Ex

Go away, kid. You bother me.

Some of you may be wondering why I decided to launch this new and improved version of my blog. There are a few reasons why I’m doing this, but the main one is that the waters had become too polluted on Blogger. My blog experienced tremendous growth when we moved to Germany. I went from being somewhat under the radar to somewhat well known, at least in the American community in Stuttgart. People started following my travel blog and would naturally find my original main blog. While most of the local community didn’t follow the main blog, some people took an interest in it. A few of those people aren’t friendly to me.

When you dare to share your thoughts and opinions in writing, you’ll inevitably run into people who don’t like what you have to say. I completely understand that. I’ve dealt with plenty of folks who have expressed their disdain for me and my opinions in the comments section of my original blog. However, most of those people are not directly involved in my life. I don’t know them, and they don’t know me.

For the first few years of my blog’s existence, I didn’t advertise it at all. I used it as a venting platform, and often about my husband’s toxic ex wife. In 2010, when my original blog was created, one of my husband’s daughters was still a minor. Because of that, I kept my writing a lot more circumspect. Once she became an adult, I opened up a lot more. While I was initially worried about being too open, it eventually started to feel more authentic and real. I prefer to be free when I write, even if it means some readers get too close for comfort. And it was really fine… until we moved to the Stuttgart area.

Although I stopped being an “Army wife” in 2014, when Bill retired from the Army, I became much more enmeshed in military life in Stuttgart. Even when we lived on Fort Belvoir in Virginia, an actual Army installation where all of our neighbors were military families, we were not quite so involved in the military lifestyle as we were during our latest Stuttgart stint. That’s mainly due to Facebook. Stuttgart has a whole lot of Facebook groups and, when we first moved back there, I joined a lot of them. People got to know me online. For the most part, that was okay. Some people didn’t like me, but that’s been the story of my whole life. I realize I’m not likable to everyone. No one is.

However, I’ve had one follower in particular who was stalking my blog the whole time we were in Stuttgart. A couple of days ago, she revealed to me what she’s been up to. I wasn’t surprised, really. I had a feeling she was stalking me and sharing my posts with our former landlady. I mostly didn’t care, since the blog was wide open anyway, and nothing I wrote was that outrageous. But things got a little bit weird a couple of days ago. In order to tell this story properly, I have to start with some backstory. Bear with me.

The summer of 2014 was probably one of the worst times of my life. My father died unexpectedly. Bill retired from the Army and was engaged in a frustrating job search. I hated the overpriced house we were living in, our intrusive, disrespectful, and money grubbing property managers, and the fact that there was a seedy element of crime in the neighborhood where we lived. I once found blood spatter on our driveway in Texas, thanks to some idiot trying to break into the lockbox the real estate people had put on our garage door. We spent all of July 2014 dealing with constant real estate showings as we were packing up our house and I was grieving my dad’s death. The following month, I learned that my mother had breast cancer. It was all driving me crazy. So, you can see, I was eager to settle somewhere safe, whether it was in the United States or Germany.

I was delighted that Bill was offered a job in Germany, although I dreaded the moving process. Moving internationally as a civilian is exhausting and scary. When you’re coming to Europe with the military, you get a lot of assistance. In 2014, we were no longer with the Army, so we were on our own for a lot of things. Also, when you’re new to Europe, whether or not you’re with the Army, you have to deal with a lot of red tape that eats up time and energy. We were in a small temporary apartment and needed to quickly find a place to live.

Every day, I scoured Bookoo for housing that would suit our needs. We needed a place that would be affordable for what Bill was making in 2014– considerably less than what he makes now. It needed to be pet friendly and able to accommodate our American furniture. I also preferred a country area. We did not get any assistance from the housing office in Stuttgart, as we did the first time we lived there, because Bill was a contractor rather than in the military or a government service employee. Consequently, we were entirely on our own to find housing. I remembered how competitive finding housing was the first time we lived there and worried we’d be stuck in a hotel or temporary apartment for many weeks. (Wiesbaden, by contrast, does give contractors housing assistance. The services contractors can access are determined by the Garrison Commander. But we didn’t use the housing office this time, either.)

We had an appointment to look at a house in Ehningen before we found the house we ultimately took. When we arrived to look at the place, the landlord told us that the couple who had seen it before us had already claimed it. They gave us a box of chocolates for our trouble, a gesture I found very charming. Although I don’t think I would have liked that house anyway, the landlord would have done better to take us. It turned out the guy who took it was one of Bill’s co-workers. He left just a couple of years later. We stayed in the Stuttgart area for four years and could have stayed longer, even though all of the jobs in Bill’s office were converted to government service positions. Bill was wanted in several other Stuttgart based military agencies and probably could have taken his pick of positions.

With the Ehningen house out of contention, we were back to the drawing board. I saw an ad for what appeared to be an attractive looking duplex in Jettingen. I was not familiar with Jettingen; we had lived in a different area during our first time in Germany. I didn’t want to live in a duplex because I don’t like sharing walls with other people. But Germany is full of duplexes and apartments, and we needed a place quickly. So we went to Jettingen and met the people who would become our landlords, as well as the tenants who came before us.

The young couple who had been living in the house had set up the ad on Bookoo, explaining that they needed to move closer to their places of work because they had a new baby. I remember very clearly that the male half of the couple, who had used a fake name in his ad, asked Bill if we were planning to show up. He hadn’t wanted to call the landlords out to the house if we weren’t coming. I understood that, since when we lived in Stuttgart the first time, I was having to deal with prospective follow on tenants who sometimes stood me up. It’s very aggravating when people do that, especially on a precious Saturday.

Bill assured the guy that we’d be there. We showed up at the house and, to be honest, my first impressions of it were not that great. It was weirdly laid out, had a tiny kitchen, a dorm sized refrigerator, oil tanks in the basement, and a split bathroom on the first floor. The house was designed to be two apartments, so it was not really “homey”. It had old carpeting in some of the upstairs rooms, old linoleum, and vinyl tiling, and doors with old 60s era textured glass in them. The set up was odd, inconvenient, and old fashioned, and not in a charming way.

Still, the price was right, and the landlords seemed nice enough. I remember them telling us that they had other people who had looked at the house. Maybe they did, or maybe they figured that implying the house could be snatched up would make us more eager to take it. The views at the house were beautiful and I liked the idea of being able to walk my dogs in the nearby nature park, but I wasn’t that excited about living in that house. We accepted it anyway, because we needed a place to live. In retrospect, we should have taken more time.

On September 1, 2014, we moved into the house. The landlords were there. So was the former tenant. She had a bunch of her stuff still in the house and, as I recall, some of her trash was in the bins. I remember she had a grill she was getting rid of, and she sold us several items, including a microwave, a “spider” for hanging clothes (it was hopelessly tangled, but we took it anyway and never used it), an IKEA chest of drawers and under sink cabinet in the bathroom, and Internet extenders, since the house didn’t get the best Internet service. I was a bit annoyed that she was there when we moved in, but it was plain to see that she and the landlords were buddies. I had no quarrel with that, even though I see landlords and tenants as engaged in a business relationship. After the former tenant hauled her grill to the side of the road to be picked up by the garbage trucks, she waved goodbye to us, got into her SUV with her baby and dachshund, and that was that.

From the beginning, these landlords were more intrusive than any I’d ever had before. For the first couple of weeks of our tenancy, they visited us at least once a day. I got the sense that the landlady was concerned that we were going to trash her house. She offered “helpful” tips to me and comments about how I should behave in a German neighborhood. I was irritated about that, since at the time, I was a 42 year old woman and it wasn’t my first time renting, or living in Germany, for that matter. But she seemed to want to help and was genuinely pleasant, at least at first. I tried to be understanding, even though her frequent unannounced visits were inconvenient and, I thought, kind of rude. I figured maybe it was a cultural difference and tried to overlook it. I didn’t realize that this was a sign of things to come.

One night in December 2014, the landlords came over to wish us a Merry Christmas and bring us wine. I appreciated that, although we hadn’t known they were coming. When they rang the doorbell, our dog Zane got out. Bill was focused on corralling him, rather than entertaining the landlords. In 2014, Zane was younger and friskier and was a real pain in the butt about escaping. It was dark outside and I wasn’t dressed because we weren’t expecting visitors, so I wasn’t exactly in a position to help, either. I had to throw on some clothes to secure Arran and help Bill get Zane. The landlords were left standing there, probably feeling awkward.

Then, one morning after that visit, I had stripped the sheets off of our bed, intending to wash them. I went to the basement and discovered the washing machine was backed up with grey water from the shower. I hadn’t known what had caused the backup. We called the landlords, who called a plumber. They cleared out the clog, which turned out to be toilet paper and shit. We were perplexed about what had caused the backup, but clearly we had used the toilet the way it was supposed to be used. I wasn’t dropping maxi pads or cell phones in it. So we just figured it was a fluke and kept using the toilet the way we always had.

For three months, all was well with the toilet, but then it backed up again. I was a bit upset about that development. The plumber came out again and broke up the clog. Again, it was toilet paper and shit. I had never had a problem with that particular brand of toilet paper clogging the toilet. We used it when we were in Germany the first time without any issues at all. We wondered if maybe something else was in the plumbing, causing these clogs. I was treated to a stern lecture, as well as comments about how they’d never had any problems with the toilet before. Although I hadn’t accused her of anything, the landlady invited me to call her former tenants for proof that the problem was entirely mine. I couldn’t help but wonder if any of the other American families had been yelled at like I was being yelled at… and if they minded it as much as I did. I would expect to be yelled at for trying to flush anything other than toilet paper, but I swear, the only thing I put in the toilet, besides waste, was toilet paper.

The third time the toilet clogged, Bill paid the plumbing bill without being asked. The landlords then proceeded to give me a lesson on how to flush the toilet. They explained that the toilet in the bathroom was some kind of weird water saver kind. In order to get it to flush properly, I had to hold the lever down until the tank was completely empty. We changed toilet paper brands and that ended the issues with clogs, although I still often had to flush the toilet more than once to get everything to go down. I wondered how it was that this toilet actually saved any water, but was glad the clogging issues were finally sorted out.

Things went okay for awhile after that. The landlady was in charge of doing the yardwork, which initially suited me fine. She did a good job and it was to her standards. We paid her to do this work and, at first, she came faithfully and was friendly about it. I now suspect she does the yardwork, not because she enjoys it, but more because she wants to keep tabs on her tenants. As our time in that house progressed, she was much less faithful about keeping up the yard, even though we paid her to do it.

The landlady decided she wanted to replace some of the fencing in the backyard. The existing fence was never all that functional. I couldn’t let the dogs out there because they could easily jump over it. The wood was rotting, too. So the landlords’ solution was to buy a chain link fence, which they put just on the edge of the yard. It wasn’t even connected to the old fencing. The gate locked, but it wasn’t really a secure enclosure, since there was a gaping hole at the corner. I wasn’t sure what the purpose of the fence was, other than to match everyone else in the neighborhood, who also had them. I still had to take the dogs out on leashes every time they went out to pee.

The landlady hired a handy man to install the new fencing. He got upset because he stepped in a pile of dog crap that was in the yard. Generally, I was really careful about cleaning up the dog piles, but the lawn had grown higher than usual and I hadn’t seen the pile the guy stepped in. It was obscured by tall grass. Remember, it was the landlady’s duty to cut the grass, and while I usually was in charge of taking the dogs outside, sometimes Bill did it in the middle of the night. There was no lighting in the backyard, so he couldn’t see that the dogs had gone and, I guess, forgot to look for it in the morning. So there I was, being chastised by the landlady again. I apologized and cleaned up the mess, resolving to be more vigilant in the future. To my knowledge, no one else ever stepped in shit in the backyard, but I’m sure she never forgot about it. It became one more reason for her to treat me badly.

I could tell the landlords didn’t care much for my dogs, so I did my best to keep them out of the way whenever they came over. The one thing the split apartment style was good for was allowing me to shut the dogs in the bottom half. That made it a lot easier to deal with delivery people, the mail carriers, salespeople, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Still, it irked me that the landlords were basically tolerating us, while apparently thinking we owed them gratitude for “letting” us live in their house. It was as if they expected us to act like grateful guests rather than paying tenants.

Again– we thought of our relationship strictly as a business arrangement, while I got the sense that the landlady thought of it as something that should have been more personal. Bill was always friendly and nice, and he made a point of paying the rent early every month. Whenever we had any bills, like when our trash got picked up an extra time and we got charged, he was very prompt about paying. He has many emails from the landlady, thanking him for being so quick to pay her. My husband is a very cordial, nice guy, and I know that whenever he dealt with the landlords, he was respectful and businesslike.

I also mostly tried to be nice, especially at first, although I will admit I wasn’t always super friendly. During the early part of our tenancy, I remember having chats with the landlady. One time, I told her that I was Bill’s second wife and that he had two daughters who were extremely estranged from him. The landlady’s first question to me was whether or not I had caused his divorce. I thought that was an odd question. Even if I had caused the divorce– and I hadn’t– was she actually expecting me to admit to that? In retrospect, I never should have mentioned it. It wasn’t her business. I just figured she wondered why we didn’t have children, since I could tell she really liked babies when I saw her with the previous tenant’s. After I told her that I was Bill’s second wife, I started to get the feeling that she liked me less and didn’t trust me.

As the years passed, I was really enjoying Jettingen. We had a nice neighborhood and the people who lived near us were pretty friendly as Swabians go. In 2017, we were even invited to a neighborhood barbecue, which was a lot of fun. The nature park was a great asset, as were the beautiful views from the new windows the landlords had installed when we first moved in. I have no complaints about Jettingen itself. It’s at a great location near the Black Forest, which made taking day trips on the weekend a breeze. Bill and I eventually took advantage of that closeness and explored the towns, all of which I chronicled in my travel blog. However, as we came to like Jettingen more, our relationship with the landlords was continuing to break down. It really broke down with a thud one day in August 2017.

The summers of 2015 and 2017 were very hot. I remember when we first moved into the house, the landlords showed us the awning that was attached to the back of the house. I had never lived in house with an awning before. They explained that it was a way of keeping the sun out of the living room. The only instructions the landlords gave us was to roll it up when it rained, which I was always careful to do. I understood that if the awning got wet and was rolled up, it would get moldy. Never once did they tell me I had to sit under it when it was unrolled. I noticed that our next door neighbor also had an awning and often left it unrolled on hot days, but she didn’t sit outside under it. She may have been in her downstairs area. I don’t know, since I don’t surveil what other people are doing in their homes. It was my habit to sit upstairs, since that was where my computer was.

During the summer of 2017, the awning started to lean to one side. I told the landlady about it, and rather than hiring a technician, she sent her husband to fix it. I had noticed her husband was very handy, so I figured he knew what he was doing. And I also understood and respected that money was an object to the landlords. We didn’t use the awning until after it was “fixed”. Indeed, when I rolled it out a few times after the “repair”, it did appear to be fixed. The landlady acknowledged that it was an old awning and she didn’t know how long the repair would last. She didn’t tell us not to use it, though.

On August 30, 2017, it was brutally hot outside. I unrolled the awning and went into the house. It wasn’t a stormy day. The sun was out, and beating down on the fields behind the house. But then, the wind suddenly picked up before I had a chance to roll up the awning, which had to be hand cranked. It collapsed with a heavy crash.

When Bill told the landlady about the awning, she immediately accused me of negligence. She claimed I had used the awning during a storm. She asked about personal liability insurance, which we did have. We filed a claim, but because the awning was so old, the landlords got a very low settlement. A repairman had determined the awning couldn’t be saved, so the landlady proceeded to yell at me again, this time in the living room. She treated me as if I was a child, which enraged me. I ended up locking her out of the house and stormed out the room. When I later came back down to let them in again, the landlords’ demeanor was very different. It was awkward, and they were much friendlier for the rest of that visit. But after that, we never really had another face to face conversation again. They went out of their way to avoid me, which suited me fine.

The whole time this was going on, the landlady was emailing Bill, nagging him about the money. She was also harassing our insurance agent, who was sending me Facebook messages telling me about her complaints over the settlement. It was a very unpleasant situation and it was clear that she expected us to pay for a brand new awning, even though it was an old piece of equipment that she had not had serviced by a legitimate repairperson. Moreover, it seemed to be lost on her that the awning could have hit me or someone else when it fell. Someone could have been badly hurt or even killed. But she was more concerned about the 2800 euros she claimed it would cost to replace it.

At the same time, we were having problems with one of the electric rolladens in the living room. For some reason, it wouldn’t come down. The landlady blamed me for that, too. She said I didn’t use the rolladens enough. Later, a technician discovered that the rolladen had not been properly installed in the first place. The landlady never apologized to me for accusing me of being irresponsible and negligent. Instead, her attitude got even worse.

In September 2017, we left town to go on a cruise. While we were gone, the landlady said she planned to replace part of the driveway. When we got back from our two week trip, I was really sick with a bad cold, and our driveway was still torn up. The work was not completed while we were away, as she had said it would be. Consequently, I had to tolerate the sound of heavy machinery while I was in bed, sick. During that same time period, I opened the door to get the mail and was confronted by the sight of the landlords standing on the driveway. I wasn’t dressed, because I’d been in bed and wasn’t expecting company. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy. A couple of days later, they came over again, unannounced, and cleaned out the gutters. It was noisy work being done right outside the bedroom window while I was still sick and trying to sleep. I was seething, since they never so much as called or emailed to let us know they were coming. When Bill asked them to give us some notice, the landlady responded in a very hostile way, claiming she was “too busy” to send us an email giving us an hour’s notice.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, the landlady’s former tenant was reading my blogs and apparently sharing them with the landlady and her daughter. Occasionally, she’d leave me “friendly” comments. I thought it was odd that she was following me, although in retrospect, I guess it makes sense. I remember her one complaint about the neighborhood was that some people were nosy. To that, I’d now say “pot, meet kettle.”

I understand that my blogs were public. I tried to be fair most of the time, although I will admit that I was annoyed about the way Bill and I were being treated by these people we were paying. I don’t deny that some of my posts about this situation were angry, because I was legitimately angry. I didn’t realize that expressing anger was a crime, but apparently the former tenant didn’t think I had the right.

When it became clear we were going to be moving to Wiesbaden, Bill was careful to give the landlady a letter indicating that we were moving. He even translated it into German and handed it to her personally. We gave them three months’ notice, which is standard in Germany. We paid for the last month, even though we weren’t living in the house during that last month because Bill’s company wanted him to move immediately.

Meanwhile, I wrote a post that was mainly fueled by my anxiety about having to move and what we would be dealing with as we prepared to go. I was still remembering what we went through in Texas our last month there. I was dreading the constant intrusions by new tenants and disruptions caused by having to show the house. I’d had to show our former German landlord’s house when we lived here the first time, so I figured that would be expected of me this time. To our landlady’s credit, she did not ask me to give any tours to prospective tenants. For that, I’m truly grateful. However, since the previous tenants had given us a tour, I wondered if that would be expected of me. I didn’t want the duty, especially since by that time, I just wanted to get away from the landlady and her particular brand of toxicity.

The former tenant read that post and left me a comment because she was upset that I speculated that perhaps we weren’t the only tenants who had found the landlady’s intrusiveness annoying. Of course, when I wrote that bit, I wasn’t just thinking of the tenants before us. I was thinking of the other three American families who had lived there besides us. Ex landlady claimed that five American families had lived in that house. I figured we couldn’t be the only ones who found her irritating.

The landlady had implied that she’d had perfect relationships with all of them, and, while I suppose that’s possible, I think it’s highly improbable. I was remembering the landlady’s repeated insistence that she’d “never had any problems before”, and realizing that now, she could no longer legitimately make that claim. And, to be honest, I had gotten a bit carried away blowing off steam. The stress of living there and dealing with the constant passive aggressiveness and hostility was really getting to me. It was like living in a pressure cooker. I felt unwelcome in my own home.

Initially, I was only slightly annoyed by the former tenant’s comment. She left reasoned responses that indicated that she sort of understood my perspective. I could understand why she was upset that I had implied that she was a part of my personal situation. But then she came back and deleted her comments, which gave me a big clue that she was sharing my posts with the landlady and stoking the drama. It was very shady behavior that made me realize she was up to no good.

So… all of this leads up to today, as I write my second post on this blog. A few days ago, Bill got an email from our former landlady. He had sent her a note letting her know that the last of our utility bills had been paid. So now he was wanting to close out our relationship in Jettingen. After a very tense and passive aggressive check out in late November, I was pretty certain that the landlady was going to charge us for things in the rental.

We had still worked hard to clean it up the best we could. I started in October, descaling the taps, cleaning around the windows, cleaning the window sills and carpet stains, and making sure to fill in the holes made by the art I hung on the walls. The house is old and almost everything in it is old. There are stains on the carpet and, indeed when we moved in, it reeked of cat piss. I mentioned it in an early blog post and the former tenant even agreed. She left that comment, rather than deleting it, so I can verify that the carpet was not cleaned for us before we moved in. In fact, it really should be replaced. But the landlady still billed us 200 euros to clean the carpets.

She billed us for a lot of other things, too. Four hundred euros for the old hood over the stove, which functioned, but was crooked for some reason. I never actually used the hood myself, so I don’t know when it became crooked. I can’t imagine that mild-mannered Bill yanked it so it became crooked, either. I suspect it’s been in that condition for years. One hundred euros to replace the handle on the old dishwasher, which somehow became askew in its many years of use. I can’t explain how that happened, either, and I highly doubt it costs 100 euros to replace the handle. We priced brand new stove hoods and found only one that costs 400 euros. It was a really fancy one that I KNOW the landlady would never put in a rental unit. A new dishwasher probably wouldn’t cost that much more than the “handle replacement” does, either.

She also charged us for both of the plumber visits from 2015 and to siphon the WC and bathroom. Those charges added up to over 1000 euros. I don’t even know why the bath was siphoned, and if she had wanted us to pay for the other plumbing visits, why didn’t she ask us in 2015? According to our lawyer, those charges were illegal because they were outside of the statute of limitations of three years.

We got charged 90 euros for a scratch on the radiator (I have no idea) and another 90 for scratches on the door, which our dogs did not do. There were scratches on a downstairs door that were there when we moved in, and they were a bit low to have been done by our dogs. The landlady wrote that the scratches were on an upstairs door. We never left our dogs upstairs with the door closed. They always stayed downstairs when we were out.

There were more charges. Even though we busted our asses cleaning, she charged us for another 17 hours of work, as well as for scrubbing the trash bins, which we had paid to use. Remember, our lease was still in effect in December, even though we vacated in November. We paid for “Nebenkosten” during that time, which included trash. I suppose we could have come down from Wiesbaden to clean the bins after the trash was dumped, but even if we’d done that, we had no way to access water outside the house. The landlords never turned it on last year and they also took the garden hose. I imagine if I had scrubbed the bins in the backyard, the landlady would have been angry about that, too.

We were charged another 200 euros to remove the awning, which seemed especially bogus to us, since the landlady was paid a settlement for that incident. She just wasn’t happy with what she was given by the insurance company. It all added up to about 2500 euros of our 3200 euro deposit. I notice that added to the 300 euros she got from the insurance company for the awning, she got 2800 euros out of us for her replacement awning.

Supposedly, we “dumped” this fridge on ex landlady. See how it’s plugged into the wall? She claims it was an American fridge. Obviously, it’s not. And no, we didn’t buy it. We’re Americans. We like our fridges big.

She also falsely accused us of stealing a refrigerator. On the day we moved into her house, there was a really crappy old dorm sized fridge in the kitchen. I’d seen them for sale at the local Real. I had to buy a new refrigerator for us, because the one in the kitchen barely worked. Well… when we moved out, ex landlady accused us of “dumping” that fridge on her. She claimed it was an American refrigerator, yet it was plugged directly into the wall. Guess she doesn’t know that we have different voltages and plugs in the United States. She accused us of stealing her “nice” fridge. I don’t know what “nice” fridge she was referring to, since the people before us had a government issued fridge. The one we took is the one I bought. And if she didn’t know that crappy dorm fridge was in her house, how in the hell can she speak about things like scratches on the doors and floors, and stains on the carpet? She didn’t even do a check in protocol with us!

Now it’s my turn to say, “we’ve never had a problem like this before.” In almost 17 years of renting homes together, Bill and I have NEVER not gotten all of our security deposit back, not even when we were renting from the biggest slumlords in San Antonio. We have never had landlords call us irresponsible or negligent. We have never had landlords treat us like children who need to be scolded, nor have they ever shown up whenever they wanted to without calling or emailing us first. I can’t imagine that if we had ever had a problem with landlords dropping in unexpectedly, they would have responded with extreme hostility when we asked them to stop. All of our previous landlords have been more professional than that. Both Bill and I left that place totally neurotic. It took us weeks to stop fretting over cleaning our new house, thanks to our ex landlady’s cleaning obsession.

The lease the landlords presented to us was the same most American military people sign. It may have even had a military clause. That lease basically says that the tenants are to “broom sweep” and clean the kitchen and bathrooms. When we moved out, we were much more thorough than that. Still, she charged us for 17 hours of “cleaning”. Bill spoke to a housing office employee up here in Wiesbaden and she commented that the cleaning might have been for the windows, which they would not be allowed to charge us for. Indeed, the former landlady often mentioned that she’d like to have the windows cleaned. I bet she used that money to clean the top of the carport, too. She had mentioned she hoped we would find a cleaning company that would clean it before we moved out, though she said she would pay for it.

Naturally, I was angry when I heard about the excessive charges, even though we don’t need the money and don’t miss it. It’s the principle of it. Most of the charges she’s claiming are completely bogus. They are very likely illegal and, I suspect, she’s only charged us to be vindictive, and because she knows Bill is a nice guy and assumes we don’t know our rights. She’s wrong about that.

I was also very angry that the former tenant, whom I had blocked on Facebook just the night before, had the nerve to send me yet another chastising comment trying to censor me. I don’t know why she feels the need to meddle in my business or what kind of relationship she and our former landlady share. I wasn’t stalking her or the landlady, nor am I some kind of psycho who is obsessed. She “begged” me to leave them alone, implying that I’m “crazy”, probably because I had posted about how if you search for “bitchy landlady”, you get a lot of porn results. I thought it was funny and posted it on my blog, but apparently that amounts to “harassment” of our ex landlady when I was simply expressing myself on my space. I have never mentioned anyone’s name or posted any pictures of anyone involved in this situation, other than Bill and me. And yet, I was accused of posting hate speech– particularly about ex landlady’s daughter, someone I’ve never even met!

So… my response was to make my blog private. And thanks to the former tenant telling me the landlady’s daughter’s name, I was able to block her, too. Maybe I get carried away sometimes, but at least I’m honest about who I am and I don’t hide behind fake names, delete my comments, or lie about my agenda.

I really don’t think my feelings about this are out of line. I think anyone, presented with a list of bullshit charges for over 2500 euros after they had tried to be good, above board tenants, would be angry about being treated the way we were. We spent four years in that house and tolerated a lot of passive aggressive, hostile, intrusive behavior from people we were paying a lot of money to every month. We were thanked by being blatantly ripped off. And yet, not only am I not supposed to be pissed off about being hosed out of our Kaution, but apparently I’m not even allowed to express myself on my blog without the meddlesome former tenant coming along to give me grief. That feels an awful lot like abuse and, if you want to talk about being “obsessive” or harassing people, take a good look in the mirror. Abusers often tell their victims that they need to be quiet and tolerate the abuse. Well, I’m not going to be quiet about this. These people are messing with the wrong person.

Edited to add… Here are a couple of photos of the collapsed awning. They were taken on August 30, 2017, immediately after the awning fell. I see no evidence of storm or rain conditions, do you? And… I also see that the lawn needs to be mowed. Maybe we should demand a refund from the landlady for that.

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12 thoughts on “Go away, kid. You bother me.

  1. Good lord! Having been a renter and a landlord for a couple of duplexes I can tell you this much. Your land lady is a total penny pincher. There is such a thing as normal wear and tear and it is usually part of doing business. Your landlady is also totally nuts and extremely intrusive and you should have left Bitchy Landlady Porn Links in place and inserted a picture of her, but that might be crossing a legal line. The former tenant and the kid just add a few more layers to the annoyance. Too bad there isn’t a good way to put a warning out to future tenants. I hope you find a more normal living situation for you next gig.

    • Hi jono. Actually, there is a way we can warn people. As I mentioned in my post, Stuttgart in particular has many Facebook groups. I left most of them, but Bill is still in the biggest one. He has already posted a vague warning about the Jettingen house on Bookoo with an invitation to PM him if anyone is looking at it wanting details. And there is also a blacklist that they can be put on, although that’s a lengthy process that involves the Garrison Commander. We may not take it that far.

      Bill has already sent an email to the ex landlady requesting receipts/proof of the damages. We are entitled to that by German law.

  2. Well, that’s shitty. I’m sorry y’all are having to deal with that. Good luck with getting most of the deposit back. It’s a shame she is so cheap about normal wear and tear and things that were clearly her fault. And boo to the flying monkey!

    • LOL… that is EXACTLY what she is, isn’t it? I had a visceral reaction to her message. It made me want to vomit.

      I really don’t know her at all, although she and her husband seemed very concerned about their privacy, but she has no problem invading mine. I thought about responding to her, but it just pissed me off so much that she left me this snarky message about “invading my creative space” and then shaming me about the landlady’s daughter. I swear to God almighty, I have never met any of the daughters. And even if I had, I can’t have people dictating to me what kinds of characters I create. It just really irked the hell out of me.

      Anyway… Bill spoke to a housing official at the office where we are now and she said that if that had happened in Wiesbaden, she would already be on the phone with her. So Bill has already demanded receipts. She may provide them without a fight, but my guess is that she’ll either go silent or get really shitty.

  3. Lucinda Pierce says:

    That totally sucks. I remember when the awning came down , you could posted about it right away. There wasn’t a storm!

    2500€ is freaking ridiculous. That’s the single highest deposit payment I’ve heard of in Germany! Seriously! Are you guys in the mietvet (I can’t remember the rest of the word, but the tenants rights’ association?) Maybe they could help?

    • Yes, we are in the Mieterverein. We also have legal insurance. I have been pushing Bill to use it, but he is nicer than I am. Yesterday, he spoke to Wiesbaden housing and they said that if that had happened here, ex landlady would be getting her ass fried by Germans.

  4. You are totally correct and right about everything. The stalker and ex-landlady are total psycho bitches that really need to get a life! My landlord is somewhat annoying but he would never reduce himself to being that intrusive. Is there a way to leave a review about the rental property so that other prospective renters are warned in advance? I think it’s only fair…

    • We can speak to the housing office and Garrison Commander in Stuttgart. They can be blacklisted for the American military community. I don’t know if it will come to that, but it’s certainly possible.

  5. Stella says:

    Good grief- german landlords is one of the few things I do not miss about Germany. We had pretty much the exact opposite experience with the last place we rented- nothing ever got fixed by our landlord and we ended up not having a dishwasher for 6 years and fixing everything else ourselves. We preferred it that way. The less contact you have to have with your landlords the better. But I feel for you and the craziness you had to go through. Even my having grown up with my more than fair share of german passive aggressiveness (we are clearly the masters of that) would not have kept me from blowing a gasket on her a good long while ago. You are nothing short of a saint, a funny one on top of that.
    Don’t let a few overly sensitive crazies get you down, just keep writing your feelings and if they don’t like it they can go hug a cactus!!!

    • Our new landlords live next door to us, but we don’t see them and they don’t bother us. And they have told us they want us to be happy. It’s truly a breath of fresh air.

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