You’re Not Doing Your Land Lord Any Favors

I keep seeing funny little slide shows about bad land lords that look for cheap fixes often involving duct tape. The stories are usually accompanied by people complaining about how horrible their land lord is and how it took 2 weeks to fix an air conditioner or that they had to wait 48 hours for a water heater to be replaced.

Most people agree that land lords are all filthy rich and have zero expenses and loads of time on their hands and that they’re just neglecting their poor tenants because they’re horrible people.

Um… allow me to explain something: If you sympathize with those posts, you’re not doing your land lord any favors by living there. I know that’s not a popular sentiment these days, but a lot of renters don’t ever stop to think about what their land lord is really doing for them, besides cashing their rent check each month.

My in-laws are land lords and they’re definitely not rich. Most people don’t realize that a land lord assumes a whole lot of risk for a couple hundred bucks a month. What’s that? Your rent is over $1,000? Guess what buttercup, odds are your land lord spends close to that to house you. How so?

Well, rent goes towards a number of items. Like the mortgage on the building you’re living in — most land lords have some sort of loan on the building and don’t own it outright. That loan payment might include PMI depending on how long they’ve owned the building and how much they put down on it. There’s also property taxes, which never go away. Even if they own the building outright! Then there’s fire insurance, water, trash removal, snow removal… and the list goes on and on. Taxes on properties go up pretty regularly and so does the cost of water or other necessities that your state says must be included in your rent.

There are many, many tenant protection laws, but not many land lord protection laws.

Most tenants have never owned property themselves because they don’t have the funds to put a down payment on something or they don’t have the credit to get a loan. Maybe they just don’t want to be stuck in one place. Who knows, there are lots of reasons why someone would rent instead of own. Unfortunately, if you’re not willing to pony up the cash to purchase a property or if you can’t take out a loan to buy something yourself, someone else has to do it for you. They assume 100% of the risk and grant you the favor of living there in exchange for help paying the bill on the property. If you suddenly stop paying, it’s very difficult (and expensive) to evict you. That’s a risk they take, and hopefully mitigate as best they can by screening potential tenants with a rental application. But there are anti-discrimination laws so even if you just rub them the wrong way they may be forced to rent to you. That’s a whole lot of risk.

On top of that, some tenants don’t take very good care of the property. Some are fantastic and treat it like their own, but a large portion of tenants don’t. They just assume buildings never need maintenance and treat the home like it’s disposable.

Finally, there’s the matter of repairs. If your water heater stops working at your own home, you immediately call a plumber. After hours calls cost more. Weekend calls cost more. Holiday calls cost more and emergency calls cost more. I know that if mine worked I’d try to make due for 24 to 48 hours so I could avoid an emergency fee or a weekend call. If I were a landlord, my tenant would expect it fixed about 5 minutes after it broke, which drives up costs and reduces the landlord’s ability to shop around for the best price. A simple broken water heater can wipe out any profit from rent for multiple months. Add in any other unexpected repairs or a rate hike for water or taxes and the land lord is now paying for you to live there.

Most tenants don’t realize that the average landlord is only making a couple hundred dollars a month on their investment, tops. If they break even or lose money, they no longer have an incentive to keep the property and to rent it to someone who can’t or won’t buy their own property.

So before you go whining about your land lord too much, realize that they’re doing you a much bigger favor by taking on the risk of property ownership and renting it to you than you’re doing them by cutting a rent check each month. Unless you live in a large complex owned by a huge corporation, odds are you’re costing nearly as much to board as you’re paying and if at any point you cost equal to or more than the building expenses, you might find yourself homeless.

Now, do you really want to call about that lightbulb or do you want to just replace it yourself?

Shark NV42 Review: I F***ing Love This Vacuum!

If the title didn’t give it away, this is one heck of a glowing review for the Shark NV42 vacuum.

A few weeks ago my husband manhandled my 9-month old Bissel and broke it. It still picked up dirt, but nothing would stay together. The automatic cord rewind bit the dust, the vacuum head wouldn’t stay up which was not fun for moving it between rooms and the hose would pop off at random, rendering the whole damn thing useless. Oh, and if you let it sit upright while you used the attachment, it made this burning smell because the belt couldn’t handle that.

But enough about my old Bissel, lets talk about the shark and how much I f***ing love this vacuum.

shark

There’s a picture of the metallic monster for you. I’ll tell you, I was hesitant to buy a vacuum that had a bronze/gold sheen, but I’m so glad I did. We snagged a refurbished model for a little savings and to get our feet wet with the Shark brand, but I can already tell you that I’m never going back and would gladly have paid $200 for a new one had I known what I’d been missing all these years.

Lets jump right in to the rating:

5 stars

That’s 5 stars if you hadn’t already guessed. Perfect. Like this vacuum.

The first thing I noticed when I took it out of the box was that it was a little heavier than my Bissel. I want to say this weighs 15 pounds, which is more than some inferior cleaners, but not unmanageable by any means. The head is smaller than my previous vacuum too which I thought I would hate, but secretly love. It’s so much easier to get around chair legs!

The skinnier, taller design is a lot easier on my 6-foot tall husband too, but is still comfortable for my 5-foot tall self. The narrower dirt container holds an impressive amount of debris and because it’s so slim I can fit it right in my trash can before hitting the release for a clean, dust-free emptying. This will be particularly wonderful in the winter when I don’t have to put on shoes and a coat to go empty the vacuum canister.

The vacuum has 2 settings. 1 is for bare floors and 1 is for carpet. We have carpeting and various area rugs in our house as well as hardwood floors. I can personally attest that this vacuum works well on all of them. Just remember to switch the settings as needed because the bare-floor setting makes the roller brush stop and then it’s hard to push on carpet.

The hose is designed with multiple guides to keep it in place and when the vacuum is in the upright position it automatically turns off the roller so you can use the hose without issue. A green light on the head indicates whether the roller is on or off.

Of course all the bells and whistles don’t mean anything if the vacuum doesn’t clean. This mighty contraption has not lost suction yet and did an impressive job of pulling dirt out of the rugs that my old Bissel left behind. My floors look and feel much cleaner now, though it did take a while until I felt like I had gotten EVERYTHING out of the rugs that my old vacuum cleaner left behind.

I highly recommend this Shark vacuum and if you can get a factory refurbished model, don’t hesitate to save yourself some money!

Bite Me Obamacare

When Obamacare was nothing more than a wet dream for Nancy Pelosi, I was preaching to the rest of the country how terrible it would be. Living in Massachusetts, I knew first hand what kind of chaos the government could cause in the healthcare sector.

It’ll be great they said, universal coverage they said. Lower rates. Better care. More affordable medications.

Lies. All lies.

There are a small number of people that Obamacare benefited, but there are more of us that it hurt. We essentially dragged down the middle class to make the poor feel better by comparison. By granting forcing medicaid on a small percentage of the population that qualified for it before, but didn’t sign up for one reason or another, we also managed to screw people with coverage through their employers.

Take my family for example. Before Massachusetts mandated anything and well before the ACA, I paid $32 a month — yes A MONTH — for spectacular insurance for my husband and I. $10 office visit co-pays, free eye exams, free physicals, low prescription drug costs, you could afford the ER and a stay in the hospital wouldn’t need to be paid back in installments. We were young and healthy and enjoyed paying little for insurance we didn’t use.

Then Romneycare happened. Our premiums went up to about $300 a month for my husband and I. Co-pays went up all around and a hospital stay increased slightly, but was still reasonable. We had a baby during this time and a family plan was running us a little over $500 a month.

Then Obamacare happened and all hell broke loose. While Nancy Pelosi was having an orgasm on the house floor as she devil passed Obama’s death bill. Then some genius came up with high-deductible plans and the entire insurance industry came together with congress for a good old fashioned gang rape of the American public.

Post Obamacare our insurance premiums went up yet again and they continue to go up every year. We’re now paying around $1000 a month for a family plan and each year some vital part of coverages goes away. This year, we lost diagnostics. So, when my children get sick I start questioning if it’s something they’ll *probably* recover from or if I should take them in. My daughter has every symptom under the sun of strep throat. She’s had it before, and it goes around school every year. We’re well acquainted with it. Since we no longer have diagnostic coverage, the strep tests is going to cost me $$$. The rapid test almost never comes back positive for her for whatever reason, so it has to be sent away for lab testing. You guessed it — $$$. So right now my daughter has all of the symptoms of strep, but it’s not really bothering her too much so we’re going to wait a few days and see if her immune system takes care of it.  She’s had it enough times that I feel like there’s a possibility that it will and we can avoid the gross medicine she hates.

Sorry kids in her class — hope you all enjoy strep.

But on the bright side, men now  have coverage for birth control pills and the junkies ODing on heroin can get narcan for free. The epi-pen is now $600 and there’s no federal funding to provide epinephrine auto injectors of any brand to schools, but Planned Parenthood is still being funded and we’re still giving billions of dollars to middle eastern countries that hate us and we’re letting Iran develop nuclear weapons for “energy” — yeah, given what great allies they’ve been over the years I don’t believe that either.

Seriously America, our priorities as a society are severely messed up.

Partnering with Pushovers: The Drama Continues

I’m going to throw it out there, my Girl Scouts co-leader is a pushover. She’s the one that all of the other moms go to when they want something changed for their convenience. Namely, the meeting times.

We meet after the typical dinner hour. The reason is because that’s when it works for me. That’s when my husband is home and able to watch the other kids while I take #1 to scouts. I can’t drop her off and I can’t bring the other kids with me (Girl Scouts rule), so that’s how it is. I’m also not going to pay someone $15/hour to watch my other kids while I’m running a troop meeting. I spend enough of my time and money on this endeavor and can’t afford to spend anymore.

The moms that are complaining about when we meet don’t help with anything. They don’t register, they don’t run meetings, they do the bare minimum at cookie booths and generally just use the meetings to socialize with the other moms (we’re enforcing the no staying unless you’re registered rule this year). They complain about everything and instead of coming to me to complain, they go to my co-leader because she’s kind of a pushover. Maybe pushover is the wrong word — she just doesn’t like to make people upset. She’s the ultimate peace keeper, but that generally means letting people walk all over her.

Instead of just saying no and explaining why, she says she’ll approach me, knowing the answer.

This resulted in last-minute time changes for cookie booths, last minute event changes, cancellations of events and so much more!

It is beyond frustrating. And because they approach her on her own and get her to agree to these crazy things and she can’t just say no, the troop is complete chaos. All. The. Damn. Time.

I’m so close to quitting. I wanted to quit last year, but now I really want to quit. We haven’t even had our first meeting yet and the moms are starting their crap. I’m going to tell them at the parent meeting to join another troop that meets 15 minutes earlier and hopefully those extra 15 minutes will be enough to sway them to leave.

So very frustrating.