One of the biggest anxiety producers of a deployment (aside from the biggie: your love being in harm’s way) is being the only one responsible for all the major transactions of life that may occur during that time period. By major transactions of life, I mean things like buying a new car when the one you’re driving goes sour, paying taxes come tax day, and finding a place to live should a move occur during that time period. Surely many adults deal with these difficulties solo on a day to day basis, but when you are used to doing things as a team, it can be a daunting task. This is especially so because you always have the thought in the back of your head that you want to make sure you do things extra perfectly so your spouse will be pleased. You want to get it right. You want to get it perfect.
Because of my Mom’s illness prior to my husband’s last detachment cycle and deployment, we opted to leave our apartment and put our belongings into storage. I headed to IL to be with my family, and husband headed out to the deep blue sea. That meant that at the end of deployment time we needed to have a new home lined up, and the responsibility of finding such a humble abode was mine.
When I first saw the listing for our home I was excited and disappointed all at once. I was excited because the rent was affordable, and the house looked just right for us. I was disappointed because there was a very clear ‘no pets’ label on the listing. I took a chance and emailed the company to find out if there was any way around that, and it turned out there was with certain, reasonable stipulations.
I put in our application and we got the house. A few days before Husband was due back I strapped one year old Little Miss into our car, and caravanned with my wonderful father back to WA. Once here, I did the paperwork, got the stuff out of storage, and Dad and I had the place whipped into a relative sense of homeyness in the 4 or so days that we had before Husband’s homecoming day.
I was so proud of myself… Here was this big, huge, grown-up thing that we’d always tackled together before and I’d handled it. By myself. The house was nice. The big things were moved in so that husband could just be home and relax for the first few days back. And, I knew my husband would be proud of me.
So… fast forward a year…. Yesterday I go in to renew our lease and notice that there is a notation that we have ‘no pets.’ I questioned this and reminded them that we had been up front about our kitty and the owner had ok’d our having him in the home.
The property manager left for a minute, flipped through some paperwork and found that this was, sure enough, the case…. And oh by the way–since this is indeed the case you owe us 12 months worth of pet-rent that hasn’t been paid.
I was panicked. I really thought I had taken care of everything. Our rent is directly deposited every month. I remembered sitting down with someone at the property manager’s office and going through all the paperwork. How had this been missed?
I came home and scoured our rental agreement and all the paperwork that they’d given me at move-in. There wasn’t anything noted there about the pet rent except a note about a pro-rated pet-rent move-in fee, but I did vaguely remember agreeing to it outside of the paperwork. There was also no ‘pet addendum’ as the paperwork noted there should be. I remembered that I had gotten nervous once or twice during the year, and gone back to the contract wondering about an extra fee, but finding nothing about this monthly fee, I thought I must have been remembering the policy of our previous apartment.
I thought wrong.
I screwed up.
And now we owe a chunk of money at a time when we have some big baby-preparation purchases that need to be made and not a lot of extra in the bank. We can make it by, and we will with no problem…. but it is discouraging nonetheless.
In my defense, I feel the property manager shares at least part of the blame as they drew up all the paper-work minus that very important detail and cited our rent in several different places as being the amount that we have paid all this time assuming that either there was no pet rent or it was included in that price.
Still it feels sucky to have this badge of honor taken away from me. Here I thought I’d done everything right, and gotten us here and gotten us settled and handled all the scary paperwork and ‘grown-up’ stuff like a pro, but I missed this very important detail.
And a year later we get to pay for it.
It is hard to feel that I didn’t drop the ball. It’s hard to remember that this is only a minor detail and that I really did find us a great house and get us all moved in and settled safely.
I just feel like I failed this little military wife test……
At least I know I’ll do better next time around.