Puffy red hair with a healthy fear of door knobs

With drab red puffy hair slightly off-center, round and wobbly, my landlord is an disoriented elderly Portuguese single woman who is certain that the mob is out to get her. Out to break into her little apartment and steal all her priceless painting of random crying children, pawn off her broken appliances that she can’t bear to throw out and of course, kill her. So certain is she that if you were to walk to Johnny’s Food Master for a carton of eggs at 11am on a Tuesday, you would return to not only find the door knob locked but the deadbolt too! This means that every time someone exits the house, she is literally waiting by her door to hobble out into the common room (kind of like a mud room with carpet and old incense) and turn every possible lock to protect what’s hers…. at 11am in the morning. Also, she has a tornado basement which has turned into a windowless, overcrowded layer. We’ll hear her tinking around and once, when I needed to trip a kitchen fuse, I had to go into her lair in search of the fuse box. The place was stuffed with useless crap: Old, flat shoes, strings and candles, plastic flowers and jars, the basic crazy hording lady items.

On another note, Nick won’t work on our cars anymore. Everytime he lugs his tools down to the street to fix either our Jetta or BMW, Maria – that’s her name – will hear him and find a chore for my honey to complete.

“Nih-kee? Whell you takeey look at my car-ee battery? Es no workee. I called dah mans but he never show up.”

What did she do BEFORE Nih-kee signed a lease to live on her third floor? Now, she’s elderly and simple so of course he helps her out. We both do.

Dis is how I sweepee dah snow

All winter we shoveled her driveway since Maria wasn’t physically or psychologically available to accomplish the task (she tried sweeping 2ft of snow off her driveway, which worked completely). Those of you from Massachusetts remember that we had THREE snow emergencies, rendering the streets useless and yielding over 13 inches of snow each time. It became a HUGE burden to dig out Maria’s useless car from a driveway neither of us are allowed to utilize.

When it’s not snowing, Nick graciously agrees to help her when he has a moment, but sometimes he only has an hour to fix his car. Therefore, trying to figure out why Maria’s 12 year-old car is sputtering really isn’t on the his list of favorite things. You have to PAY people to fix things for you. We have a broken  front window pane. It’s been broken since we moved in and Maria told us she had a “guys to workee but he don’t come so I dunno.” How is this confusing?! You HIRE ANOTHER GUY TO WORKEE and get the window fixed for your tenants. Whatever, since it’s never gonna get fixed, we simply don’t open that window. Things typically don’t come for free, unless you’re Maria. Then sometimes they do… especially when you hear strapping young men coming down the stairs with a tool box and wearing oil-stained jeans. Then, everything is free!

I'm serious, SHEER terror.

Her car causes me no end of fright and amusement. Maria is terrified to drive and rightly so. She’s old and shaky, which gives her NO business operating a motor vehicle! I park my car out on the street and occasionally, I’ll catch Maria trying to drive out of her little driveway. She’ll be gripping the wheel like it’s a life ring from the Titanic. She won’t smile or wave to me, as that would break her concentration. The car sits and idles for at least ten minutes, warming up. Eyes never leaving the road, she attempts to move forward. Fail. The car reverses a few feet. CORRECTION! BRAKES SHRIEK!… Re-group, now ready. Again, she slowly allows her silly white car to venture closer towards the road. Closer, closer, STOP!!!!!!…. I imagine she was checking the rearview mirror to make sure those pesky mobsters weren’t already unlocking all three locks on the front door to steal her priceless china chat figurines.

Any Mobster would obviously take THESE babies!

Nope, her wall-to-wall carpeted apartment is secure. Maria prepares to enter the road, out in the open, where things happen! She slowly exits the driveway and her car crawls towards the left as she successfully leaves the place she’s lived for decades. You’d think by her comical departure that this was a first time out of the nest.

We pay our fuddy-duddy landlady a nice chunk of change each month for rent and I have to say, I’m going to start sliding that cheque-laden envelope under her door later and later each month. In April, we wrote Maria two cheques on the 3rd. They weren’t deposited until the 10th, which kinda messes with my book-keeping. I didn’t say anything to her because I figured with the panic that driving causes, perhaps Maria had to wait for her sister to pick her up or something. However, the month of May has brought a new, more serious annoyance to my bank account. We signed our cheques over on May 2nd and still, to this very day, May 15th, the crazy woman hasn’t cashed them! I’ve called my bank twice, and considered cancelling the cheque but I guess it’s like, $40 to so and I refrained. Instead, yesterday I matched downstairs to knock on Maria’s apartment door.

Knock Knock Knock.

I heard fussing behind the door, heavy and cautious foot steps. Finally, I could tell she was at the door, looking through the peep-hole. Silence. I knocked again. She was definitely still there, deciding whether to open the door for such a stranger. Then, I heard her walk away from the door!!! Please remember, gentle reader, that the ONLY WAY you can get into this house is with a key and you must unlock three heavy-duty locks. Therefore, the ONLY PERSON knocking on crazy’s door would be, by reason of deduction, a key-holding tenant. Incredible. I knocked a third time, but this time, like I meant it. Again, her footsteps neared the door and a second look through the peep-hole. Finally, she unlocked her door chain, her dead bolt and her door knob to open the damn door.

“Yessy?” Maria looked at me in sheer terror and bewilderment.

“Hi, Maria. Hey, could you please deposit the rent cheques the Nick and I wrote you? It’s the 14th and I would appreciate it.”

“Well, I go to the bankee yesterday to cashee your husband’s cheque but the bankee (enter inaudible excuse here)…. so”

“Okay, well please deposit my cheque too when you get a moment. Thanks Maria!”

“Okay have a gewd day.”


So, I just learned two new things out crazy ole Maria: 1. She believes Nick and I are married regardless of the noticably absent diamond on my finger and 2. Maria is only capable of depositing one cheque at a time because she uses TWO different banks. Inevitably, another protective measure to keep her finances safe from lurking mobsters.


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One Response to “Puffy red hair with a healthy fear of door knobs”

  1. Today, we salute you, Mr. Mini Golf Course Yard Decor Man! « Lersif Says:

    […] don’t have a yard. Remember, Maria paved everything for safety. However, if I did have a yard, I most certainly wouldn’t stuff it full of Mother Mary, […]

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