“The old man” is our landlord, Dominick. He’s in his mid- to late-70′s and still in tip top shape physically. In fact, he’s stronger than either Scott or myself and we’re 40 years his junior.
He’s always taking pity on our feeble attempts to do things requiring strength and dexterity. Such as the time he came down to see us trying to make a new cut on the bottom of our Yule tree. Scott and I were taking turns with the saw, he taking longer turns than me, and we weren’t achieving anything except wearing ourselves out. We were at it for a good 15 minutes or so when Dom came walking by. He stopped, laughed at us, and took the saw away. The job was done in under 5 minutes.
Dom is a really nice guy, and we feel so fortunate to have him as our landlord. (Our first landlord together was a real clunker.) One of Dom’s other nicknames around here is “the bread man” because he brings us Italian bread every Sunday. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It even still sounds nice when you find out that on Sunday he makes rounds of every bakery owned by a friend of his and picks up the 2-day-old, stale bread they can’t sell anymore.
One thing I’ve never been able to figure out is why Dom pays so much attention to the grass in the spring, then lets it die from neglect over the summer. When warm weather rolls around, he’s out there several times a week – in shorts and nothing else, prompting another nickname: naked old man – mowing the lawn, using the edge trimmer, picking up any leaves he missed in autumn. By June he’s done and doesn’t touch it again until August. No water, no mowing. I guess you don’t have to mow a lawn you never water, though, since it goes brown and limp instead of growing.
As nice as he can be, the old man has some quirks. When we first moved in, our kitchen faucet was the kind that has one water-turner-on-thingy in the middle. Push it right for cold, left for hot, warm is in the middle. I’m not a plumber, I don’t know the technical term. I was working in Silicon Alley at the time, so nobody was home in our apartment during the day. Dom insisted that he kept hearing water turning on and off all day, and that it must be the cats. Apparently, Demon and Goblin are so talented, they can turn a water faucet on and off for fesh water all day. Dom made us start putting a giant rubber band around the faucet and water-turner-on-thingy when we left in the morning, so the cats couldn’t turn on the water. Ooooookay.
Scott and I are a neverending source of amusement for Dom, because he thinks we’re idiots. In our bathroom is a built-in holder for toilet paper that’s too small for those “Ultra” size rolls of toilet paper. We deal with that by not putting the roll on the holder until we use it for a while and it gets smaller. Dom thought we didn’t know how to put it on the holder and called me into the bathroom one day to demonstrate how it’s done. I tried to explain that it wouldn’t fit yet. His reply, “No, look. You do it like this.” He was utterly shocked when it didn’t fit and couldn’t believe “they make them that big these days.”
I had surgery on a cyst on my back – yeah, I know, more information than anyone needed – a few weeks before we moved in here and I was still in some pain while we were getting the apartment ready to move into. Always trying to be helpful, Dom told me about how his sister had the same thing and he would ask her what she did to help with the pain. A few days later he caught me outside to tell me, “Oh! I spoke to my sister. Yeah, it wasn’t her back, it was her vagina. Yeah, she had something with her vagina that…” That’s where I stopped listening.
One of the perks of having Dom as our landlord is that he knows everyone. He’s one of those people who “has a guy” for anything and everything you need. Not only that, but he never buys anything new, so he can always get you a deal on something you need. Need a dishwasher? “No problem, I got a guy.” Car? “No problem, I got a guy.” Refrigerator? “No problem, I know a guy at the Wiz.” Being the kind of person who walks into a car dealership and pay sticker, I was so happy to have him go with us to buy a new fridge.
With all his quirks, we’re still glad he’s our landlord. He mostly leaves us alone and he’s quick to do something nice for us. Recently, he offered us space in the yard for a garden, which we appreciate so much. A good landlord is so hard to find!