We decided that an in person conversation with Mr. Wrong was needed. He agreed to meet us outside the apartment on the street. It started off friendly, at least the exchange between Tom and him did. I just stood there angrily staring him down, I was pregnant and very upset. Tom so nicely explained that we had been trying to help him find a place, which was true, but he was being very picky. Tom spent many nights searching apartment listings trying to find him a suitable home. Turns out, nothing was quite right. Either the neighborhood wasn't good enough, or the apartment wasn't nice enough, and he really wanted to stay nearby. I guess I could understand, I mean he had been there for 13 years, but he had since August to find a place. He was basically being priced out of his neighborhood, but so were we. We would have liked to buy on our quaint tree lined street, but we just couldn't afford it.
It takes a lot for me to get upset, or at least visibly upset. I was sort of trailing behind while Tom and Mr. Wrong walked down the block. I couldn't hear what they were saying over the bubbling anger in my head, but I assumed the conversation wasn't going anywhere quick enough. I just started yelling. Yelling at Mr. Wrong, telling him the obvious, he was living in our house, we were paying for him to live there while we lived on the streets. Of course we weren't really on the streets, our dear friends were taking us in, but some days it felt like it. He proceeded to yell back at me, quite a scene we caused walking down Washington Avenue. I laugh now thinking back on it.
A few more months passed by. I got bigger and bigger quickly, and more and more uncomfortable. We slept on anything ranging from the floor, to air mattresses, twin beds, pull out sofas, and even just sofas. Eventually we had to ship Addy off to Utah, we had a hard enough time asking people to take us in, let alone a dog. The Riches got in trouble for storing our stuff so we had to rent a storage unit for our junk for only $200 a month. It got difficult knowing that I only had the stuff that fit in my suitcase to keep me sane. We had to iron and re-iron the same clothes week after week. I at least had an excuse to buy some new things, I didn't fit into much for long periods of time.
By August we had stayed in at least 11 different homes of our friends. Some of them more than once.
Cliftons, Pulfer's, Palmer's, Butler's, Romney's, Moore's, Reynold's, Esposito/Heywood's, Polizotto's, Lindsay's, Riche's. I am sure I am forgetting some.
Things hadn't changed by August either with Mr. Wrong. After one particular phone call, we knew we were in for the long haul. In New York, tenants have crazy rights. They become legal occupants of a space if they are there over a certain amount of time, regardless of a contract or ownership. He became aware of this law at some point and told us in so many words that we would have take legal action if we wanted him out of the apartment.
Imaginably, this wasn't great news. We had heard of cases like this taking years to resolve. But we didn't have years, we had a couple months before there would be three of us. And we were growing very tired of no privacy, uncomfortable beds, eating out, and walking on glass all the time. Don't get me wrong, we owe the world to those that put us up, but after a while it begins to wear on everyone.
We found a lawyer, discussed our options, and decided to take him to court. We left it all in the hands of our lawyer. Our hopes were high, but let down quickly when we were told we needed to wait at least a few weeks for her to schedule the date. After we didn't hear from her after three weeks, we called and it shouldn't have surprised us at that point, but she "misplaced" the paperwork, and never sent it in. Great, add another month of waisted money and uncomfortable living to the pot. Sob. Sob. Sob. The soonest the court date at that point could be scheduled was for the first of October. And even then, this didn't automatically grant us the rights to the apartment. It could then go on for months after that.
Things started to look up a bit when a dear friend in the ward asked us if we wanted to stay at her place for a month while she traveled to Europe. This was music to our ears. A three bedroom apartment to ourselves for a month? It saved our sanity. We also ended up staying with her for at least another two months later down the road. She liked the company, and we liked not having to move ourselves around every weekend. She had enough space that we could kind of take over her living room at night, and when I had a day off in the week, I had the place to myself. I don't think I could have made it without her. I felt bad for her too. There were many nights she had to listen to my sobbing or yelling. Things just didn't seem to be happening for us, at least not quick enough.
The court date finally arrived. I made sure I wore the tightest shirt possible just so that my belly would be front and center. Mr. Wrong didn't have a lawyer representing him, and actually agreed to settle out of court. We settled on him moving out in a month, on the condition he didn't have to back pay us the $8,000 he owed us. The judge must have had sympathy on us too, she apparently didn't have a reputation for signing favoring landlords, she usually sided with tenants, giving them at minimum 2-6 months to vacate. We got ours down to a month, I guess the bump won her over. Our lawyer couldn't believe it, she insisted that someone was looking out for us. If that was true, it seemed a little late for that. He was to be out by November 12th if I remember right, and if he didn't the Marshall would drag him out. At least that's what we thought.