95 A Foot in the Door

On Saturday morning, after enduring Herbie’s morning diatribe masquerading as Bible study, Kitty stopped and swapped at the storage place. Smartly dressed and rid for a few hours of that imposed and revolting t-shirt, she returned to the POPS to retrieve those few items she’d left behind. Prior to the scheduled closing date, she would pre-sign papers at White, Choyce, and Wong; they’d explained that a seller often did this, and for all kinds of reasons. She could wait to reimburse the association for the repairs from funds disbursed out of closing.

She assumed that this would be her last time in this dump of a condo; no more wasted time standing by the elevator that always came too late. In the lobby, clearing out her mailbox – she’d arranged to forward mail to the training house address – she saw the standard notice posted up informing residents, that due to a scheduled move-in today, to expect temporary delays in elevator service but to be sure to welcome the new resident, a Mr. Thuss, to his penthouse home.

She’d have liked to welcome a single Mr. Thuss, assuming he’d be better looking than the other penthouse owner, the one who looked to her like his big, ugly dog. How fair was it that two single guys were living here in penthouses? She heard the whoosh of the arriving elevator and turned to catch it. From out of the elevator emerged a stranger in company with that stuck-up decorator, the one with the stupid name; he was one of the flashiest men she had ever laid eyes on in this weak excuse for a city.Chapter 95 A Foot in the Door

“Oh, Vainity,” she stepped forward, shooting her best professional smile right into the decorator’s path, “I’d sure like to welcome our new resident. Introduce me!” Vanity, in vain, made a stab at keeping her momentum swirl past Kitty.

“Yes, Vanity, please do!” Her client stopped and waited to be obeyed.

“Mr. Thuss, Miss, Miss…Dull?” The revenge was sweet.

“Doyle, Kitty Doyle.” Her smile now fixed and focused on him alone, Kitty corrected the mispronunciation of her surname in her most dulcet tones, adroitly keeping the elevator door open with one pricily clad foot. “So pleased to meet you at last, Mr. Thuss. Are you enjoying the completion of work in your unit? You’ve had to wait so long, haven’t you?” Vanity glared, then reddened, rooted in anger. His eyes took in this Kitty, and his deep, smooth voice resonated with a reply.

“Yes, I find it very precise and workmanlike. Perhaps you’d enjoy seeing it yourself sometime soon? My name is Rod.”

“Oh I would yes, and please, call me Kitty.” They shook hands, smiling conspiratorially, as Vanity fidgeted. “Welcome home. I’ll just let you get on with your moving and look forward to seeing you, when it’s all warm and inviting. Here’s my card.” It was her own business card; her ordered church cards were still at their printer. Discounts came at a price.

Kitty claimed the captive elevator and rode it to her floor. There was yet another annoying note from Hans, suggesting that she should really amend the property condition report to indicate a problem with an overflowing toilet. She should, should she? He also wanted to get in to paint the place, before he moved in. As she was pre-closing, it would be convenient for him to begin as soon as possible, as the person buying his unit also wanted to get in to paint before his own closing. She closed her eyes to all this tedious detail, crushing and tossing the paper down again. If he was so fond of cluttering the floor she could accommodate that, and leave other rubbish scattered around for him to tidy up before he painted. She would make sure that wouldn’t happen until after he actually paid for the place. He didn’t get occupancy until the closing date. Let him wait.

It is a violation of condo etiquette to appropriate the elevator. Move-in and move-out rules are strictly laid out.

It is a violation of condo etiquette to appropriate the elevator. Move-in and move-out rules are strictly laid out.

Hans had asked Sebastian to find out from R.M. about the way it could possibly work to get into a unit to do any painting, or alterations of that kind before closing. It depended, R.M. answered, mostly on the good will of the seller, so Hans knew that while he was likely sunk, Sebastian was in good hands. Customarily buyer occupancy was first given, as per the typical contract, on the day of and after the closing. In practice, any changes to a contract were handled through an addendum.

Addendum O arranged a kind of ‘hold harmless’ agreement between the parties to the contract. The example R.M. gave Sebastian was this; without the prior signed agreement, who would be at fault if, while the ‘not yet the owner’ buyer was painting a window, both the window and the buyer fell out of the unit? An amenable seller could spell out terms under which a buyer could occupy before closing or as was more often the case, to allow a buyer to store personal items on the premises, for example when a buyer’s rental lease was up and there was a gap of time before the closing date. Occasionally, there were those most genial of types of sellers like Hans, who simply agreed that a buyer just go in and paint.

Kitty wasn’t likely to do any of these things nor did Hans trust her. He decided to stagger the closings instead, and to arrange a post-occupancy closing with Sebastian. They’d be painting together anyway, most genially, and satisfactorily.

*   *   *   *   *

At midday Saturday, RM had an appointment to show the Cabots’ condo to the Thornes. He was waiting for them in the lobby and chatting with Mrs. James. She was there waiting for Greg and the girls to return from brunch when she would ride with them up to the library, their customary Saturday jaunt. The girls tumbled in, all sugared up she assumed from their vivacity; perhaps they should walk today. Greg and R.M. introduced themselves. Mrs. James found it hard to remember in a building with this many people floating around in it, who knew whom, then immediately regretted thinking of the expression ‘floating around’. Unsettled by her unspoken gaffe, she immediately left with her charges, leaving the two men alone.

“So you’re the famous Realtor, the ‘R.M.’ of my kids’ Happy Families card game?”

“So I’ve heard.”

“You get used to it. I’m Mr. Mendel, the Coach, with Mrs. Mendel, the Coach’s Wife, notably missing in real life. Poppy and Pansy are still squabbling about which of them will be Master Mendel, the Coach’s Son.”

“Guess I’ll have to play sometime and find out what I’m missing, too.” At least R.M. wasn’t missing a wife.

“Sometime, I’d like you to come up to my place, give me an idea what it might be worth.”

“Thinking of moving?”

“Not this week. More like I’ve been hearing about a new condo building next door, and the effect it might have here. Just wanted to get a number to work with.”

“Will you be around for awhile? I have a showing with those people just crossing the street now, so I’ll have to go now to let them in. But I could take a look after that.”

“Sure, here’s my card. Give me a call when you’re ready.”