Wednesday, May 18, 2011

18 May 1957 “How to be a Good Citizen and Control our Emotions”

goodcitizens I often like to keep bad news from my posts. I figure we often are more upset when we first get involved in bad news. Our instant thought is to fly off the handle or to over-exaggerate the situation.
Another thing I have learned from my time-travel lifestyle was that what seems bad or important in that moment, will often be better viewed with a day or two between it and you. This has been the case for many things that have happened in my life since 1955. Even dealing with my mother’s Alzheimer's (which we knew of before my project) became easier. My ability to weigh a situation, think on it, even make lists for responses and emotions, seemed to really help me. READ MORE

I think many of we modern folk tend to fly off the handle and demand ‘satisfaction’ at the drop of a hat. Much of that is due to the world in which we live which gives instant gratification at every turn. I can’t tell you the number of times I have been shocked by customers in stores and attitudes towards those in a working or subservient position to you. A waiter, a retail shop employee. Even drivers and their attitudes towards one another on the road seem more shocking to me since my little sojourn into the past.

My current state of unrest was brought on by a series of events. The first and foremost being that our tenants have ceased to pay their rent now for the second month. As some of you may know, we own a second home which we bought once as a hopeful investment. After the Real Estate Crash of 2008 it soon became apparent it was a bad idea. We currently rent out this property for exactly the amount of the mortgage. In other words, we make no money for it and in fact have to pay for upkeep and water bills etc.

Last year we had to find tenants. After screening many people we chose a couple who told us they were childless and no pets save one cat. They were two younger ladies. We have since found out, after their move in, that one of them has a teen daughter and a 10 year old son. There are THREE cats and also a large dog.

The other day we went to the place as we were deciding that we had to sell the property. I was accousted by a wretched odor of animal urine when I opened the door. The house was SO destroyed and so filthy that I was unable to go upstairs or into the finished basement. The real estate agent told me we could now not expect to get more than we currently owe on the house.

So, now we have decided that after knowing we cannot sell it, we need to get tenants who can pay the rent and take better care of it. However, we have found out that as the owners we have almost NO rights. The tenants need an official letter before the start of a month telling them they have one month to vacate. We sent such a letter certified last month but they purposefully did not go to sign for it. Our lawyers now tell us this qualifies that they do not have the letter and we have to start again.

After such a letter is served (now giving them a third month of free rent) we will have to go to a court house in one town and pay for paperwork. We then fill out this paperwork go to another town Sherriff office and pay the sheriff's office $195 to serve the official letter. Then we take more paperwork back to the other town and pay $365 to have the paperwork filed. And after all this, we are told, the tenants can still ‘call for more paperwork’ and get an additional two weeks out of the next month.

Here we see another case of the odd system in which we live. We, struggling middle class, are hit left and right with money to have to pay to get out people who will NOT pay to live on our property. I was told, however, if we let the house go into foreclosure and we lived there, it would be very easy to get US, the owners, out.

It seems that again the large bodies always are protected while those who struggle in the middle, pay their taxes, and try to be ‘good’ citizens are always left holding the bag. For example, why is it that our sheriff's office, who receives money from our taxes to exist, should then be paid on top of that to simply follow through with upholding a legal action, such as serving a notice to quit? And why do we pay more taxes to town offices (again run by tax money) to file and do the work they are already paid to do by the taxes?

This has been, to say the least, a very trying year for us. I have tried and somewhat successfully allowed myself to take the higher emotional ground and to face problems with logic and reason. To give my anger and frustration a day to rest before addressing solutions. There is little we can now do but follow the rules set down for us, despite their being rather unfair and weighted on the side of those who choose to live a deadbeat/parastic lifestyle. And I think, what of those poor children, they are simply learning more of this “Do what you want and you will be protected” lifestyle. Why would anyone who realizes these things want to take the road of home ownership and being a responsible citizen. Such lessons are not even taught in school any longer. There are lessons on ignoring one another's cultural differences (Which to me does not ‘celebrate’ diversity but rather ignores it) yet increasing violence and lower test scores continue in our public school system.

I wish to close here with these educational films ‘Control your emotions’ which would be laughed at in today’s school. Instead we are told to over evaluate our feelings, punch pillows to ‘let out our anger’ and focus on the ME. This seems to be an extreme situation that has created endless ME’s and not WE’s. There is little concern for we as a society or how things affect us as a whole and all about how wonderful and important ME is. Rather sad, if you ask me.

I hope this post is not too negative for any of you and if it is so, I do apologize. I hope you all have a lovely day.

I think I shall go and keep myself busy with the garden and the kitchen to allow myself to focus on what I can control now and make good, while I can deal with all the rest as it comes up and is needed. No point in dwelling. And thank you all for listening to my rather mundane story of woe.

Happy Homemaking. Now enjoy this film. And check out the film in today’s Daily Vintage News below entitled, “Am I Trustworthy”. Perhaps I should show that film to any future prospective tenants.


  1. It sounds as though renters/landlords rights vary from state to state. In Texas, its the landlords that have all of the clout.

    I do think that analyzing and expressing one's emotions can be beneficial. I think in some cases, rather than yielding an entitled attitude, understand one's emotions can lead to greater empathy, I.E.

    Likewise expressing one's emotions can lead to better communication and more equitable relationships. My marriage is the most successful when I tell my husband why I'm upset, rather than bottling it up.

    That being said, emotions should be expressed in a courteous manner and one should be prepared to be accountable for one's actions. And that appears to be lacking in present day.

    Keep up the good work. I enjoy your blog very much!

  2. How very frustrating!

    I agree with Miranda about how expressing emotion can lead to better communication but seems to be lacking in the present day. There is a time and a way to express our emotions (when we're so furious we can't even think straight it is best not to share those feelings--the other person knows we are angry). If we aren't careful about expressing our emotions, we can end up with a major case of "regret-itous."

    I think modern technology has made regret-itous and epidemic.

  3. I don't know about the laws in your states, but my parents had much the same happen to them in MI and they were allowed to sue the renters in small claims court for the unpaid rents, and the costs of evicting them. Keep close track of everything. And find out. You should sue them if you are allowed. It is your money they are stealing. It will cost you to fix the home up to rentable condition again, all the court costs, filing fees, and possible attorney fees. Best of Luck in it all.

  4. Miranda-quite true. I feel, for myself at least, that expressing how one is feeling or how one feels due to another's reactions (as in a relationship) is so key. My hubby and I are very good about expressing it at the moment and saying, "Well, this makes me feel like this" and we discuss it. Just ranting and raving and shouting to hear one's own point (which we already know) and not willing to listen to the others point (which we don't know) is really the problem. I see many people today who seem to think their opinion is SO important that a true resolution of a problem or even a persons emotional and spiritual growth is hindered by not seeing another point of view or taking it on.
    Mr. Julie-I agree that the easy of typing ill timed anger or silly rudeness and hitting 'enter' is so easy, that it IS an epidemic. Being a cyber bully takes NO guts what so ever and yet is still quite hurtful. That is why I have always tried to take other comments into consideration so that we never end up in a comment fight. I am not always right and no I have MUCH room for improvement and often how we listen and consider others is an important part of becoming a better human and indeed learning to work and live together.

  5. lori-We can take them to court, but honestly, I am not sure that if we won, they would even have anything to pay us with. Then we would have all our legal fees and even less money. I am not certain. I just hate the idea of court. I just want people to deal with one another honestly and fairly, but that seems to not very often be the case.

  6. I am so sorry you are going through this. There are so many people in your situation, it does seem like those who don't do the right thing get the rewards, time and again. I hope that they will sign for their letter-the fact that they didn't leads me to believe they have done this before-and you can start the process. If they won't sign for it, could you get a process server to serve it for you? (I know, more money, but if worse comes to worse) Your post was not at all too negative, it is good you can share with us what is going on. Hang in there 50's girl.
    Thinking of you,
    Barb in CNY

  7. I also suggest getting a process server to deliver the letter. It may be worth it in this case to not have to go through the delays of certified mail.

  8. Donna, I'm so sorry to hear about your horrible situation. I know of a nearby home that is being repossessed and the situation is very similar including the overpowering pet urine smell in every room. The bank who is doing the repossessing plans to clean the hardwood floors with bleach, put Kilz on the walls and repaint. That's a lot of work, but its the only thing they can do to be able to put the house on the market.
    I have heard the 50s referred to as a time of "repression", but like so many commenters have said, there is a time and place for everything. In many circumstances, a little repression would be refreshing. On the other hand, it's a good thing for families to have problem solving skills and the ability to discuss their issues.
    Again, I'm so sorry for your struggles.........Denise


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