Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Takin' Care of Business

I spent a while last night in the woods behind my house lopping and hacking. Greg and I had lived 20 years in a medium-sized city and raised our two children there. When our baby boy graduated from high school we fulfilled a dream of moving to the country. It was completely orchestrated by God himself. Greg was offered a job in the middle of the boonies (at a fish hatchery which is what he did, take care of sick fish) and I got a job teaching second grade (which is what I did). We found our dream house on seven spectacular acres replete with native vegetation and a spring fed creek. There were no paths through the dense underbrush but we planned a course and chopped our way through. There were so many exciting surprises, like little waterfalls in the creek and chunks of fossil coral dating back to when Florida was under water.
In the last two years nature has reclaimed what we tried to civilize. The paths have blended back in with the wilderness. There's a certain mocking feeling I sense when I'm in the woods now. Like it's rolling its giant, ancient eyes and thinking, "Here we go again."
I have sweat like I've never sweat before the last couple of weeks. The 'feels-like' temps. have been well over 100. Sheesh! Why am I doing this????? More on that later.
For now I can say that as I was hacking and lopping last night, I was pretending it was Richard. He's the guy who rents the apartment I still own in the city we left. It's a tiny little duplex that Greg and I bought ages ago for extra income. When Greg died, Richard apparently saw an opportunity to quit paying his rent. It's the cheapest place in town and I pay the utilities, so we're not talking a poor guy who got in over his head financially. He is intelligent, healthy and skilled. He just stopped the payments.
Last year I called him and said I had been distracted by grief but now I was "one angry widow". He resumed payments but still owes me 10 months back rent. I went by the place yesterday and asked for June's check which hadn't arrived and he said he didn't have it. I drove away feeling duped, then turned around, knocked on the door again and told him this wasn't okay. I asked him to be out by the end of July. I'm selling the place.
So all of that brings me to this: What in the world has been stopping me from dealing with this issue? I'm an intelligent, capable adult. I'm not afraid of Richard. I know my rights. I have read all about eviction (and most of it doesn't apply because he's month-to-month). I could have kicked him out at any time. I could have threatened court. My friends and family have been hassling me to stop letting this man take advantage. All I can say about it is, it's complicated. It's part procrastination, part anxiety, just not wanting to deal with it.
But now I'm going to. I think that's a very good sign for me. Not so good for Richard, though.

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