I am beginning to think someone is messing with me. We sold our rental property to an elderly couple a few months ago. During the closing process they changed the type of loan they would use to finance the house which delayed the closing. This wouldn’t have been a problem except that we had to make an additional house payment at the last minute to avoid a late payment penalty from the bank. I didn’t complain. I made the payment, let the title company reprocess the paperwork for the new closing amounts and proceeded with the transaction with a smile on my face. I was happy to be selling the house and walking away with a few dollars in my pocket. On the day of the closing I received a message that the buyers were requesting that we have the grass cut before the closing. I kept the smile on my face when responding no, I would not be dropping everything to call a landscaper out to the property an hour before our closing appointment. I also did not mention that the grass would not have been so long had they been able to get it together to close on the agreed upon date. I did, however, give them their new neighbor’s telephone number and let them know that he had cut the grass for us for a fair price.My husband and I arrived at the closing a few minutes late. This is pretty normal for us. We are always in a hurry. When we sat down at the table I was a little confused because there was an elderly woman and a younger man. I thought maybe it was her son. The man with our buyer was not her son, but the mortgage banker who secured the VA loan which held up our closing process. The male half of our elderly couple was apparently out of town and unable to sign the closing paperwork. His wife was left to sign all of the documents for herself and again as her husband’s power of attorney. We sat and watched for the hour and twenty minutes it took for her to sign all of the documents. Again, I smiled through it. I wished her well and went on my way.
I had been looking forward to closing the door on that chapter of my life for a long time. I had even decided to let the last tenant off the hook for the damage he did to the floor before he left. I had filed a small claims suit that he didn’t answer and I had just decided to let it go and walk away from that house. I was finally free of ever having to think about that old house again. And then the electric bill showed up.
I was expecting to see a bill for service through the day of our closing. I had watched the new owner of the house sign a contract stating that they would have all of the utilities converted to their name within three days. Surely they knew they needed to notify the utility company of their new ownership. But no, this bill was for service through the month following the sale. The new owners never called to transfer service. I stared at the bill in disbelief for a few minutes. Was it really possible that the elderly couple who bought our house made it this far in life with other people handling their transactions that they didn’t know how to do things for themselves anymore?
I contacted their agent which was the only way I knew how to track them down. She forwarded them my message and in return I received this:
“I contacted DTE energy this morning just to reconfirm that our account at the old address was discontinued and to give them our new address. This was done just after our closing. DTE confirms that they have our new address and will be submitting a bill shortly. They said the bill that was sent out to the Logan’s was a final bill.
Give us a call when your in the area, your more than welcome to stop by.
Really? No apology, no sorry for the headache? No. Bill made sure that he discontinued service at his old address so he would not be charged for service he was not using, but he didn’t bother to establish service at his new address. At this point I realized Bill is the kind of guy who was going to sit back and let other people fix his problems. Bill is the kind of guy that sent his wife to the closing to sign all of the documents because he was too busy. Bill is the kind of guy who asks for just a little more because he can. Bill is also the kind of guy who could use a grammar refresher. And Bill is going to be the guy that has to figure out what to do when he loses his power.
I really didn’t want to leave an elderly couple without power a few days before Christmas, but it had been made abundantly clear that Bill had no plans to take care of his own business. So I called and had the power turned off. I also informed the agent that Bill needed to call and request that service be established back dated to the day of closing. This is the response I got from their agent:
“I called DTE twice and was getting nowhere. I had them call again today and just got this text from Mary:
Suz, we lost our elect for about 45 min. Bill said they only changed service address. We called 3 times. So anyway they changed billing address today. Hopefully, this will correct the problem. Thanks for your help! Check with the old owners and see if we owe them anything.”
I replied to the agent with the amount due. I expect to get a bag of walnuts in the mail three weeks from now. I’m trying to teach my five year old to do things for herself, like bring her library books to be returned and tie her own shoes. And here goes Bill proving you can get other people to clean up your messes if you act incompetent enough. Bill made it all this way in life letting other people take care of things for him.
I have come to the conclusion that there are two types of people in the world. The givers and the takers. We are never going to see eye to eye. I am never going to let other people clean up my messes because that’s not what I do. I am a giver. I would be embarrassed to have other people picking up after me. And Bill is a taker. He is content to go through life with other people taking care of things for him. He will never have enough and he will always feel cheated. Because that’s what takers do. God, I am grateful to be a giver.