Sign on the X
The one where Anthony moved in.
So, over the past few months, life’s thrown a few banana peels at us and we’ve had to steer our Mario Kart cars rather quickly to stay on Rainbow Road. One such hiccup? The condo Anthony was renting was put on the market by his landlord and it put a conversation we’d been having front and center: should he stay or should he go, now?
Well, on a number of fronts, it made sense for him to pack up his belongings (God damn, he fit a LOT of shit into a 500+ square foot apartment in two years) and make the move from the Granite State to little ole Rhody.
We spent a few days over the long weekend furiously packing up his apartment (it’s not done yet - moving help is most welcome!) and shuttling carloads down to Rhode Island. And aside from the few phone calls to catch up with friends and my car karaoke sessions, the hours of driving gave me some time to reflect on the gravity of what’s happening.
If you don’t know me well and are new to my story, here’s a quick recap:
Stayed home from my dream school (The Ohio State University) to attend locally and make things work with my now ex-husband whom I had just begun dating.
Lived at home throughout college to save up for a glamorous wedding.
Moved from my parents’ pad right into my ex’s apartment.
We bought two houses over the course of our marriage, I banged out 2 kids, and we divorced after 10 years.
I purchased a 3-bedroom house, aka my Divorce Digs, right after our split.
I purchased, gutted, and renovated another house 2 years later and turned it into our forever home (with no plans to add anyone to the mix).
What that means: I NEVER LIVED ALONE UNTIL AFTER I SIGNED THE DIVORCE PAPERS. AT AGE 32. And after ten years of living with someone else and having them weigh in on EVERY single decision pertaining to the house, the liberation and freedom of living solo was most welcome. I was happy as a mama binge-watching her favorite Netflix shows, snacks in hand, after everyone’s gone to bed. And some nights, that’s exactly what I did.
The idea of now sharing my sacred space with another three people is nerve-wracking and giving me a bit of anxiety. I’ve spent so much time and energy fighting for my freedom and independence and building up this house to be a home, it’s not easy to just offer up the keys - to the house, to my sanity, to my sanctuary.
A friend asked me recently if I would be giving Anthony a lease agreement. And while the thought hadn’t crossed my mind, I decided I’d draft one here. So, here’s what I propose to give him before his final unloading:
This rental agreement is entered into on the 20th of July between Anthony (tenant) and Nicole (landlord) at the address known henceforth as Nicole’s Lair.
WHEREAS the landlord desires to extend a shared lease of the Property defined herein under the terms and conditions set forth and detailed below:
Agrees to pay portion of mortgage and all utilities as agreed upon
Absorbs all responsibility of outdoor maintenance, included but not limited to: mowing, weed-whacking, weeding, painting, power-washing, snow removal, distribution of ice melt, insect removal and prevention, gardening, painting, fence maintenance, fertilizing and generic lawn care
Removes shoes upon entrance of home & returns them to shared portion of closet nightly
Returns all glasses, mugs, bowls, plates to dishwasher upon completion of usage (or sink if dishwasher is clean)
Rinses all beard hairs from vanity countertop after each trimming
Agrees to NEVER speak of ghost sightings in our home again. Ever. Your stay here could be temporary and if you leave it’ll just be me stuck here with a ghost and my terrible paranoia.
Always offers the preferred “spot” on the couch to me first (the “spot” identified as the chaise).
Places all hangers in the closet like a NORMAL person - with the hook facing the wall, not out.
Acknowledges that all dirty clothing that does not make it into the hamper will be disposed of if still there after 2 hours.
Will wipe off all toothpaste splatters from the mirror immediately after brushing (with Windex!).
Replenishes the chocolate stash weekly with the preferred favorites (Reese's, Snickers, and Swedish Fish will earn you bedroom favors)
Assumes responsibility for cooking a big country breakfast at least once a month when all children are present.
Promises to be home in time for a family dinner at least three times a week.
Commits to a minimum of 3 Sexy Nights a week
Agrees to pay mortgage and all utilities on time.
Absorbs all responsibility of all indoor cleaning, included but not limited to: mopping, Swiffering, dusting, cleaning all glass surfaces, sanitizing all countertops and vanities, shower/tub scrubbing, vacuuming, and organization of all pantries/closets/cabinets
Completes all cleaning and folding of laundry
Changes sheets weekly on all bedding
Loads and empties dishwasher on a twice weekly basis
Agrees never to leave excess hair on bathroom shower walls or in drain
Vouches to purchase all groceries, including healthy and sugar-free options for meals and snacks
Provides weekly back-rub to de-stress you from your four-hour daily commute.
Promises not to allow OCD tendencies to interfere with your attempts to “help” around the house and will refrain from excessive nagging about how you’re not “doing it right.”
Plans and prepares most dinner options (please note, take-out is a viable dinner option) and pledges to weigh in and avoid indecisiveness
Will refrain from any “low blows” or sarcastic remarks prior to first coffee consumption
Commits to being the combined family “memory” and tracking all important events, appointments, outings, noteworthy dates, holidays, and celebratory occasions
Will attempt (I’m a work in progress, it ain’t going to happen overnight) to make room for your decor and all significant mementos within my impeccably curated and designed house, no matter how much it “doesn’t match.”
Pledges to time bathroom usage so as to keep up pretenses that I do not go #2 (Same goes for all bodily gas releases).
Vows to keep the messy bun/leggings/mom PJs look to a minimum and will continue to “try,” as my mood/hormones/children/life events allow it.
Agrees to henceforth refer to it as “our home,” “our bed,” “our yard,” etc. - except in cases where egregious errors have been committed and reminder of Boss Bish/I Wear the Pants energy is necessary and warranted.
Will permit shared responsibility of above-mentioned “Pants Wearing,” except when I do it better.
This lease will expire on the 20th of January, at which time your agreement will be reviewed and both Landlord and Tenant will determine if a renewal is warranted. If one, or both, parties decide the agreement is no longer beneficial, you will vacate the premises within 6 weeks, taking only your belongings and all ghosts with you.
Folks, pray for the man who is crazy enough to willingly sign off on this. He’s going to need it. And if you have any, er, amendments we should consider adding to our Leasing Agreement, feel free to drop me a comment!