Bugs, Thugs, and Hugs

Y’all, this has been one stress­ful peri­od in my life.

I nev­er knew I could enjoy life so much and have so much going on!

It seems for every high there is an equal and oppo­site low that occurs. Is that a uni­ver­sal law some­where? If not, I want to coin it. “Gwen’s Law” has a nice ring to it!

This house side hus­tle is prob­a­bly the hard­est thing I’ve ever done to myself on pur­pose. Yes.….. that includes basic train­ing.

The hap­pi­est dead bug you’ve ever seen

I’ll set the scene for you: Me, lying in bed after a long day at work, relax­ing and read­ing a book. I roll over to check my phone and notice.….…. a cock­roach. Just chill­in’ on the side of my bed like I was chill­in’ on top of it.

Two thoughts ran through my head:
2. That is it! My ten­ant has to go.

I know that even if I’m not the best house­keep­er on the face of the plan­et, I keep my place neat enough that cock­roach­es should starve. So if I’m not the gross per­son invit­ing them into the house.…… who is?

I didn’t have to look far. My ten­ant across the hall is gross. He is a bach­e­lor in his mid-30’s and his unit reflects that. (I also know guys that live alone and are neater than me but my ten­ant def­i­nite­ly reflects the bach­e­lor stereo­type). He lives alone, but I should’ve start­ed to charge him rent for his room­mate: The Stank. His unit REEKS. Now I know why my par­ents always bugged me grow­ing up about chang­ing my sheets and doing my dirty laun­dry on a reg­u­lar basis. It is this thick, cloy­ing, sour stench that hits you in the face when any­where near his side of the house- inside and out­side. It’s not quite as bad now as it was this win­ter when his win­dows were closed and he wasn’t indi­rect­ly air­ing it out.

That’s not the only odor that drifts over to my side of the house. He smokes. And not just cig­a­rettes, no. I know he also smokes mar­i­jua­na, and I’m also fair­ly sure he smokes oth­er illic­it sub­stances.

I’m also fair­ly sure he deals from the house in addi­tion to said usage. This attracts a cer­tain kind of peo­ple around my house that I would pre­fer go else­where. Yes­ter­day a man was arrest­ed right out­side my house for slap­ping a woman walk­ing down the side­walk. I have no idea the back­ground of the sit­u­a­tion, but it’s nev­er a great thing when there are cop cars direct­ly out­side your house.

At least this time I didn’t call them!

I was informed on all these hap­pen­ings by the con­trac­tor work­ing on the exte­ri­or of the house. That is going.…… ok. It looks tons bet­ter than before (and I will share pic­tures when it’s all done!) but I am pret­ty sure the work isn’t being done cor­rect­ly.

Actu­al­ly, for some of it, I know it’s not being done cor­rect­ly. I have cedar shake sid­ing on the top of the house and clap­board sid­ing on the bot­tom. Before putting on the new paint, the con­trac­tors didn’t scrape or spray the sid­ing. Nope. They just swiped at it with a broom and then rolled the new paint on it. Tell me every­thing wrong with that state­ment.

I had to paint my parent’s house when I was a teen so I’m some­what famil­iar with what you’re sup­posed to do. There was no scrap­ing at all. The result is that the nice new paint they rolled on, not paint­ed with a brush to push it down into the cracks, is now start­ing to peel off. Because the old paint is peel­ing.

I had to con­front the con­trac­tor about that “lit­tle” issue so hope­ful­ly that will get addressed. If not, I’m either going to have to scrape the damn thing myself or hire some­one else to do it at addi­tion­al cost.

My neigh­bors have been keep­ing an eye done on the work being done and have informed me of all the issues with the work so far. They were the ones to bid on it at the begin­ning, and have offered to redo the work when this set is done. Based on every­thing they’ve told me about what’s going wrong, I know it will get done cor­rect­ly but it will take addi­tion­al time and mon­ey. 

On the oth­er hand, I won’t have to redo it in a few short years.

Or months, in the case of the porch­es.

The front porch was “redone” as part of this project. I used quote marks because she did not do it right, even though she went through 20 gal­lons of gas and end­less amounts of water try­ing to spray the paint off the wood. Hav­ing to use that much water made the wood fuzzy and she didn’t sand it down before sand­ing it. She also did not replace the ends of the porch like I asked, so I will now need to include all the wood porch­es in a project this spring instead of just the back stairs and deck.


So, as you can imag­ine, I am more than a lit­tle stressed out right now about spend­ing all this mon­ey and not get­ting what I clear­ly stat­ed need­ed to hap­pen.

I just need some­one to give me a hug and tell me I’m doing the right thing and that every­thing will be ok.

For­tu­nate­ly, I have some­one to do so now! I’ve start­ed dat­ing some­one and he’s pret­ty amaz­ing.

We met online through mutu­al friends. Since we’re not too far away, he invit­ed me over for a par­ty he was hav­ing. I went to have a good time and meet new peo­ple.….. but some­where along the line it turned into a date as we just clicked.

I am thrilled we did! We have a lot of fun togeth­er and real­ly bal­ance each oth­er out. Not only that, we inspire each oth­er to be bet­ter with­out even real­ly try­ing. I live my best life and he lives his, and we both just so hap­pen to be spurred into action by the oth­er. I know from my point of view that I am encour­aged to let my bad habits go in favor of oth­er bet­ter habits (read­ing books to improve my life and keep learn­ing instead of nap­ping after work, for exam­ple).

I’m look­ing for­ward to get­ting to know him bet­ter and see­ing where this goes for us!

If you see my food/entertainment/gas bud­get go up the next few months, this would be why! How­ev­er he is more fru­gal than I am, so I doubt they’ll go up too much 🙂

How has your life been going late­ly? Got any advice for us?

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46 thoughts on “Bugs, Thugs, and Hugs

  1. Thanks for the update! I’m hap­py to hear you’ve found some­one! Keep­ing my fin­gers crossed that this is a keep­er. 🙂 And holy moly, sor­ry about the house woes. That is so messy and awful. I guess it comes down to the loca­tion; you men­tioned it wasn’t the best part of town. :/ Hope­ful­ly fix­ing up the house will help jus­ti­fy rais­ing rents and get­ting bet­ter ten­ants maybe? Good luck!!!
    Mrs. Picky Pinch­er recent­ly post­ed…Why Bot­tled Water Piss­es Me OffMy Profile

  2. I’m so sor­ry that you’ve had the set­backs with the ten­ant and the con­trac­tor! I know how excit­ed you were to get this start­ed, and now it’s not being done they way it should have been :-(. Hope­ful­ly all will be resolved on both ends soon!

    Con­grats on the rela­tion­ship! Blog love is sweet­er than Word­Press updates 😀

  3. I’m glad to hear about the hugs, Gwen. Find­ing some­one steady after dat­ing for a while can feel so great. How awe­some that he’s fru­gal? Maybe the new guy will be more on board with FIRE than the last few dudes!

    Stay­ing on top of those con­trac­tors is almost a full time job itself. As you build up your port­fo­lio, I’m sure you’ll get to know the var­i­ous folks in your area bet­ter and find out which ones pro­vide the best work for the best price. Good luck!

    • He’s already whole-heart­ed­ly on the path to FIRE! Being with some­one who under­stands this lifestyle and the obsta­cles it presents is price­less!

  4. Sounds like a win­ner to me 🙂

    I heard a fan­tas­tic quote on the sub­ject: “It’s not so much try­ing to find the one, but more being in the mind­set where you are open to wel­com­ing some­one won­der­ful into your life.” From read­ing your blog, it seems like you are in that mind­set and things are work­ing out well!

    I recent­ly invit­ed some­one into my life who makes me want to be a bet­ter per­son day in and day out, too. It’s awe­some.
    Erik @ The Mas­ter­mind With­in recent­ly post­ed…Erik’s Income State­ment and Bal­ance Sheet – 1st Half 2017My Profile

    • That’s an awe­some quote! I love it. Being with a sup­port­ive part­ner on the same wave­length as you makes life so much eas­i­er. Hope every­thing goes well for you and the lucky lady!

  5. Wow, sounds like quite an event­ful past few months for you! Sor­ry to hear about all of the house issues, I can only imag­ine how stress­ful hav­ing to deal with all of those things at once must be. What a bless­ing to look back on your past expe­ri­ences grow­ing up, and be able to use what may have been “bor­ing” or seemed “use­less” then, to your advan­tage, now.
    Con­grats on the hugs, there is noth­ing quite like find­ing a part­ner in life who can be there to sup­port and walk through life’s best (and worst) moments with you 🙂

  6. Yuck. Roach­es are just YUK. I have noth­ing against creepy crawlies in gen­er­al. I will touch and move worms with my bare hands, I think lizards are cute, spi­ders don’t bug me at all — but roach­es, roach­es are dis­gust­ing. I loathe them with a fiery pas­sion of a thou­sand dying suns. Have you asked the stinky ten­ant to leave yet?

    I’m sor­ry to hear about the con­trac­tor being awful and the cops hav­ing to come by your place again. Just take deep breaths and keep telling your­self: this too shall pass — one day when you have a dozen rentals, all of this dra­ma will make for good sto­ries.

    And I’m so hap­py to hear that you may have found a keep­er. Has he heard of FIRE? Is he super impressed by you (because if he _is_ a keep­er, he real­ly should be)?
    Mrs. BITA recent­ly post­ed…On the path to finan­cial inde­pen­dence: June 2017My Profile

    • I agree. Roach­es are the WORST. I did ask him to leave and he’s dev­as­tat­ed. I felt so bad, but then remem­ber how gross he is and don’t feel bad any­more.

      He has heard of FIRE, is on the same path and is very impressed with my work so far! He’s def­i­nite­ly a keep­er 🙂

    • Thanks Lance! All I have to do is just take a deep breath and remind myself it’s just mon­ey.

  7. Con­fronting con­trac­tors about poor­ly done work sounds hor­ri­ble. What did they say when you brought it up?

    Con­grats on the rela­tion­ship! Is he aware of your blog?

    • She wasn’t aware of what her sub con­trac­tors had been doing (HOW??) so she looked at it and agreed it need­ed to be done cor­rect­ly. Whether or not that will actu­al­ly hap­pen is anoth­er sto­ry.

      Thanks! He does know about the blog and is very sup­port­ive of my endeav­ors!

  8. Ah the joys of home­own­er­ship. 🙂 I’m just glad I’m FIRE with a fat sur­plus so when this crazy stuff pops up I can use mon­ey to fix the prob­lem. Deal­ing with con­trac­tors is tricky, even though I used to do that pro­fes­sion­al­ly for work (on bil­lion dol­lar projects 🙂 ). Nail­ing down the scope in writ­ing is crit­i­cal at the out­set. Which is tough to do if you don’t know the ins and outs of the con­struc­tion project you’re hir­ing out (and I sad­ly am an ama­teur at most home con­struc­tion projects).

    On a dif­fer­ent note, thank you for rein­forc­ing my dis­like of rental real estate for now. I’m always itch­ing to get back into the rental biz and then I read an arti­cle like this and real­ize I don’t real­ly want to main­tain any more hous­es than the one I cur­rent­ly own and live in most of the year. 🙂
    Justin recent­ly post­ed…May 2017 Finan­cial UpdateMy Profile

    • Any­time I want to insult some­one pas­sive aggres­sive­ly to their face, I’ll just say I wish them the joy of own­ing their own home. Not so joy­ful, for me. I’m glad I could rein­force your dis­like? It’s not all just sit­ting back and col­lect­ing rent checks, unfor­tu­nate­ly.…

  9. Ugh I’m so sor­ry the painter didn’t turn out as good as expect­ed. That’s real­ly stress­ful on top of the gross ten­ant saga. I hope things work out on that end quick­ly.

    Excit­ed that you met some­one, con­grat­u­la­tions!!! No more weirdos who can’t accept or sup­port your lifestyle wee~

  10. Gwen’s Law”. I’d buy that on a cof­fee mug! Your side-hus­tle descrip­tion is exact­ly the rea­son I have not been able to pull the trig­ger on rental prop­er­ty. I just don’t have the zen per­son­al­i­ty required to keep my cool. I think REITs are as close as I’ll get to real estate (oth­er than the house I live in, of course). I will be inter­est­ed in see­ing how this resolves though. Good luck and keep post­ing.

    • *new side hus­tle idea emerges*

      Seri­ous­ly though… it’s tough. Way tougher than I though. Thank good­ness I have men­tors in this crazy thing or I’d have giv­en up a long time ago.

  11. Like Justin said. In the future get your bids in writ­ing. The more item­ized the bet­ter. That way you can check you are on the same page with regard to scope and method. If a con­trac­tor won’t send you a writ­ten esti­mate, then pass. Not worth the headache.

    Have you looked into what your rights are as a land­lord? It may be time for you to con­sid­er evict­ing your prob­lem ten­ant or, bar­ring that, at least doc­u­ment­ing every­thing if even­tu­al­ly you do need to make him leave.

    • It’s sol­id advice! I have all the rights nec­es­sary to get him out. I have no lease from the pre­vi­ous own­er so he’s month to month. Come August 1st, if he’s not out, I’ll need to start the evic­tion process. I real­ly don’t want to do that.

  12. Les­son learned is that sim­ple stuff you already know SHOULD be with­in the wheel­house of some­one you hire. The fact that the con­trac­tor didn’t do some­thing as obvi­ous as scrap­ing paint means you should sus­pect wide­spread igno­rance/need-of-train­ing with a con­comi­tant required increase in the close­ness of scruti­ny and tight­ness of man­age­ment. Bet­ter to build a busi­ness rela­tion­ships with folks who may charge a bit more, but need less watch­ing. Cost of watching/headaches is anoth­er cost you have to bal­ance.

    As for the roach and the dirty ten­ant. The roach gives you the per­fect excuse to evict the fel­low. “Sor­ry, but we have to get the exter­mi­na­tor to go through the entire house. You’ll have to move out.”

    • I’m pret­ty sure I’m going to have to have every­thing redone from this job in the future. Sigh.

      As for the ten­ant, he is on a month to month and I need no oth­er rea­son to end the lease. I can just say, time to move, and it’s time to move.

  13. Learn­ing the hard way that the cheap­est quote is not usu­al­ly the best option is a tough one. I’ll admit I’ve got­ten bit by this a cou­ple times too, par­tic­u­lar­ly with land­scap­ing work. Use Yelp and Ang­ies­List to weed out the ones that over­promise and under­de­liv­er. You can also refuse to pay for the remain­der of the work until it’s done right, so at least you’re not out the full amount. Good luck!

    PS: I just found your blog a few days ago via Red­dit. I’m also a 26 year old work­ing towards FI. You have a writ­ing style that’s easy to relate to, keep up the good work!

    • To be fair, I think the cheap­est quote would’ve been the best. That came from my neigh­bor. This was the sec­ond cheap­est bid.

      Also, thanks for drop­ping by! Glad you like it!

  14. House renos woes: I hear you loud and clear! I would refuse to pay the con­trac­tors to be hon­est. They have done a dodgy job, hop­ing you won’t notice and pull a swift one on you. Don’t be the nice guy (I was) and pay them in good faith that they will fix it up. My con­trac­tors didn’t. They nev­er picked up my calls ever again.

    Ten­ant woes: Oh god. I couldn’t live with that – I think your ten­ant needs to either clean up or get out! Esp if he is deal­ing drugs from your address…. *shud­der*

    But yay on the new per­son in your life front – hap­py dance!

    • I don’t think they’re try­ing to pull one over on me.…. I just think they have no idea what they’re doing and they think I don’t know what they’re sup­posed to do either. I know enough to know enough!

  15. And this is why I have no desire to own a rental prop­er­ty. Major props to you for stick­ing it out, but bugs and bad ten­ants make me want to run the oth­er direc­tion. Hope your new two-legged friend sticks around for awhile, but the 6-legged ones got to go.
    Mrs.Wow recent­ly post­ed…Maybe Retire­ment is the Wrong TermMy Profile

    • I’m going to hold onto it for at least a year. After that I’ll eval­u­ate it when I don’t have to live there and am some­what more removed from the day to day life of the neigh­bor­hood.

  16. Let’s focus on the good stuff — it’s amaz­ing that you’ve found some­one! And so nat­u­ral­ly, I mean yeah you ‘met’ online, but when hangs turn into dates it’s bloody won­der­ful!

    And here’s a reas­sur­ing pat on the back that yes, you did good with your con­trac­tor. From the blog I know you grilled and screened the crap out of every­one. And I trust you have the gump­tion to stand up to their crap­py work­man­ship, demand bet­ter and with­hold pay­ments (if that’s legal). Some­times peo­ple suck, but it sounds like you did every­thing you could to try and pick the best ones. That’s all any­one can ever do.

    Also — sor­ry for the Aus­tralian slang in that com­ment :p a quick re-read tells me some of it might not cross the cul­ture lines, haha

  17. What a douche-y ten­ant. I hate peo­ple like them. I had the same expe­ri­ence like yours except that the ten­ant that I’m with is a cou­ple. So you can imag­ine the mess that they make for every day. They are unruly and I’m glad I’m not with them any­more. Any­ways, great read. How are you now?

    • Hang­ing in there, thanks for ask­ing! My ten­ant hasn’t been around much since I gave him the bad news. Hope­ful­ly he’s off find­ing a new place to live!

      • I just hope that the new place he’s been with he’ll learn from his pre­vi­ous mis­take. Great job Gwen! Have a great day always!

  18. You only pay for cor­rect­ly done work. If they screw up on some­thing as basic as not scrap­ing off the old paint, they can fix it and get paid or go away emp­ty-hand­ed.

  19. That’s frus­trat­ing about the repairs Gwen. I hope you can get those issues resolved with the con­trac­tor or at least get some of your mon­ey back. It can be super frus­trat­ing to see work being done poor­ly or incor­rect­ly. Maybe I’m just a bit OCD about it but I pre­fer to do most of my own renovations/repairs sim­ply because I can take my time and do it prop­er­ly (although it does take much longer).

    Con­grats on the new guy! Being a fru­gal guy is a good sign. Now just start drop­ping hints about FIRE and this Mus­tache guy you just heard about 😉
    Owen @ PlanEasy recent­ly post­ed…Reduce Your Invest­ment Risk (For Lit­tle To No Cost)My Profile

    • At this point I’m about ready to rent a lad­der and get up there myself!

      No need to drop hints when he’s already well on the FIRE band­wag­on! I won the lot­tery 🙂

  20. You are too nice. Have to put the foot down (polite­ly but firm­ly) with those con­trac­tors, and with the bad ten­ant.

    Are you sure it’s such a good idea to let a guy you just met know the details of your net worth from this blog? Maybe wait a few months?

  21. Hi Gwen! First, a BIG EEEW to that cock­roach! Your life seems to be real­ly inter­est­ing with all the frus­trat­ing repairs and now the love life. I have known a lot of sto­ries of love and hap­py end­ings that all start­ed online. In fact, a close friend of mine mar­ried her now hus­band whom she met just online. Now they are liv­ing hap­pi­ly with two kids, trav­el­ling places all across the globe. Amaz­ing!

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