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December 08, 2008

Manic Monday

December 8. Day 161.

A jet crashed in San Diego. My aunt, who lives in the neighborhood, heard the booms. Two fatalities, so far. A dark day. Here and elsewhere: terror, biological warfare, recession, hunger (shiver inducing story at that link), amplified by arrogance and ignorance and arrogant ignorance.

If I don't react to news or to much beyond my narrow sliver of the world, it's not that I don't care, or don't follow. Please believe me. But I spend enough time on news sites and thinking about all the muck that The Daily Asker is my daily dose of something else.

So, I bring you one piece of good news: My dad found a job! What a relief. Thanks to everyone who sent kind thoughts and helped out these past months.

On the housing front, I talked to the property manager today about a few issues. I don't recall asking for changes or improvements before moving into a new place, even when it was warranted, because I was an easy sell. This time, things are different.

--I requested that the $50 application fee be used toward the first month's rent. He said no, but will give me a copy of both of our credit reports instead. Fine.

--I asked him if we could choose the color of the paint in the bathroom. They're replacing the wallpaper, and why not have a say, if I'm the one using it? He said they're leaning toward off-white or neutral, and I pushed for blue. Works with the garage door and gate, and could be cute. He'll talk it over with the owner.

--I asked to get the verbally promised changes (fixing a few cracks in the plaster, that bathroom wallpaper, etc) in writing. He said he doesn't like to do that, and I pointed out that "it's easier for all of us if we have that in writing." Actually, it's easier for me. But he agreed.

--I asked him to revisit the wallpaper in the back bedroom in one year, and add that to the lease. It's a discreet pattern, not offensive in any way, but if it starts peeling or looks gross, I want it gone. He replied he doesn't put things that far ahead, but said the owner wants to keep the house in good shape. (If the owner didn't want to, would anyone admit that? But, I do believe this. The owner, that NPR reporter, told me he's keeping the house because he wants like to move back when he's done covering the White House. Also, I presume, the current real estate market may be a factor in renting over selling... In any case, I got a good vibe from him. He cares about the place. Plus, he's a respected reporter, not a slimy developer. Good credential, I'd say.)

The rent was already great, so no need to adjust that. I find that it's getting easier and easier to ask, and sound comfortable asking. At the same time, I'm still not needing to negotiate anything very valuable, like a major salary boost or four figure car discount.

I'm 20 days away from the midpoint of this project. Must invest in a few negotiation books, broaden my scope and gear up for some bigger challenges in the second half!

Gained: Capital improvements.
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