Note: There is someone reading this who, in short order, will be rolling her eyes because my life is the same old song and dance. It’s always me being poor and unable to get ahead. Well, you go ahead and roll your eyes. You go right ahead.
I don’t know why I’m posting this. Maybe it’s a reminder to myself to “let it go-oo-ooo.”
Those who know me personally know that the art studio I co-owned went under last year. It still stings like you’ll never know.
The owner of the property also owns the management company from whom we leased our space and is just an owner in name–her son runs the show, although he is technically not an owner, and she is completely unaware of what’s really happening.
My partners are beautiful and kind-hearted teachers. The property owner is one of those wives who lives a charmed life, sheltered from business and finances. She is a donor and supporter of charity, well-being, and education. And had she herself known what happened, we doubt she would have let our business fall into ruin at the hands of her toadies. I’m not saying we would have taken advantage of her kind nature, but I’m sure she would have been a kindred spirit and would have helped us work something out. But no. The argument from management would be that they did try. However, there are some other details and opinions I won’t get into here.
But the bottom line is that they, the company, really don’t care two bits about their tenants. They own their fair share of Austin commercial and residential space. They hear “sob stories” every day and they simply don’t have the patience or heart to do anything other than sue the tenant and move on.
This is their way of protecting their finances, and I have to admit that I don’t think I can completely fault them for that. However, here’s where I would normally insert more backstory, but I won’t.
I will say that they have the money to go to court and the tenants usually don’t. Our group decided that we would come to an agreement in mediation instead of taking a risk in court. Another partner and I thought we had a solid case to bring before a judge, but the pre-trial court cost was something we didn’t have.
The four of us are paying a monthly payment to the property company’s attorney and I am two payments behind, but the attorney seems somewhat OK if he sees that I’m making payments. Otherwise, I’m not quite half-way paid for my bit. One of the other ladies paid for her whole portion already and the other ladies have paid on time.
The settlement payments aren’t completely unmanageable, but we do still have other business costs associated with closing shop. However, the monthly payment is a significant amount of grocery money, or house bills for me. It’s not “extra” money or anything I could have planned for at all. And, it’s not something I am really allowed to juggle. True, I missed two payments when things were dire, but I’m back to making payments–it’s a real strain, but they are being made.
Our own attorney has been angelic. She has a soft spot for our business and for us as a group. In fact, she has been great standing up for me and even offered me a job doing personal things for her mother and organizing her office, etc. I’m waiting to hear back from her.
Every so often, we are contacted by “Albert”, and assistant who reminds us that I am late with my payment. Although Albert works for the property management’s attorney, I feel like Albert probably works in the property management office itself because he has the same uncaring, robotic, don’t-give-me-your-excuses tone in his emails. He is quick to remind us that they could take legal action against us.
I often wonder if they get a kick out of poking at us. At me. I can’t fault an attorney who thinks he’s won, but the poking is unnecessary. I feel constantly demeaned by this entire situation–not to mention all the other financial mess I’m in.
Instead of seeing each payment as one step closer to being officially done with the lawsuit, I see it as a big bill that makes me juggle the other bills.
I see it as money that shouldn’t be taken away from us to begin with.
I see it as a reminder of losing something truly special and good and beautiful. Something that also was a source of joy and inspiration to adults and children and families.
I see it as a reminder of all my failures.
I see it as yet another reason why I have to say “No” to my daughter when she needs something.
I see it as an inability to fill a need.
I see each payment as a twisting, grinding, rusty bread knife stab in my chest.
Would my life be improved if I didn’t have this payment to make each moth? Exponentially, no, but much improved…yes. And, yes, I am looking forward to making that last payment.
p.s. In other news, Lisa and I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody last night at Alamo Drafthouse. (I finally used the gift card Rebecca gave me. What a great gift!) I mean to tell you…if you have any love for Queen, you need to get in and see this movie while it’s in the theaters. It just won’t feel the same when you eventually watch it on Netflix. Unless you have a pretty awesome TV/stereo set-up. I’m just saying!