ US ADMINISTRATION OF COPYRIGHT