Monday, October 16, 2017

I'm Blocked!

That could lead you to believe one of several maladies.  This one happens to be writer's block.  I've been working on my presentation for Ecuador and I got a bit stuck.   Sure, there is a myriad of webpages, Wikis, books I've read, personal and teaching experience and more but once in awhile it requires a time out.  

This is my time out.  I'm presenting CLIL.   You can go look it up if you want and discover that it is a very broad subject and its interpretation is even more than that.  There's soft CLIL, hard CLIL and a list of CLIL acronyms in between.  That may be gibberish to some of you but to me this is what I do. 

Now for my break.  We came, we saw and we conquered.  The drive to San Antonio was long, tedious, but fun as we yuked it up along the way as Little Bit slept for seven hours.   When we arrived to the house I called the police and the locksmith.   The police were witnesses to the locksmith opening the door to the house to make sure there were no belongings in there and if a security alarm should go off there wouldn't be patrol cars out front with guns drawn. 

The house was filthy dirty to put it mildly.  We decided not to spend money on a hotel since the power was still on.   We packed an air mattress, pillows, sheets and blankets along with coffee service for the mornings and our favorite music.  The first order of business was to clean a room and the bathroom so we could work from there.  We chose the living room as it was the cleanest and of course the one bathroom the house has.  Yes, this house dates back to 1956 and then, three bedrooms and one bath was the in thing.   We cleaned up as much as we could and hit the hay.

Friday, I headed off to the CPS which manages the power and gas.   They closed the tentants' account and then informed me that there was a $334 deposit I had to pay based on usage.  Who in the heck spends $150 a month on electricity?  We cringe when the bill comes in at $40 for a two-month billing.  Anyway, I wasn't a happy camper and she began to get personal about the tenants and  why they used so much power and abandoned the house.  She asked me where I was from and the conversation turned to speaking in Spanish.  We finished the deal and I asked her, "Can the deposit be paid in payments without interest?"  She said, "don't worry, I've waived the deposit".  Yes!

The rest of the day and Saturday was spent on cleaning and more cleaning.  Trash everywhere, cigarette burns on the carpet in one bedroom and dog poop in another.  It was obvious it was done purposely as they dumped the cat litter box on the floor as well.  Pigs.

It was a great weekend, we worked as a team and got it done.  Now, we need paint and to re-tile the bathroom shower.   The house has a new roof and a new central A/C so that is a great selling point.  Other than filth and trash it wasn't all so bad.  They violated the lease by smoking, having pets, and renting out an additional bedroom.   Had they left the place clean, kept in touch with me, they would have received $1000 minus any minor repairs.  Too bad.

We came home Sunday afternoon and both of us with back and leg problems.  Not from the work but from that damned air mattress.  Thank goodness for rvs.  


  1. Glad to hear that most of the mess was just surface dirt and that there wasn't any major damage. It is too bad that people can't treat other people's property with more respect.

  2. Chris -- Been there, done that with rental houses. Now you know why they abandoned the house without notice! I had one instance where the prior renters tried to return a year later to retrieve their deposit; and when I showed them the photos I took (to refresh their memory) when I entered the house and reminded them of the violations of the lease by keeping animals and evidence of using part of the house as a place business, their attorney backed off. Never heard from him again. My deepest sympathies and hope all works out well for you.

  3. I guess one can always look at it as it could always be worse re your house in San Antonio. Still, what disrespect. I'm sorry.

    I was not familiar with CLIL so have just read several articles about it. Very interesting. I admit as one who is just taking the first baby steps in learning Spanish they left me feeling a bit intimidated. If I was presented a lesson as such... yikes. At this point I feel I would flounder but maybe not? This was the most helpful article in terms of making me understand CLIL and it made it sound like an interesting concept from a student's point of view.

  4. I have always been interested in owning rental property, but hearing people's stories has changed my mind. It is for that same reason that many investors now just hold real estate without renting it. Especially in greater Vancouver where the market goes up regardless of having a tenant...

  5. Hi Peter. It's really all about management. If we didn't live 350 miles and a country away, it would be much easier. It is truly a good investment. We've only spent a total of $5000 in 10 years out of a maintenance budget total of $9600. The payment makes the house payment plus property tax and insurance. It has been a great tax write off. What would we do differently if we did leave near our property? I would require a 90 day inspection throughout the lease to keep up on lease requirements and minor repairs. Why don't we have rental property in Mexico? Easy. Like many states in the U.S., the law is on the side of the tenant. In Texas, the law favors the landlord. I can do an eviction with notice in 10 days. We may do it again but in McAllen so that we can be there in half the time without border crossing permits.

    1. "eviction with notice in 10 days." Yes, Texas IS landlord favored! In South Carolina, it is (or it was in the 1990s) 90 days.

    2. I believe in British Columbia, maybe all of Canada, you cannot evict anyone in the winter, period. Even if they don't pay their rent.