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She’d been a good TV

April 11, 2011

Maryland has no rent control. I found this out with my first apartment on my own. I graduated college, doe-eyed, engaged to my then-fiancée, working for a little .com startup in downtown Baltimore. I found a one-bedroom apartment for a reasonable rate and was quite happy with things.

A month later, I was single. Working for a .com startup meant some very late nights to get something working on deadline. Without fail, those nights/days I’d make it home between 2 & 5 in the morning, police would be busting some drug lab nearby. Still, it became my life – it worked. It certainly wasn’t permanent, but it was ok.

Then I came upon a year of living at the place. Owings Mills, MD isn’t exactly a high-demand area . . . I mean, it’s nice enough, but there’s no great demand for housing. I was living a pretty simple life spending most of my money on beer, groceries, strippers, Chinese & pizza delivery. I was never late for my rent. So, imagine my surprise when, to renew my lease, I’d have to shell over an extra 40%.

I called around but the rules were pretty clear – Maryland has no rent control – when your lease is up, the lease holder could do whatever the hell they wanted. As I said, Owings Mills was hardly a high-demand area – I could have just picked an apartment complex down the road, managed a similar rent to what I was currently paying, and had at it. But, I’d have to deal with this all over again a year later. No, the only way I was going to avoid this all was to buy a house of my own. Mortgage payments wouldn’t fluctuate like this.

So, I started the process of buying a house. Now, we’re firmly in the grips of the .com bubble bursting – so I started looking at places between Baltimore & DC to live . . . I figured I’d double my market if I came to work one day to find the doors locked (I ended up leaving before things got really bad, but apparently “the end” wasn’t all that unlike a “show up at work, but work is not there” scenario). The end of the .com bust was the start of a huge real estate boom around DC.

It took me a little while to find a house that I liked (but wasn’t super happy with). I wrote a check for $2000 to send in along with my mortgage pre-approval when I bid 95% of the asking price. The sellers sold for 110% of the asking price. I stepped up my searching game, commonly bidding asking price, only to be overbid. There were houses going on the market in the morning, and were under contract by the time I was able to take a look at them later that afternoon. The real estate market, at this time, in my price range, was absolutely crazy.

Eventually, I found a house – it was a very nice townhouse with two master bedrooms. The previous owner was a retired widow and was completely obsessive about cleaning. Seriously compulsive, I stopped by the house a day or two before closing to sign a paper saying that I’d take the house “as is” because it was going to be an extra $200 to fix a crack in the sidewalk before closing, and that I’d take a receipt for a pre-paid repair that was scheduled for two days after the papers were signed. After we signed the papers, she said that she was going to get to work scrubbing the bathrooms. Seriously – she was selling the house, but dammit if she was going to sell the house with less-than-spotless bathrooms. I’m pretty sure, when I sold the house, there were no active stains on the toilets, but I can’t be entirely certain.

Where was I? Ah, yes, thinking about boobs.

Wait, no – closing. My own calculations for the money that I needed were quite different from what my agent gave me. The reason for that? My original $2,000 check somehow ended up lost in the ether . . . I’m not usually one to forget that I’ve paid for something, but in this case, I did. My days were filled with work in the morning, house-hunting at night, wooing my now-wife when I was able to fit that in. I had become a “forgot about a deposit” machine.

When I did close, I had $2,031.17 leftover (the original check had gathered interest) . . . the prudent thing would have been to invest it, put it into savings, pay off my car loan early. Really, there were tons of things that I could have done that would have been mature of me to do. But, I had already spent the money in my head; it was time to spend the money in real life.

I bought myself a bigscreen TV. A 53″ Panasonic rear-projection HDTV, to be specific. It was wonderful. The day I got it, I popped in The Princess Bride (because, I wanted the first movie shown on it to be a great one). The size of the TV, when added to a High Definition signal made baseball, football, and hockey truly magnificent to watch.

When I sold the house, the TV, of course, came with me. In the new house, it was so large that it didn’t fit through the kitchen, and we had to walk it all of the way around the house and bring it in through the porch.

Yesterday, we pressed the power button on the TV . . . and, nothing. It might be that the power button simply got disconnected from the power supply, but there’s no way to go about checking all of that without taking the entire TV apart, and I simply don’t trust myself doing that.

She’s been a good TV – but it’s time for something new.

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From → Homeownership

6 Comments
  1. Ah, The Princess Bride. Truly a masterpiece. Excellent choice.

  2. I’m glad your first choice wasn’t midget porn.

  3. We have a similar tv. 53-inch rear projection. Not sure what brand. And I’m sure that it’s about ready to go. It’s been awhile since the color was really correct. But, she HAS been a good tv so we’ll keep her until the end. Or until we move – no way are we dragging that long with us.

  4. I will always love The Princess Bride,

    “with eyes the color of the sea after a storm..”

  5. I had heard of rent control and honestly had no idea truly what it was. I mean, our rent goes up yearly here but 40 perfect?! For the love of God! My redheaded temper would have been all up in some poor landlord’s face! That just makes me angry (you won’t like me when I am angry!) 🙂

  6. Of course all I want to do now is quote Princess Bride. And watch Princess Bride. And think about boobs.

    Oh, no. Wait. Not that last part.

    Well, maybe a little.

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