Archive for June, 2011

Potential Tenants

June 11 2011

Since I will be spending time in Austria again next year, I decided to rent out my house again.  I’ve been searching for the right tenant since late April.  Yesterday, I finally received the deposit and signed lease from the new tenants.  I am very happy about them moving into the house.  The search was a bit ridiculous though.

In order to advertise, I use Craigslist, DurhamRent.com, DukeList, and Duke community housing.  Craigslist always has a few response of people saying they are “very interested” and all I need to do is to send them all of my personal information and they will have their father, who is living in London, transfer me the money.  Usually, the responder is doing some volunteer work in Africa or something.  These emails get ignored.  As for the Duke community housing website, I am so confused about how it works.  They just redid the site and I never know if my ad is actually posted or not because the navigation is so confusing for me.  For a while, I had my office number listed there and did not know how to change it; poor Susanna and Jason kept receiving phone calls from interested people.  DukeList is pretty good, but has very little traffic.  My favorite of all of the places that I have advertised is DurhamRent.com.  I had to pay to use this service ($45 for the year), but I get good leads from them.  In fact, the tenants who just moved out found me through DurhamRent.com.  The company was started by someone from Chapel Hill or Carrboro in 2003, and now it is a pretty big company (hometownrent.com) in many cities.

This time around I screened more people than usual for renting the room.  Perhaps this was because I was interested in renting out both rooms (either separately or as a unit).  Twenty applicants made it onto my Google docs spreadsheet, and many others didn’t even make it that far.  Living in Austria during this time made it a little more difficult than usual, but Dave, Darrell, and Brian helped me out by showing potential tenants the house.  To exemplify how frustrating this process can be, let me describe a few applicants to you.  I will use their initials to avoid fully identifying them.

When talking about the terms of the rental, JC told me:

I’m still interested in the room but I’m really not looking to sign a lease

She won’t sign a lease?  Like fun will I let her move into my house!

NC sent me 14 emails with a grand total of  249 words (and I am being generous at what I consider words).  No email was sent with a subject, many words were misspelled, and no punctuation was used except for a period to end a sentence (but never the last sentence).  My fully articulated emails in response to NC never invoked her to send me a proper email in response.

AP, a Duke student, was supposed to meet Dave and Darrell at the house.  She sent me an email shortly before she was supposed to be at the house (after Dave and Darrell were already there).  She was unable to come because:

I’m sorry but I won’t be able to make the 6 45 appointment. My aunt who lives in Durham told me today that she is leaving for Africa for 9 months. I know it sounds ridiculous but she keeps insisting that I come because she won’t be able to see me during the said time. Unfortunately my mother and I plan to leave early tomorrow morning and will not have time to see the apartment anytime tomorrow.

Then, she decided that she was not interested because:

Sorry for the wait.  I was able to present to my dad a power point justifying my off campus housing option.  He would like me to live in a single room.  For him safety, price, and location are most important, in that order.  Unfortunately he doesn’t like the idea of me sharing such a large common area with another roommate as cleaning will be a problem.  I’m sorry and good luck on your search!

I’m not sure if the need to clean your house falls under safety, price, or location.

HW was an angry person who found me on Craigslist.  She never used punctuation, and all emails were short, rude, and one sentence.  The favorite part of any email I received from HW was:

good luck and hope you find another dummy because sorry she’s not here and be careful because if unit is not yours you just may be breaking landlord codes for the state of nc and somebody is going to sue, may want to check that.

After assuring her that I was not breaking any laws (even if I didn’t own the house, I am not breaking any laws), she claimed to be “licensed”.  I am not sure what she is licensed in, but I think she was trying to imply it was in Real Estate.  I find that hard to believe, as she told me things that were just wrong.  I believe that she has a driver’s license.  That must be what she is licensed in, driving.  At least she is not a liar.

Finally, there was ED, who gave my email out on some website, since I received an email entitled: “ED has invited you to ShoeDazzle”.  How rude!  I sent her a courtesy email saying “Did you know that ShoeDazzle says that you invited me?”, giving her the benefit of the doubt that her computer had a virus or something.  I received no response.

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First IST Austria Poker Night

June 10 2011

Morten and I bought 500 poker chips online. Then, we organized a poker game. We had a 5 Euro buy-in and 1 cent / 2 cent blinds. The game started at 19:00 and just ended (around 00:00). We has seven people in total play. We wanted to keep the game “friendly” so we never raised the blinds and we had a pot limit on the raises. Of all the people playing tonight, I was the biggest winner. I left with 13 Euros (+8 Euros)! Go me!

On another note, today I was working from coffee shops in Vienna. First, I was at Cafe Ritter on Mariahilfer Straße. The tea came in a pot and the Goulash soup was pretty good.  The only problem was that you had to go through their smoking section in order to get to their bathrooms.  Then, we went to Akakiko on the top of a tall building, again on  Mariahilfer Straße.  The food we decent, and the view was very pleasant.  The removal of the smokers on the rooftop terrace could have made this experience a bit nicer though.  Finally, we attempted to go to one of my favorite bagel shops, Bagel Station.  However, this place has closed and Campus Suite has opened in its place.  Although they don’t serve bagels, their iced tea was decent.  I was also eyeing a caramel apple torte, but I did not try it.  Perhaps next time …

Accidental Profile Picture

June 8 2011

I decided to take a photo of my scraped up hip to show it off to a few people. I didn’t know how to best take the photo since my camera is currently not charged (and I can’t find the charger). So, I decided to take the photo with the camera on Skype. Little did I know that this changed my profile picture on Skype! So, for the past few days, I have been showing off my hip to whomever saw me on Skype. I discovered this because my German tutor questioned the photo. How embarrassing!

Credit Card Bills

June 7 2011

Last week I received a credit card bill in my email. I avoided opening it until just now. And, I owe $0!!! (I forgot that I already paid my bill with my overseas flight). I feel rich! Well, maybe a more accurate statement is “I don’t feel poor now.”

Austrian Lacrosse Open

June 4 2011

This weekend is the Austrian Lacrosse Open. We had two games today and two games yesterday. We lost our first two games against the Global Players and the Hatch Eye Hawks (England). We won against Passau, which put us in 3rd of the four teams in our group. Unfortunately, we lost our first tournament game against the Vienna Monarchs. Our final game will be tomorrow, again against Passau. Although I would have loved to see us win against the Monarchs, I think that our team played well together so far. I felt that we really played hard in all of our games. Let’s hope for another victory tomorrow though so we can end this tournament on a good note!

Of course, no tournament goes without any injuries inflicted on me. The first one was quite spectacular. I was running full speed and my defender (not purposefully I hope) tripped me, causing me to go FLYING on the grass. After I landed on the grass and realized that I was still moving forward, I was very confused. I stood up, still pretty confused, and tried to regain focus on the game when one of my teammates yelled “uh, Brit, do you need a sub?” I thought for a second and realized I was out of breath from the fall and could use a second or two to regain composure, so I had a sub come in for me. Then, I look at my forearm and my hip and realize that both have very large grass burn on them. I had to go to the first aid bench to get wrapped up so I could play again. The second injury is a heart shaped bruise on my arm. The third injury is sunburn (even though I used sunscreen!) I can’t decide which of the three is the worst.

When the girls on the team are talking about things that have happened during the game, it is often in German. If I do not know what the topic is, I often try to focus long enough to figure out what they are talking about (and sometimes I can even do this before the conversation is over). But, if I know the topic, I find that I can understand 75% of what they are saying (maybe because hand gestures are used too, but I’d like to attribute it to my growing knowledge of German). The one thing that I love is when they talk about something that I did or that happened to me. When referring to me, they call me “die Brit” (the Brit). It makes me feel special. Also, when I am on the field, I often hear “Wer hat die Sieben? Ich habe die Sieben!” (Who has the 7? I have the 7!) I am number 7, so they were talking about me! Adding the word “die” (female form of the) in front of my name “Brit” or my number “7” just makes me feel special. (I am ok with the fact that everyone is special in German).