My dog Erica was so sweet and mischievous. She came from the Humane Shelter as a puppy and grew to 45 lbs. with the look of a short part-german shepherd. She ate bees, the big black ones, with one swallow. After some no, no, nos from me to no avail, I gave up and said to each her own. I took this photo of Erica and me on my roof of the triplex I bought where I lived in one apartment and rented two.
This was the point in my life I realized God, being the Master Architect, had a sense of humor. Yes, it was with a blink of insanity that I purchased this place with needed repairs and no extra money. Who knew a month after closing, property taxes would increase? So as life would have it, with the wave of my hand, my life went from floundering after a divorce to a time filled to the brink with new and different.
I was getting my masters, fortunate to have an assistantship and teach a studio class, waiting tables until 2:00 a.m., experiencing 2 tenants, roof leaks, bad windows, inadequate heat, repair men, and raccoons in the attic (the mom had an albino baby before we got them out and relocated the family).
Erica loved to stay on the roof, having easy access with the stairs to the upstairs apartment. She’d enjoy her days barking at the mailman and passers-by….most neighbors were amused though the mailman watched her with squinty eyes. My tenants created a busy atmosphere with some friendships developing, alot of laughs and a degree of angst.
A woman upstairs I rented to — She was in her 20’s, with a harsh side, and not the chatty type. Since I was coming and going alot, I didn’t notice she was popular with the men until my neighbor Elizabeth pointed out there was speculation on our street. Elizabeth and John, next door, had the ‘best house on the block’ with a swimming pool I enjoyed using and a beautiful backyard with hummingbirds. Elizabeth was also the neighborhood watcher.
Even though I didn’t consider my tenant’s popularity a problem, thoughts began to stir my imagination when I noticed men and more men coming and going. From my kitchen window as I washed dishes. And from my bedroom window, and living room windows. I decided there must be extenuating circumstances and rationalized the men away, finding comfort in my denial.
One afternoon Elizabeth and I were sitting on my front porch and two guys came walking down the street towards my home. They asked if we knew a woman, describing my upstairs tenant, not knowing her name but friends of friends had suggested they stop by….to visit with her.
I’m faced with the reality, no longer being able to avoid the fact…… that there are some kind of shenanigans going on upstairs. I send them packing, saying we don’t know her and turn to see Elizabeth’s anger, a force to be reckoned with. Here I am, the non-confrontational type (sissy) and I have to confront my intimidating upstairs ho tenant. I had rented to a woman turning tricks and needed to clean up the mess. You’d think I would have developed some backbone after a divorce but I was finding backbone takes a while to firm up. I procrastinated a week or so and then faced my fear and went to visit, hoping she wasn’t entertaining…….
She invited me in and I explained the neighborhood believed she was either a prostitute or a nymph, no body’s happy, and I’m taking the heat. Anticipating a fight, I was pleasantly surprised that she was fine with moving, having already decided to end her men-for-money job. After pouring us some wine, she entertained me with stories of her work days. I was both repulsed and fascinated and never laughed so hard.
I had to ask…..why sell yourself? She said she’d been raped and wanted to make men pay. But now her anger was gone, she was getting sick of most men and wanted a real boyfriend.
When she moved out, there were no hard feelings and some kind of friendship had developed between us. She was my most colorful tenant, but only one of many unique experiences during my triplex period.
By, Barbara Jetton.