Wednesday has arrived, and my nose has finally stopped acting like a faucet. So far– knock on wood– the skin under my nose isn’t completely destroyed. I’m a bit congested and tired. I slept for most of the afternoon yesterday, and then through the night, with one potty break. I ordered some tissues and ointment from Amazon, even though I live within walking distance of both a pharmacy and a grocery store. I threw in some mini Reese’s Cups to boost my morale, although maybe I should shop for a new Apple Watch. 😉
I am experienced enough with life to know that I should hold off on being too optimistic. Maybe this will turn out to be a brief cold, though. I hope it will. The weather is positively glorious in Germany this time of year. Very soon, it will turn to shit for months on end. I would like to enjoy the last days of summer 2023.
Last night, just to pass the time, I went Googling and soon ended up on LinkedIn. I haven’t used LinkedIn in years, and actually thought I’d deleted my account. But no, I do still exist on that site, albeit with a very naked profile using my maiden name. I went on the site because I was curious about someone I met only once in person, but who, along with his late wife, has had a profound effect on me since we moved to Germany. I don’t think I’ve ever written about him, mainly because I only met him the one time. I wasn’t all that impressed by him on that day in late August 2014. He’s former tenant’s husband, a guy who gave Bill a fake name and basically lied to our faces about how “wonderful” the landlords were.
I found him on LinkedIn last night, and for the first time since 2014, saw his face in a photo. He’s leaving the Army and looking for work. I would imagine retiring is now a necessity, given that he has a couple of kids to raise on his own. The specialized work he did required a lot of dangerous, classified travel to exotic lands. I took a look at his profile and passed it on to Bill, who basically deciphered it for me. Some of the words he was using were code for certain activities in the military… things that civilians wouldn’t necessarily understand at first glance, but Army folks know very well.
I didn’t spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, in spite of my curiosity. Seeing that guy’s profile just made me feel icky. I do wonder, though… I think it’s only natural.
Ever since I found out that former tenant died by her own hand last year, I’ve been left with all kinds of questions. I’m sure a lot of people might think that’s weird, or I’m just being nosy. I guess that’s a fair enough assessment. On the other hand, since she left me with this weird legacy, I figured I’m owed a little wonder. Thanks to her, I went through some pretty significant psychological trauma. Yet, I barely knew her. She knew– or thought she knew— a lot more about me than I did about her.
The only reason I even know about former tenant’s death, or have any questions about her whatsoever, is because for the four years we lived in our ex landlady’s house, she was monitoring my blogs. She had led me to believe she liked my travel blog, but she’d also found her way to my main blog, and she regularly took issue on the rare occasions that I wrote anything about ex landlady or the absolute psychological shitshow our time in that house eventually became. Former tenant would leave me blog comments, then delete them. Later, she unabashedly wrote that ex landlady’s daughter was also reading my blogs, as she chastised me for my content. In her last missive to me, she insinuated that I was “unhinged”. And yet, here I am still among the living, with no young children mourning my absence in their lives.
She shamed me over some fiction I’d written, but not yet had the chance to develop. She thought I was going to “trash” the family… who, frankly, totally would have deserved it. But, for the record, that wasn’t my plan at all. It was a fiction piece— yes, based on people I know, but most of the people who read this blog don’t even know me online, let alone off. And the story itself was a complete and obvious fabrication. Aside from that, she presumed I was writing about the ex landlady’s daughter; a woman I have never met in person, and whose first name I never even knew, until former tenant mentioned it in her final message. Ex landlady had never deigned to introduce me to her daughters. I guess she didn’t want me influencing them. 😉
Just because I’ve written snarky stories in the past, that doesn’t mean I ALWAYS write snarky stories. Moreover, the piece I’d started writing was barely developed. There was no outline to the story. It was maybe a page or two, with no significant plot development. I didn’t even know what the plot was, myself. It also never entered my mind that my actions in late 2018– in my new home– were of any concern whatsoever to a woman I had met one or two times in 2014. If I wasn’t “unhinged” at that point, I sure started to feel that way in February 2019, when it felt like I still had a “bug” in my home.
All the while, former tenant would stress how important her “privacy” was. She used different names for every comment, most of which she later deleted. She apparently assumed a lot about me, and what kind of person I am, simply by reading and judging my blog entries. I think she also wildly underestimated my intelligence, as it soon became obvious.
When former tenant was still living, I didn’t stalk her online. I didn’t so much as look her or her husband up on Google. I tried to be respectful of her privacy, even as she clearly had contempt for mine. I tolerated her complaints and even edited for her at least once or twice. Meanwhile, she must have been assuming I am a complete lunatic. I wouldn’t mind that so much if she’d kept it to just thinking I was crazy. Lots of people who don’t actually know me have thought that about me, over the years. But she was, apparently, sharing her thoughts about me with the landlady, and then later boldly admitting it to me, as she shamed me for having the nerve to be pissed. Somehow, this was all supposed to be my fault.
It all came to a head in February 2019, when I read that final private message from former tenant about how cruel and hurtful I was to her “friends”, and demanding to know what they had done to deserve such “mean” treatment from me. The reality is, they were the ones who were cruel to me. All I ever really wanted was to be left alone. You don’t have to like me, or even respect how I live my life. Just leave me alone. Otherwise, yes… I may be inspired to write about you in an ambiguous way. The difference is, you don’t have to read what I write. It’s a conscious choice– one that is usually brought about by being a nosy busybody with a complete lack of respect for boundaries.
Folks… the reality is, I didn’t actually write that much about ex landlady. I vented a couple of times toward the end of our tenancy, mainly because she was driving me crazy. She kept accusing me of doing things I didn’t do, yelling at me in my own home, and treating me like a five year old. She’d complain about ridiculous things, like a clump of dog hair in a doorway, declaring it “filth”. She’d show up unannounced when I wasn’t prepared to receive her, then look at me with disdain when I wasn’t dressed properly. She was extremely rude to Bill, and when we moved out, she tried to rip off our deposit as she declared us the worst tenants she’d ever had. She refused to negotiate over anything, and then threatened us when we had a lawyer write to her, reminding her of German law. She also falsely accused us of theft. And all of this was happening as we were losing our beloved Zane, one of the beagles who kept me sane when I lived in that house.
Meanwhile, former tenant got a pass, because they were “friends”, even though I know very well that at least some of the stuff ex landlady was complaining about were things that happened when she and her husband lived in the house. Fortunately, I DID have those blogs, which served as a record of events, since ex landlady never did a proper check in or check out between us. I also had photos and a few comments from former tenant that helped us prove our case when we later successfully sued ex landlady. So, we were vindicated in the end, although it still left me fuming at the violation and the gall they all had. It could have so easily gone the other way, with us stuck with the bill for upgrading ex landlady’s rental house and looking guilty.
Bill and I have had a few less than stellar renting experiences, but we have NEVER been treated with the level of disrespect and unfairness as we were when we left our last house. And never before did I have someone affiliated with a landlord or landlady monitoring and reporting on my blogs. Especially not someone who simultaneously demanded privacy for herself.
I’m pretty sure former tenant had people in her family monitoring my blogs, too. I could tell by hits I was getting from certain parts of the country, which stopped when the case was settled. I imagine she told her family and friends that I was some sort of mad blogger, trying to ruin people’s lives. That’s not true at all. I just enjoy writing, and I write about things that affect me. It’s sort of my vocation. She made me out to be some kind of crazy person, when all we were doing is asserting our rights to be treated fairly under German law. I’m sure to those people, Bill and I are just crooks who ripped off a kindly elderly couple in Germany. I guess it doesn’t really matter, since I’ll probably never meet those people, anyway. It still smarts a bit, though… because former tenant accused ME of spreading lies, when the opposite was true.
I tried really hard to block former tenant from my mind, but it was hard. The lawsuit took about 18 months to settle, mainly due to COVID. By then, it was around August 2021, months after we reached an agreement– our lawyer had to send former landlady another letter demanding payment, because after she agreed to settle, she never bothered to pay. Hopefully, the lawyer charged her for that letter, too. Former landlady finally sent the money to the lawyer, who then forwarded it to us. Pure contempt, straight to the end!
Once all that awful stuff was finally over, I tried to put it behind me, even though it was pretty infuriating and left me feeling violated on many levels. For three years, I had former tenant blocked on Facebook, and never so much as did an online search of her name. But then in late May last year, Bill told me something that made me curious. Since former tenant had worked for the same company Bill did, he noticed when she was no longer on the roster of employees. He also didn’t see her working for the government.
I decided to search her name on Google, just to see where she was. That’s when I found several detailed obituaries for her in at least two states, as well as a couple of memorial services on YouTube. She’d committed suicide several months earlier. So much for her privacy. She left behind her husband and two sons, as well as a host of family and friends who obviously loved and missed her, and grieved her decision to end her own life.
Here I am, years later, still ruminating on this. I think it’s because it’s September, and that was the month we moved into that house. I remember thinking from the get go that we may be in for a difficult time, but I was so glad to be back in Germany and settled somewhere. The summer of 2014 had been absolutely terrible for us. So I was just glad to be in a home, even if the former landlady had seemed obsessed with monitoring us and was very untrusting. Never did I ever conceive of being in the situation we found ourselves in a few years later.
As a person who likes to read and write stories, maybe some people can understand why this situation is still in my head. It reminds me of a Lifetime movie. All we wanted was a place to live. We ended up with a situation that I could probably turn into a made for TV movie screenplay, if I was so inclined… and maybe if it was the 90s, and people still watched such things on TV.
Sigh… well, at least it’s Wednesday, which means it’s a light chore day. Maybe I’ll find another diversion. I started reading a new book, which promises to be interesting and fun to review. And there’s always trashy TV. That might cause me less trouble than writing blog posts. 😉
Anyway… as my literature loving husband, Bill, likes to say, “Murder will out…” Or, maybe in this case, “Self-murder will out.”