“WTF?,” “you can’t be serious,” and “wait, you’re joking, right?” are among a few of the reactions we’ve gotten when we tell this crazy story that is all too true. “I’m still processing this,” “it’s so unjust,” and “you should put some cooked chickens on your landlady’s doorstep with the chickens’ names on them; that’ll show her,” have been pretty popular responses as well.
So how did this happen?
Well, we’re still trying to figure that out ourselves, but it’s been pretty chicken ridiculous if you ask me. (Get ready for dozens of egg-selant chicken puns.)
It all started before we got the chickens, so I can’t blame this entirely on them, but they definitely became the catalyst for us flying the coop on that place.
Our previous landlord, God bless her, is an elderly lady who lives alone, and has many passions, like American politics, Canadian politics, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, making face cream in the kitchen, teaching science, investigating conspiracy theories . . . and animals. Boy does she love ’em. She even feeds the seagulls bread every day, so while living there, we constantly heard the pitter-patter of them on our roof.
She was very helpful, and quick to respond when anything broke, or mail showed up, which we so appreciated, however, her perceived helpfulness was actually becoming invasive to us. We had begun having issues with her coming over whenever she wanted. She had figured out that if she came to our back doors (floor to ceiling glass) instead of our front door, that she could peer in, with hands next to her eyes, nose pressed to the glass, to see if we were home; once seen, we were then obligated to answer when she knocked and waited there, staring at us.
(Don’t worry, many friends suggested that Greg start being naked all the time, so we had considered that option too.)
One winter day when I was off work sick, in my pajamas, likely with a Kleenex hanging out of my nose, she came over five times. Five times, there she was, peering in the windows, wanting to talk about various things. I had communicated several times that I was sick, and trying to rest, but to no avail.
By the end of the day, Greg arrived home to find me in tears, and we decided we needed to have a conversation. For those of you that know Greg, he is the nicest, most least confrontational person I know, so you can imagine how kind and gentle the conversation went. He even gave her the old “shit sandwich,” and started and ended with positives, listing things we appreciated about her, but just asked for some privacy. Greg said she responded really well at the time . . .
She avoided us for a week.
Greg and I discussed the possibility of being evicted then, but she eventually began speaking to us in the driveway, and things seemed normal.
Fast forward to Greg deciding he wants chickens. Our landlady was all for it, and very hen-thusiastic! We got Jean and Loreen, who we lovingly named after our mothers.
As many of you witnessed in the videos, having Jean and Loreen was a learning curve to say the least, but we winged it, and eventually started enjoying the eggs, and they paid for themselves quite quickly.
They kept egg-scaping though, and we couldn’t crack the mystery.
At first, we thought the coop must just be loose, and Greg fixed it here, and tightened it there. Still, we would come home to the chickens out, and to a yard and patio area full of 💩 . Having chickens wasn’t all it was cracked up to be!
Well here, the plot chickens! We finally caught our landlady’s neighbour friend (also a single, senior, lover of animals) in our backyard, feeding them scraps and letting them out!
Not wanting to be chickens ourselves, conversation two happened shortly thereafter; Greg politely asked our landlady to please stay out of our backyard, and to have her friend also stay out; he egg-splained that we didn’t want others feeding them, and that we also didn’t want them let out. Their coop was more than twice the standard size, and a very luxurious home for them, and we wanted the backyard free of 💩 . Is walking to your clothes line in bare feet without stepping in 🐓 💩 really too much to ask? Or is having a 🐓 💩 free wine night on the patio with friends unreasonable? I should think not.
She kindly agreed to this, but we shouldn’t have counted our chickens before they’d hatched.
Still, Greg would find that the coop was being damaged every day, and there was a lot of 💩 in our backyard.
Not only that, but the chickens had started pacing by the fence and squawking every morning on the weekends, wanting to be let out, and waking us up! Now that’s not an alarm cluck we want on Saturday mornings! We couldn’t figure out why they hadn’t formed the habit of being in their coop by then; they were in there all day every day, so they should be used to it… right?
One day, I popped home in the middle of the day, and caught our landlady in our yard, with the chickens roaming free, feeding them out of a little dish. Boy, did she scramble!
Greg hatched a plan; he started setting a small item inside our fence that would move un-noticed if our gate had been opened. Sure as a chicken lays an egg, that gate was being opened daily.
She was letting them out after we left for work, and making sure to put them back before we returned. She had even purchased her own feed, that she was hiding in her house, and using to feed them while we were away.
Greg popped home two more days in the middle of the day, and found the chickens out both times. She was caught red handed! When he asked her about it, she made up egg-scuses; talk is cheep after all.
Greg doesn’t get his feathers ruffled by much, but he was over all this fowl-play. She was blatantly disrespecting us, and actually in repeated violation of several parts of the Tenancy Act.
Greg’s no spring chicken and knew from past experience that talking to her would obviously not work; he decided having the chooks was no longer worth it. They went up for sale on Trademe that Monday.
We sold them Wednesday evening.
Friday morning we got a text saying we were being evicted due to “family reasons,” which allowed her to kick us out in half the time. Well 💩, what a mother clucker of a problem for us!
We knew it was about the chickens, but had no proof. We were shocked, and moving isn’t something we planned to do, but we quickly realized we would be better off without her egging us on all the time, and decided to look at it as a blessing.
We sent her a message asking if we could use her as a reference for our new place, and that’s when she egg-sploded. I mean it was egg-saturation and egg-streme accusations all over the place.
No, she would not be a reference for us, because “the chickens disappeared out of thin air,” we are “rude, inconsiderate, have no common civility,” and she suggested that maybe one of our bosses or friends could “concoct” something nice to say about us.
Through a series of messages, both of our characters were completely slandered, and all to do with the departure of our little gems, Jean and Loreen. Apparently her and her neighbour both cried about the chickens, and decided we needed to go. Now that’s a pretty n-egg-ative mindset if you ask me!
Seems she easily forgot about how amazing of tenants we are, how clean and quiet we are, all the free wine, baking and EGGS we’ve given her, how we always pay our rent on time, or basically everything else we do as freakingly awesome tenants.
Despite what we felt like saying, we have responded graciously and respectfully to her messages and addressed that the chickens were actually ours, and we had the right to sell them, but you can’t egg-sactly be rational with an irrational person, can you?
So there you have it.
Evicted over chickens.
There we were, with a bad reference from our only New Zealand landlord, on the house hunt in the egg-streamly difficult market of Hawke’s Bay. Now that’s a pan-scrambler, to be sure!
Egg-ceptionally, crack-up, chookin’ crazy as.
God is good though, and we’re being taking care of. We have a great new home that we moved into on Saturday. We may not stay here for long, but we can if we choose, so we’ll just play it by ear and see how it goes.
Could we take our old landlady to the Tenancy Tribunal and fight this? Absolutely. 100%. As sure as a good chicken lays an egg! We have the messages proving all her lies about everything. But we didn’t egg-sactly want to stay there with her anymore anyways, with the current state of the relationship. Our wings are not clipped and we’ve escaped to a new home where we can be more free, like Jean and Loreen did.
So the moral of the story is: buy your eggs at the Supermarket.
How do you like your eggs?