Friends and real estate

Mads, Kumudu, me, Romain

Best of all, I got to catch up with some friends, and my new cousin. In the photo from the left is Mads (Madhawa Palihapitiya), his wife Kumudu Mali (which means something like petite, beautiful lotus – and it suits her!), me, and Romain.

Kumudu suggested dinner at an awesome place in Cambridge called Fire and Ice. Along the lines of those Japanese places where they cook at your table, this one had a giant round table of Camelot, only it is entirely a griddle, manned by four cooks. There is a round counter all around the outside, and guests stood outside the counter. First, we took our small bowl and crammed it full of as much food as we could from the fresh food packed on ice. Veggies and meats galore – and even tofu! I threw together seafood, bacon (everything’s better with bacon), squash and mushrooms, with a bunch of other small stuff too. You can pick up a cup of sauce too. Then line up counter-clockwise behind the last person at the counter. A cook picks up your bowl and tosses it at the griddle, then shapes the pile into a wedge as it fries. After a few minutes they grab the sauce and splash it across your food. Each new pile goes at the end on the right. Each cooked pile gets scooped onto a plate off the left end. So you can see how it all moves around in a slow, fascinating circle. At one point there were probably 35 people standing around the counter. Cool! There are four salad-bar sized stations loaded with fresh stuff to cook or just to eat raw, if you get a salad too – which I did. Let no one accuse me of being shy of food!

It was great to meet Kumudu and such a delight to share time with Mads and Romain again. I haven’t seen them for a year. They were both in my International Mediation class at Brandeis.

My best, best, best Massachusetts friend is Elisia, and I never did get to see her properly. Brand new momma and already back at work full time because they need her so badly. We were both busy all day and I was usually pulled in several directions in the evenings. Everyone wanted a visit. That helped with lodging (wink). But I did have Romain speed over to the Brandeis train station when I knew she would show up. I ran and burst onto the platform but she wasn’t there. The people who remembered me laughed and said, “She’ll be on her way.” So we looked down the tracks and there she was in the distance. So I *ran* down the side of the tracks to meet her and, then, because the bend in the tracks was straightening out, I saw I was on the wrong side and there’s a fence in between inbound and outbound. I *ran* all the way back to the platform and crossed the tracks and *ran* back down the other side and finally flew to her, gasping and giggling. Luckily, it had the proper effect, and she saw how much I adore her even though I couldn’t find time to visit her at home. We shared as much as we could in 10 minutes till the train came and whisked her away.

I stayed one night with Shawn, one with Mark’s dad and stepmother way out in the lovely countryside of west-central Mass. One night with his mother in her lovely garden oasis in the city of Boston, and then it was time to fly home.

The tenant really was on her way out as I hoped (see previous entry). She suspected I was going to evict her soon, and was trying to get out before I got there to avoid a confrontation. The house was mostly empty, and she was cleaning! I’m out over $6000 in what she owes me, but the house is in good shape, she’s out, and she did a great job cleaning. Whew!

She told me a sad story about how hard her life has been, and that she’s got avoidance issues and wouldn’t call me because she was afraid I’d tell her to get out. Hm. I am sad that her life is so hard. Unfortunately, our relationship has turned from a friendship to a business relationship; and as her associate, I am forced not to care. My life isn’t so rosy that I can afford to support her household as well as mine. She entered into an agreement and failed her responsibility. I am sad that it went that way. I am a good person…if only she had called me and suggested a comprimise I would have been the softest landlord on earth. WHY is it so hard for people to attempt simple communication? Anyone with a little resolve can do it and it works miracles, if only we could talk to each other.

The power had been shut off, so I got that back into my name and turned it back on. The oil tank had been drained dry, so I had them refill it and re-light the pilot light on the furnace. I installed a carbon monoxide detector, filled holes in the walls and did a little touch-up paint. The place is in amazingly good shape. Most of the custom-built window-coverings are gone. Ummmm…. how do those get lost, exactly? The garage-door openers are gone. There are a few scuffs. The family room carpet was a disaster, but Thursday she brought in a professional carpet cleaner and now they look fine. How LUCKY am I? I mean really. It could have been so bad.

I had already been in touch with a realtor who met me there the last day and she took pictures and I signed a contract and the house is on the market as of yesterday.

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