I freaked, of course.
And did nothing. I folded up the white, green and goldenrod copies and put them in my little shoulder bag and continued on with my life, a life now getting more and more desperate.
I wandered around in a fog, immobile, not knowing what to do and not having a way out of my rock and hard place. About a week later, another tri-copied eviction notice was left on the front entryway to my building, informing everyone in my little neighborhood of my current woes. This time, I actually took the paperwork up to my crypt and actually read the thing, detailing when and where I needed to be in order to be thrown out of my home. So precise, so surgical, so impersonal.
This is where my I finally decided to see if I could get some relief from the great state of New Jersey and logged online to their unemployment site. I answered all the questions and I had to wait for the determination, which would be sent by mail (although they ask for your email so they could have sent it that way). The day before my court date, I got the determination. YES! Although my weekly allowance was a pittance, at least it was something.
I told no one about the eviction and continued on with my life up to the appointed day. I go up and got dressed, wearing a nice white shirt and tie and got to the flower shop where I finally informed everyone there as to my predicament. Here's where another heroine came to my rescue. My good friend, Jenn, met me at the courthouse and was my rock. She had done this particular thing innumerable times (she had worked for a rental agency and had to go to court for deadbeats like me time and again) and I don't think I could have gotten through it without her help. After the roll call and the "So You're Getting Evicted" video presentation, there was a chance to talk between the opposing parties. Jenn counseled me beforehand and we approached my landlord. Things were going well, he was very nice about the whole thing, repeating how much he liked me and, aside from my deepening rent debt, he didn't want to throw me out. Then my psycho-mate came in, out of nowhere, and starts ranting and raving how he "wants me thrown out" and "he's tired of it all" and I "need to be gone", it was embarrassing (more for him than me). Once he stormed out (lucky for him he left before gaining the attention of the authorities there, his actions are considered an act of contempt to the court), Jenn grabbed me aside and told me that I should cut a deal and get the fuck out of there. I was inclined to agree. If the psycho-mate was so insane as to get up at nine in the morning, get dressed in his early-eighties sweater set and come to the courthouse to scream at me, I didn't need to be living with this man.
And, let's face it, he had the upper hand since he was actually paying his rent.
We went back to my landlord with our new proposal and, once the court clerk called my name, we went up, signed the papers and off I went.
Basically, I was to vacate the premises in two weeks and I would not have to pay the back rent. (Here's a point of dispute: My landlord said I owed FAR more than I had reckoned. I had long suspected that my psycho-mate took several of my rent payments, which were taped in an envelope to the landlord's door, and threw them out. I plan on doing a search of the money orders to see if they've all been cashed.) Jenn pretty much steamrolled my landlord into agreeing to the conditions and for that, I am SUPREMELY GRATEFUL!
I went back to the shop and told them the outcome and then I...did nothing.
I was still looking for work. There was still no work to be found.
I took boxes from the shop and began the long process of packing. I asked around trying to find a place to live but, when you have no money, no job and no savings, it's kind of hard to come up with first month, last month, security deposit and a credit check that those pesky rental agencies require. Things were getting closer and closer to the bone and I needed to come up with an alternate plan. My actual move would be easy, or so I thought. Most of my stuff fitted into one room so I figured there'd be no problem getting it all packed and ready by the two weeks time.
Moving day came and I still had no place to live.
More to come...