It Can (and Probably Will) Be Worse

Charlie thinks it’s because he made a post on Facebook announcing our move. I think it’s because I told someone a week ago, “Well, things can’t possibly get any worse for us than they are right now.” Either way, if you are a superstitious person, then one of us has brought down the wrath of the fates. Today our landlord in Chicago, Dave, sent Charlie a text that read something like, “I have some news that will benefit the both of us. Give me a call when you can.”

Let me also mention that today is a national holiday, when most Americans are otherwise engaged in some sort of alcohol- and/or grilling-based activities. So. Bad timing on Dave’s part, who proceeded to tell Charlie that he has sold the two-unit building we were moving into. The house he grew up in, the house he raised his son in, the house we have been planning on relocating back to for the past couple of months at least.

It’s been since April that Dave and I have communicated about coming back and when. He knows about my job, school, Bea’s school, and the baby’s daycare choices. We have a pediatrician there. We had their shot records forwarded. I have changed our address with the USPS. I have switched our internet and cable provider. I have accepted a job and offer from my alma mater. I have promised Bea that we will be in the same place (just on the first floor instead of the second) in twenty-four nights, and that she will go to the same school as her friends from preschool. We have reserved a truck and movers to help us unload there.

Dave swears up and down that the new owner is a great guy, super relaxed, and this guy knows we’re moving in, plus how much we’re supposed to be paying. Chris, the new owner, closes “next week. The week after at the latest. It’s basically just a handshake,” he says, and we don’t need to worry about some weird legal stuff cropping up. Everything is taken care of, says Dave, and Chris isn’t going to raise the rent on us. That doesn’t stop me from feeling like I’m going to throw up. We have nothing on paper, no guarantees, just Dave’s word that it’s all going to be okay. I think, at one point, Charlie started to cry.

We’ve had to weather so much together, and especially the past year, when we’ve had to feed our kids with SNAP benefits, get them to daycare with CCDF vouchers, and live off pennies every day, sometimes unable to put gas in the car or make that auto payment. Our insurance has dropped us, our last month’s rent here is now four days late, and I’m down to just one part-time job before we were supposed to move.

I have no idea what will happen next. I just know that it can get worse.

Edited to add: We have spoken to the new landlord. His plan is to gut the house and he doesn’t want tenants while that happens. He knows it will take time to secure proper permits and permission, so he’s allowing us to sign a three-month lease, then go month-to-month thereafter. Apparently Dave told him that we were “interested,” not that he’d told us via text that the place was ours on July 30th. I hate the idea of moving again in four months, but I’d rather have 90 days to find a place than twenty days. If that’s what we end up having to do, then we just won’t unpack a lot of boxes.