Archives for August 2010

Photo Roundup

Even though there’s still a bunch of crap going on, I’m taking a blogging break from the drama that is my current living situation and instead I am happy to share the last batch of professional photos from Washington Park taken by the charming Heidi Benjamin:

For those of you that aren’t on Facebook, you missed out on the small showcase of favorites I shared that the photographers had picked out and posted on their respective pages. However, I noticed that both of them have added some of the shots they took of Yara and me to the galleries on their websites and given what an awesome job they did I feel the need to link you all over to take a gander at the wealth of pretty. As a note, both of these sites use Flash extensively, so apologies to my fellow screen-reader users.

  • Red Cottage Photography — First, my absolute favorite photo is displayed in the slideshow on the homepage. Anyway, under the “Gallery” link our photos are under the “Pets” category. Oh, and it was also mentioned to me that Yara may be featured on their business card!
  • Heidi Benjamin Photography — Again our photos are in the “gallery,” click on “hello!” to find them. By the way, that first photo in that category of the dogs and people by the “sight-seeing” binoculars (which was her splash page when I was researching photographers) is pretty much what sold me on hiring her.

I definitely recommend browsing around both of these fine sites. And certainly if you’re local, I would highly recommend either or both of these wonderful photographers without a second’s hesitation. They were truly phenomenal!

We’re Moving!

The details of all this are just way too much to get into,. No, I’m not being evicted, but me and Yara are out of this place and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve got movers lined up for August 31st and they’re set to pack anything I haven’t managed to shove into a box beforehand.

Still have to get all the other accompanied intricacies of moving settled — switching Internet service, turning off power, forwarding mail, etc. I feel winded by all that has happened and is still left to do, but mostly I am very relieved.

Rental Woes

Alternate title: How to Evict Someone the Faux Legal Way

The facts are these:

  • I have paid my rent in full and on time each and every month for the entire 29 months I have resided in my current apartment. You know, the one that I had to call Code Enforcement to get them to fix my collapsing ceiling in.
  • More times than I can count my landlady has stated that I have NOT paid her rent for a given month. Always, no matter what this is my fault.
  • Aside from the initial time she claimed this (see below) I have had the ability to prove that a payment has been made — and often that it has even been cashed. Initially, I was using bank checks and sending them certified and for the last year or more I’ve had a bill pay account set up where I can print out the confirmation of the payment which shows with dates, the debit from my checking account, the USPS tracking for the mailed check and (if cashed) a copy of the check.
  • The first time she claimed my payment was missing she had in fact cashed it and attributed the payment (allegedly by accident) to another tenant’s account. During this time I was switching banks and had no ability to provide proof the payment had cleared and ended up going to court over the matter because I refused to pay her for the same rent twice.
  • The several times beyond this basically fall into the pattern of me sending the payment (via verifiable means) and her calling me anywhere from a week to a month later to claim she hasn’t received it. I send her the proof and do a stop payment, which thankfully my bank doesn’t charge a fee for, and meanwhile she’ll petition me for a court appearance.
  • If she hasn’t received the second payment in sufficient enough time, she’ll petition me to appear in court whereupon I get to embarrass her in front of a judge by providing proof I’ve paid her and thus getting the fees waived. I end up taking at least the morning off work, but mostly I feel smug.
  • Rinse and repeat ad nauseam.

So, back in June I get the inevitable “haven’t got a payment for this month’s rent” call. I fax off the bill pay confirmation. She in turn sends me a three day present, which has the wrong amount listed as past due, and while the reissuing of the payment is going through the mail I’m petitioned for court in the beginning of July. I present to her lawyer both the proof of the original payment, the proof of the stop payment and the reissuing of the check AND an authorization for the payment to draft from my account along with August’s rent if she STILL hasn’t received it. In the middle of July she calls and wants confirmation her payment was sent, which I fax over. I catch her receptionist in the apartment building the next day who confirms they got said fax.

Three weeks go by.

This morning the receptionist calls me and is obviously being fed lines by the landlady because she keeps having to put me on hold after every sentence. Anyway, she says that they need a payment for the missing rent, which by the way is a slightly lower amount than the payment I actually sent and supposedly owed. If you’re keeping track this is the third amount quoted to me as owed. In fact, they need this payment by tomorrow morning in the form of a money order because they will be going to the sheriff to file for an eviction.

And the only way I can fight this is by waiting for the eviction notice and bring her to court. At my own cost.

Guess what! It’s all totally legal. Here’s how it works:

The payment is made and sent off. I can prove this. Maybe it gets lost in the mail; maybe it’s sitting on my landlady’s desk. Either way the payment isn’t cashed, which means my landlady can claim she has not received it. Without having the payment in their account she can then go to the sheriff and get a Warrant of Eviction on the grounds of non-payment of rent. Once the sheriff hands me that eviction, I can then go off to the town hall and file a court petition of my own and during that court date I can present the judge with my proof of payment.

Or, and this is seeming the less evil of my choices, I can let the bitch evict me and have my lease broken and move out. Given that my lease doesn’t expire until April I’m giving this option serious thought. Of course, I need an alternate place to live — and so far my only option is my mother’s, which is its own kettle of crazy and somehow looking like it would still be a better option. Well aside from the actual moving, which I detest. [EDIT: To clarify, I’m talking about moving back into my previous living situation wherein I rented half of my mother’s two-family house. There’s a whole story behind that, but basically I moved because it was a pita getting back and forth to work.]

So, in short: No, I don’t know what I will do. Mostly, I want to cry at the injustice that is my life. Also, I want to punch people.

Schenectady Central Park

Yara in harness sitting by one of the entry archways to Schenectady Central Park's rose garden

In a bit of a change from our daily1 strolls through Washington Park, Yara and I visited the Schenectady Rose Garden at Central Park today along with Sharon. I’d only ever been there the one time during guide dog training, but I didn’t really see much of the park itself given that everything was under several feet of snow at the time. We wandered around the pond and community pool, which is really just a dammed off part of the pond, and then made our way through the rose garden where the above photo of Yara was taken. More photos are in the gallery below for those interested in pretty roses:

  1. Weather permitting.


A very happy birthday to Yara, who turns a whole five years old today! \o/

I fully expected her to have no interest whatsoever in this cake, but as you can see she was quite interested this morning as I hacked it into bits in preparation for her to eat it later today. And I really do mean “hack” because this cake was about as dense as a piece of granite and nearly as heavy. It smelled like carrot cake, though, so I wasn’t too concerned that I was possibly feeding the birthday girl a slab of rock. I gave Patty a ring so she could share in the humor of Yara’s birthday noms, but like any good mom I also took some photos. Shockingly the dog who never wants to eat went right for the cake when I set it down.

Some pieces required extra attention, so they got saved for later. “Saved” here meaning they were dropped on the floor. And then promptly distanced from . . . or that could just have been a reaction to me and the camera.

Eventually, Yara decided the best course of action to eat her cake was to take it piece by piece into her crate. Most probably this was her attempt to get me to stop taking pictures . . . so I tried a video instead.1 Observe:

She did end up eating the whole portion I gave her, and even cleaned up most of the crumbs she left on the floor. Then she ventured out of the crate for some snuggles. All things considered, I believe turning five was a good day for her.

  1. In it sound like a five-year-old myself.