Saturday, March 17, 2012

Design Seminar

I dragged my friend to a free design seminar at a local furniture store this past week because:
A) It was free
B) I like interior design
C) The store was giving out $25 gift cards to the participants

When we arrived, there were only a handful of people there. It was also immediately apparent that we were a lot younger than the rest of the group. The designer conducting the seminar was obviously surprised by our youthful presence. He was also apparently quite excited by this fact because he spent the evening mainly speaking to my friend and me and asking us questions, while either ignoring the rest of the group or calling them 'old' numerous times as he explained complex terms such as 'retro' and 'vintage.' Also, whenever he attempted to explain anything (such as contemporary vs. traditional style) he ended u p contradicting himself. A lot.

It was entertaining, if not very informative.

At the end of the session, while they had a drawing for a $50 gift card, the designer came up and talked to me about the comments he had forced out of me earlier. I was content to just sit back and soak in the information but while he was preaching solely to the "young crowd," he also wanted the "young crowd" to share their opinions and ask questions.

It was nice of him to follow up, fur the problem was he didn't let up. I tried to break up our conversation numerous times, but with no success. His persistence and the fact that he wasn't actually listening to what I said, made for a not very interest, mostly one-sided conversation.

I purposely avoided eye contact with my friend, because I was holding back laughter at how absurd this guy was, and I knew I was about to start laughing if I looked at her. He continued in his persistent efforts to convince me that the designing world was at my fingertips, even though I am completely broke and had informed him of such.

I ended up breaking out in a hearty laugh, which caused my friend to laugh. My new designer "friend" also laughed, but it was a social laugh-simply laughing because we were. I felt bad about laughing at him, and I had tried with all my might to keep it in, but failed miserably. He was completely oblivious to the fact that we were laughing at him, which unfortunately caused me to laugh harder.

Finally I found a gap in the conversation to thank him and inform him that we needed to be on our way.

To this he responded, "Okay, let me show you something."

Another bout of laughing ensured as he led us halfway around the store to show us some retro designs mixed with modern furniture. On this little tour my friend pointed out to me a couch that she liked. I excitedly informed her that that was the exact set that I had purchased the week before for my new condo.

Interrupting me, the designer told me, "No, you don't want that one." At this point I almost couldn't breathe, I was laughing so hard, but he continued to lead us through the store and then showed me a horribly ugly burgandy colored couch which was clashing terribly with a red rug.

I guess our non-enthusiasm about this furniture set, and my once again thanking him and telling him we needed to go finally convinced him to leave us alone, and miraculously he left.

There were definitley strings attached to this free seminar, mostly in the form of trying to ward off the persistent designer...but for a free night I did get some pretty good laughter therapy.

Friday, March 2, 2012

How I Learned that Trespassing is Just a Citable Offense

Today I went to get the keys to my new condo and to hear "the good news and the bad news" which I had been informed of earlier that week. I met my aunt (also known as the Amazing Realtor) and her trusty assistant (my cousin) at my condo, where I found them deep cleaning my bathrooms, but they had been hard at work cleaning my whole apartment before I had arrived.

My Aunt asked me if I wanted to hear the good news or the bad news first. Being the eternal pessimist, I opted to hear the bad news first (plus my curiosity was overwhelming me). This is the bad news she relayed to me.

She had been informed after our closing (read after the property belonged to me) by the title company (I believe...not entirely sure) that the seller was upset that I was living there already. Apparently after his closing he had gone to give his goodbyes to his friend and former neighbor. She had informed the seller that she was under the impression that someone was already living in the condo. My Aunt informed the individual from the title company that she had been coming and going with plumbers and electricians who were creating bids for a little home improvement project, and so that was probably why the neighbor was under the impression that somebody already lived there.

Well with that topic on her mind, when she went to go get the condo keys for me from the lockbox, she decided to check out the apartment (something that she probably wouldn't have done otherwise). In the kitchen was a cell phone charging, there was a bra hanging off a doorknob, and a camp chair set up. She bravely stepped further into the condo and called out to see if anyone was there. From the bedroom she heard snoring, so she promptly went outside and called the individual at the title company to inquire if they knew who it was. They didn't and advised my Aunt to call the police, which she did.

Yes. I had a squatter in my condo. A SQUATTER! IN MY CONDO!

An officer arrived on the scene, who announced, "Salt Lake City Police. Identify Yourself."

My squatter apparently started freaking out and packing up. At some point she informed the officer that she was the sister of the cleaning woman and then later told him she was the woman hired to clean the apartment (I'm assuming that the seller had hired a cleaning woman, because I certainly didn't). Either way, she definitely did not have permission to be there.

The contractor,(hired by the seller, for who knows what) ended up coming by and he knew the woman but informed the police officer that he had given her permission to stay there (not that he had the right to give her permission anyhow...).

The squatter was cited for trespassing and the contractor drove her away.

The whole time I was hearing this story I was feeling shocked, amused, and completely creeped out.

The Good News:
1. That very hour my Aunt had a locksmith come out and now I am the only one with keys to the condo.

2. The police officer, who works the entire area for which I was looking for my new home, informed my Aunt that the area my condo is in is excellent. He's been on the force for I believe 10 years, and says they never get calls to come to the Condo Association. He also informed her that there was probably not a better place for a single woman such as myself. (I felt really good about the condo and the area, but after hearing about my squatter I was justifably concerned, but hearing this opinion of the area from this police officer has allayed my fears. Also, the new locks certainly don't hurt).

3. Timing-wise it worked out well. I'm moving in officially tomorrow, and if I had run into the squatter tomorrow, I know that I would have been too freaked out to live on my own. Also, my Dad probably would have gone gone ballistic and someone would have ended up hurt.

4. It is a GREAT story! Even though I was mortified by the creepiness factor of someone being in the condo, and was grossed out by the fact that she was living there (which was the main reason my awesome Aunt and Cousin were cleaning up the place. For a self proclaimed cleaning woman, it was really dirty.), the story was still really comical and amusing.

My Aunt told me that this was the weirdest thing that has happened to her in all her years in real estate. And this story even tops her Broker's story of going over to a couple's house to sign papers and the wife was cooking dinner in the nude.

Additional Details:

I joined in on the cleaning and as we did so we found remants the squatter had left behind: a plastic bag of hygiene items in the bottom of the storage unit; lipstick, a sweater, and a tangerine in the top kitchen cupboards, newspaper in the closet....There was also spilled alcohol in the freezer (yuck) and tangerine peels and a beer bottle cap in the kitchen disposal.

After hearing the story, my Aunt asked me to go check in the storage unit to see if the squatter had left anything in there. She had. It was then that I realized that when I had first viewed the condo, there was a sleeping bad and other camping supplies in that closet, which I had just assumed belonged to the seller. They weren't there today, so I guess they were the squatter's. Which is even creepier because that was at the beginning of the February. I'm not sure how long the squatter has been staying there, but it appears to be at least a month!

I'm so grateful for my Aunt and all that she has done to help get me into this condo, and then subsequently in helping to evict the squatter and cleaning up after her! She really is amazing. Thank you Janet!