Thursday, June 27, 2019
This is a picture from my Germany trip -- a bus shelter near Waldbröl bearing smudged-out graffiti, which reads "Undank ist der welten lohn." Apparently that's a German expression translating roughly to "Ingratitude is the world's wage," or more commonly, "Nothing is so hard as man's ingratitude."
That expression fits my mood at the moment. We're trying to renegotiate the lease for our flat, and our landlord has agreed to a year-long extension. Which is a good thing. But she wants a new clause that will allow her to ask us to leave after eight months, with two months' notice. In other words, she could tell us in January, or any time after January, to vacate in two months.
Apparently it's not that unusual -- a lot of leases have these clauses, which are meant to give "flexibility" to both landlords and tenants. (We could also give her notice, under the same terms, that we want to leave.) But it still seems very squirrelly to me. What's the point of having a lease if it doesn't give both parties security?
I'm trying not to get too worked up about it. This is her place, after all. If she wants us out, we'd have to comply. But this change suggests she's at least thinking about taking repossession of the apartment.
And that sets off a whole cascade of anxiety for me. I'd hate to have to find another place in the middle of the school year, before the garden even comes into bloom next spring -- and around the time that Dave is wrestling with taking students on their annual Music Tour. That would be a drag. To put it mildly.
Still, I don't see that we have much of a choice. As I said, it's her place. We gotta roll with the punches. Maybe this is just a good reminder that even though we always pay rent reliably and on time, and we have improved this place tremendously with our repainting and gardening, we shouldn't get too comfortable here.
Then again, maybe she just wants flexibility in case Brexit causes huge fluctuations in the real estate market.
She's also increasing our rent by £10 per week, but I don't even care about that. She's never asked for an increase in the five years we've lived here, so I can choke that down without too much trouble.
In other news, yesterday Dave and I went to see "Rocketman," the Elton John biopic that came out recently. I didn't love it. It's a fanciful, glittery film, as one would expect, and very well-acted, but parts of it seem a little cringeworthy. (Singing children -- ugh.) I also didn't like the way it skewed the timeline of Elton's career -- introducing songs into the plot at times when, in actuality, they hadn't yet been written, for example. I would have preferred a more straightforward, accurate portrayal of Elton's career development. But it apparently got good reviews, so I may be the only one who feels this way.