My sister has owned her home for several years (well, the bank owns it, but she thinks she owns it because she pays a mortgage), but this was my first visit. She moves around so much that I have been to a number of her residences, and even lived in one for a while.
Considering the heavenly amount that my sister pays for her house each month, more’s the pity that she can scarce enjoy it. She is only there on the weekends, as her current job is located about four hours’ drive away on California’s north coast. During her stints working at hospitals in places like Texas, Idaho, New Mexico and Ohio, my sister rented out her house through an agent. If she couldn’t live in it, at least let someone else pay the mortgage.
Now, however, my niece and her boyfriend live in my sister’s house — rent-free, I might add. They are both college students and have been for years. They are among those for whom college is not preparation for a career — it is a career. My sister is just happy that she doesn’t have to leave the house empty all week while she is away. The real reason that she allows those two to live there on the mooch is that my niece would otherwise still be living with her father. My sister will have none of that. My niece lived with her ex for quite long enough for her tastes.
Accordingly, my niece had the upper hand and was able to dictate the terms under which she would move in and perform housesitting duties:
- The boyfriend had to live there for free, too — package deal.
- They had to be assigned the large master bedroom. Otherwise, the boyfriend wouldn’t come and then neither would she.
- They had to have run of the house and not be expected to so much as pick up after themselves.
They got everything they wanted and then some. My sister rents out one of the small bedrooms to travelers through Airbnb; she’d get a lot more income if she rented out the master, but she was blackmailed out of that one. My niece was expected to at least clean the guest’s bathroom, but she refused to do even that. So my sister gets the pleasure of taking care of that task when she’s home briefly on the weekends.
Having run of the house, my niece and her boyfriend, who both enjoy cooking, use the kitchen liberally. They spatter grease on the walls, leave filthy dishes containing moldy food in the sink and don’t bother to touch a sponge. My sister can’t say anything about it, as they have her over a barrel.
We must be suckers to pay rent, clean up after ourselves and be unfailingly polite to our landlord.
Oh, did I mention that my niece and her beloved are rude, too? On a recent weekend, my sister came home to the smell of something delicious cooking in the kitchen. She asked her daughter if she could dish some out for herself.
“No!” came the response. “We’re bringing it over to Dad’s and we’ll eat the leftovers tomorrow!”
I’m telling you, these two have the deal of the century.