i think chicago hates me- part 2: Dennis
This past Friday Mike and I went to Chicago to find an apartment. We have to move this Saturday because our lease on our apartments in Madison end on the 14th. So that meant that on Friday we had to find an apartment we could move into a week and a day later. Being Chicago this isn’t as bad as it may seem. There are several apartments vacant in any Chicago neighborhood at any time during the year just waiting for someone to come rent it, and soon, so landlords can start making money off their properties again. Mike and I scheduled some apartment showing ourselves and also planned on going through an apartment-finding service called the “Apartment People“. We looked at some in the morning then went to the Apartment People office where we met the woman who would show us some places. We picked three that were close to my school and looked like they may work, so the three of us headed out to the apartments to take a look. The first one was just not good (ewwwww Chicago grunge), the second one was GREAT, and the third one was alright. As soon as I saw that second apartment I could visualize Mike and I living there. Only 3 blocks from campus and close to the El (so Mike could commute to work), the location was perfect. The interior was gut-rehabed so the bathroom and kitchen were new and beautiful. There was exposed brick and plenty of windows to let sunshine in (something typically lacking in Chicago apartments) and beautiful wood floors. It was a real place! (And I wouldn’t feel like I need to wear sandals in the shower.) I fell in love with it, and so did Mike. He had to leave for his job interview in Chicago and I went back to the Apartment People offices to sign all the paperwork.
Now a quick note on how Apartment People works: They aren’t the landlord, they are simply an apartment finding service. A landlord lists their apartments with them and gives them keys to show the place off, and in return, if an aparment people person rents an apartment, they get the first month’s rent instead of the landlord. It works out well for landlords because they rent places fast, great for renters because they can be shown lots of places in a short period of time, and great for the Apartment People because they have filled and needed gap in the renting system.
So I filled out a rental application for the place, paid our first month’s rent to the Apartment People, and was on my way. I was told the landlord would meet with us on our move-in date and have us sign the lease and give us the keys.
Later on Friday, after Mike’s interview, we were ready to head home to Madison but we received a phone call from the landlord. Enter Dennis. We had to talk to the landlord about meeting to sign the lease and paying the security deposit. One quick simple meeting, right? Nope! We asked Dennis if we could meet that night, we even offered to drive to his house in the burbs and meet him there, but he refused. Then we asked if we could meet up with him on Saturday morning before we move in, and he said it has to be sooner. We asked if we could mail him the security deposit and sign the lease via fax. nope. Dennis needed to meet with us. He needed to “get to know us” before we moved in. He needed an hour and a half of our time to get to know us and make sure we see “eye to eye”. He needed double the security deposit because Mike has yet to say yes to his job offer and he needs the security deposit in the form of cash, money order, or cashiers check. He needs to meet both of us, not just one. And he needs to meet us in the city of Chicago. So since Friday evening didn’t work, nor did Saturday morning, we asked what would work… and Dennis said, “I’ll be in the city around noon on Wednesday; can you meet me then?” Noon on Wednesday. We had already taken a complete day off to find an apartment. Now another one so the landlord can “get to know” Mike and I? WHAT?!? We tried to explain that we had to work. We tried to explain that it was a long ways, a lot of time, and a lot of money… but he didn’t care.
We were stuck. We had a choice- we both could come down to Chicago at noon on Wednesday and take another day off work and spend a lot of money driving to Chicago and back, OR we could turn Dennis down and try to find another apartment in Chicago. But to do that, we’d have to go back down to Chicago to find another apartment and sign someone else’s lease and just pray that someone would give us a place we could move into on Saturday. But who knows what problems we’d run into doing that, and the place wouldn’t be nearly as nice or nearly as close to campus. Oh man. We were stuck.
I had called Dennis three times asking questions about the apartment and trying to find a way out of Mike & I coming down on Wednesday at noon. Dennis didn’t like that much. He told me that if I wasn’t willing to do things his way, I should find another place. His way or the highway. Then Dennis told me that I could not call him again unless I could tell him if I were able to meet on Wednesday or not. End of story. All the rest of our questions had to be thrown out the window- it was Wednesday at noon or starting the apartment search over. I think Dennis hates me.
So later that night on our way home, Mike and I admitted defeat and I gave Dennis a call. “Hi Dennis. Does noon on Wednesday work for you?” (It had better!) “Yes Maria. Call me Wednesday morning as soon as you wake up to confirm our meeting. If you do not call, I won’t come into the city to meet you.” “Ok Dennis, we’ll be there at noon and give you a call early on Wednesday.”
So Mike and I woke up this morning at 7 just to give our friend Dennis a call. Noon no longer worked for him. “Would 5:30 this evening work for you.” Mike and I already decided we’d do whatever it took to make Dennis happy so we could get this apartment and just be done with it all. “Yes Dennis, 5:30 would work just great for us.” (Definite sarcastic undertones.)
So in a few hours Mike and I will be driving to Chicago to see if Dennis likes us enough to give us the apartment. We’ll be shelling out a double security deposit because he doesn’t trust that we’ll make rent. We’ll be praying he turns out to be a decent person in the long run. We’ll be praying we can forgive him and humbly ask that he trust us and give us a place to live.
I think Chicago may be trying to reject me. And Dennis, I hope I can forgive you.